David Dahl Scouting Report (2014)
2013 was a disaster for Rockies outfield prospect David Dahl. First, he was demoted for disciplinary reasons. Then, a hamstring injury ended his season after 10 games. This season, he’s back in Asheville working to become the organization’s center fielder of the future — again. And if his recent look is any indication, the Birmingham product will have little problem making up for lost development time. As an aside, seeing Dahl sign a page of autographs for a teenage girl was all kinds of generous — especially 10-minutes before game time.
Listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, David Dahl is an explosive athlete and one of the strongest pound-for-pound players scouted over the past six seasons. But unlike most premium athletes at the level, Dahl has the polish to match. From 2013, Dahl has added size to his frame. And while he’s well proportioned now, additional size is bound to slow him down a step or two. He’s more of a prototype two-hole hitter than lead off catalyst.
As a hitter, Dahl sets his hands further back than in 2013, allowing for a more conventional batting stance. He’s a “rock and fire” player who features little wasted movement in his load, producing repeatable swing mechanics. As his command of the strike zone improves, David Dahl will present with few holes in his swing. The result will be a .285-plus hitter with low strikeout totals.
At the point of contact, Dahl’s swing appears as if he’s dropping the bat head on the baseball. In pounding fastballs on the inner half of the plate, Dahl’s extension at the point of contact was picturesque, leading to multiple slow motion replays within the video. His two-handed follow through is a a bit awkward at first look, but isn’t a concern. Dahl also hit a pair of fly balls to the left side resulting in F7’s. In this look, he was pull conscious and needed to sit back on outside fastballs a fraction of a second longer.
In his first at bat, Dahl pounded a two-strike fastball for a home run to right-center field which left the park in 4.77 seconds on my stopwatch. Yes, Asheville is a hitters paradise to right field (297 ft. down the line), but this ball would have left any park in a hurry. It was a shot I’ll be reminiscing about with scouts years from now. At his peak, 15-20 home runs is possible. Going back to spring training looks in 2013, Dahl reminds me of Johnny Damon, a former star outfielder who hit 14-24 home runs nine times in his career. High contact rates and consistent barrel contact will allow Dahl’s power to sneak up on baseball fans.
On defense, David Dahl sprinted to the right-center field wall, leapt and caught a long fly ball at full extension. Just before the play, I remember thinking, “Dahl needs a ball or two hit to him to gauge his defensive ability.” Considering it’s the best defensive play I’ve seen in person, MILB or MLB, it’s impossible for me to challenge his defensive prowess. Future looks allow for a more robust defensive profile, but any player with the ability to make the play Dahl did is a special defender.
As a base runner, Dahl presents as a 55/60 runner — easily above average, but not game changing speed. Over a full season, 15-20 stolen bases is possible. The question will be whether or not Dahl can carry his present speed to the Major League Level.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Star level center fielder Hitting Ability 45 65 Power 40 50 Speed 55 50 Fielding Ability 50 60 Arm 50 50
Owning David Dahl
From a fantasy baseball standpoint, Dahl presented a buy low opportunity this off-season. In a 5×5 format, hitters with the ability to hit .285 with 15-20 home runs and double-digit steals have excellent value. Bat him second in the Colorado lineup and Dahl will have a chance at 100 runs and 60-plus RBI annually too. If there’s still a window available to add David Dahl, it will close quickly. Expect him to push through Single-A by mid-season and continue to have success in High-A. Should he open 2015 in the Texas League (Double-A), his timetable will be back on schedule.
7 Apr 2014 / Mike Newman / 4
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