David Dahl is a warrior. That’s not an understatement. The Colorado Rockies top outfield prospect fought back from a spleen injury in an on-field collision last season and is having the best season of a really bright, young career. And if the Rockies pull a few strings at the trade deadline — as quite a few expect — he may even be a big leaguer soon.
Dahl was selected 10th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. It was a first round that was a who’s who of some of today’s biggest names, like Carlos Correa, Lucas Giolito, Lewis Brinson, Marcus Stroman, Corey Seager, Tyler Naquin, Addison Russell and Byron Buxton. Some are big league rising stars already, and Dahl is not far behind.
He blew up on the scene in his half-season debut with the Grand Junction Rockies in the Pioneer League at just 18 years of age. He slashed .379/.423/.625 with an astounding 22 doubles, 10 triples, and nine home runs while swiping 12 bases in 19 attempts to post a 1.048 OPS in just 67 games. The only concern was a lopsided differential in the strikeout-to-walk total, but an impressive debut nonetheless.
While Rockies fans got excited that they may have a rare Mike Trout-like talent on their hands, a torn hamstring ruined Dahl’s sophomore campaign and limited him to 10 games. But he bounced back stronger the next season. He posted a .299/.335/.492 slash line with 41 doubles, eight triples, 14 home runs and 21 stolen bases in his true full-season debut, split between Low and High-A. His strikeout-to-walk disparity grew larger, but the underlying theme of his brief career was in full effect. He has the ability to bounce back.
He had to do it again in 2015. Dahl, the speedy centerfielder, had a scary on-field collision in May of last season in his first Double-A campaign. He ruptured his spleen and wound up having surgery — surgery that left him 15 pounds lighter and weaker and on the shelf until the second week of July. Still, Dahl once again fought back and finished the second half of the season with a .292 average after the All-Star Break. The strike zone remained an issue — he struck out 81 times and walked a mere 11 — and he really struggled against lefties, positing a .218 average against them while striking out in 26.3 percent of his at bats against southpaws.
This season, Dahl began the year at Double-A. He forever became part of Rockies lore when he blasted the first home run in their brand new affiliate’s — the Hartford Yard Goats — history.
He has since earned a promotion. He has been unstoppable since his arrival in the Pacific Coast League, registering at least one hit in each of his first eight games with the Isotopes (he walked in his first at bat Saturday and scored a run as this piece went to press).
Five of those eight games, Dahl registered three or more hits. He came out of the All-Star Break this past Thursday and smashed three home runs and drove in seven in his first two games back.
For more on Dahl’s hot streak and big league projections, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for my full article.