Shining the Light on David Dahl
Showcasing the Stars of Tomorrow.
I was fortunate enough to see many outstanding prospects in 2014 make their way through the South Atlantic League (Single-A full season). David Dahl was one I was able to see on multiple occasions.
Dahl, 20, is a 6’2 185 lb left-handed hitting center fielder in the Colorado Rockies system. he was drafted in the first round (10th overall) in the 2012 draft. He was heralded as a polished defender with a strong throwing arm, a sweet swing, and plus speed. Power was the only unknown.
Dahl signed quickly and was assigned to Grand Junction (Rockiers affiliate in the Pioneer League, short season rookie league). Grand Junction is known as a favorable hitting environment, and Dahl raked .379/.423/.625/1.048 with nine home runs and 12 stolen bases in 200 at-bats, with rocketed him up the prospects list.
The buzz around Dahl continued to build through the winter months. He was a fixture on the Top 20 prospect lists put out by all of the pundits in early 2013.
The Rockies promoted Dahl to Asheville to start the 2013 season. In his first appearance he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, then was stripped of his spot on the Ashevile roster, due to reportedly missing a team flight, and because of a general attitude issue. He was demoted to extended spring training for three weeks before re-surfacing on the Asheville roster. He lasted just 10 games before a torn hamstring ended his season.
Most of the talk about Dahl had vanished by the start of the 2014 season, where he once again was assigned to Asheville. His stay didn’t last long as he was able to remind everyone just how talented he was. In 90 games with the Tourists, Dahl hit .309/.347/.500/.847, with 10 home runs and 18 stolen bases. His performance earned him a promotion to the Modesto Nuts in the California Leauge. At 20-years old, Dahl was the youngest player on his team, and three years younger than the California League average. He made his way into 29 games with Modesto hitting .267/.296/.467/.763.
Dahl is a polished hitter with a line drive swing and has a natural opposite field approach. He has the ability to drive the ball into the left-center gap on a regular basis, similar to Wade Boggs. One question moving forward is how many of those make it over the fence? In his career so far, Dahl has raked versus right-handed pitching and doesn’t seem to have a problem with left-handers either.
Unlike Boggs, Dahl doesn’t walk much, only about 6% of the time so far in his career. He is an aggressive hitter and doesn’t take a lot of pitches or work counts, which wouldn’t be suitable for a lead-off hitter. He does make good contact and has a strikeout rate around 18% which could slot him nicely in the number two hole.
Dahl has .290+/.335/.460 potential with 15-20 home runs, with 15-20 stolen bases, and plenty of doubles and triples. He is an above average center fielder and an average arm.
If he starts consistently turning on fastballs, that home run total could climb.