LAKELAND, Fla. — David Dahl's summer got off to a hot start when he went to Cary, N.C. for USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars and went 5-for-8 with two triples in his first two games. But then the outfielder from Oak Mountain High in Birmingham, Ala. came down with mononucleosis and had to leave the event early.
"I had a good summer at the beginning, but then I got sick," Dahl said. "I sat around for about five weeks, doing nothing, and I finally just got cleared to play."
In Cary, Dahl showed a nice, balanced swing with good bat speed. In Lakeland, at the East Coast Pro Showcase, his other tools are showing up—even though he says he is only playing at 80 percent.
Dahl ran a 6.67-second 60-yard dash on the first day, has made consistent contact in the first two games and shown off his arm strength. In the nightcap Monday, he threw a runner out at the plate trying to score from second on a single with a very strong throw with carry. Dahl has a good, physical frame at 6-foot-2, 185-pounds and is among the mix for the top outfielders in the country. The draft is still way off in the distance so he is focused on enjoying the experience of the showcase circuit and his final year of high school. Should he pass on signing a pro contract, Dahl would attend Auburn.
"I've grown up an Auburn fan and I love the campus and coaches," he said. "They have a plan and they're putting it in place.
Here are a couple quick notes from Tuesday's action in Lakeland:
• The A's were no-hit on Monday so when shortstop Nick Dawson (Bartlett, Tenn., HS) delivered a single in the first game Tuesday, there was a rousing cheer from their dugout.
• Two other Royals stood out besides Dahl. Outfielders Kolby Copeland (Parkway HS, Bossier City, La.) and D'vone McClure (Jacksonville, Ark., HS) have shown off some good tools. McClure stood out on Monday, but carried things over to the second day. His arm is just okay from the outfield, but his bat really whips through the zone and he continues to make solid contact. Copeland also has whip to his swing and squared up a few balls in Tuesday's night game.
• There hasn't been a lot of velocity from pitchers yet, but that will change Wednesday night. The Rockies and Astros will face off and the probable rotations are impressive. The Rockies are set to throw righthanders Walker Weickel, Lance McCullers and Carson Fulmer, while the Astros will counter with righties Lucas Sims, Duane Underwood and Clate Schmidt. The matchup is the buzz among scouts right now and they're wondering what the lowest velocity will be, thinking a pitch won't be thrown under 92 mph.