With the trade deadline looming and rumors swirling Colorado might trade outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies will reportedly promote touted prospect David Dahl to the majors on Monday, according to the Denver Post’s Nick Groke.
Dahl, 22, ranked No. 16 on BA’s Midseason Top 100 Prospects list and No. 2 in the Rockies organization. The 2012 first-rounder began the year at Double-A Hartford and was promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque earlier this month, where he hit .484 with five homers in 16 games. It has been a bounce-back season for Dahl after he was limited to just 79 games last year after a horrific outfield collision that resulted in his spleen being surgically removed.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Alabama native has long blended a tantalizing combination of power and speed, evident in his 18 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 24 attempts this season. His strength, speed, and athleticism were recognized and rewarded in his last full season, when South Atlantic League managers surveyed in 2014 named Dahl the league’s Most Exciting Player, Best Batting Prospect, and Best Defensive Outfielder. The raw abilities that earned him those accolades have remained as he’s climbed the minors, showing above-average speed, instincts, arm strength and accuracy in center field while increasingly turning his gap power into home run power and improving his pitch selection. His level lefthanded swing is often projected to eventually produce 20-25 homers from scouts, although he is still prone to swings-and-misses with a strikeout rate hovering around 24 percent the last two seasons. Health is one red flag with Dahl. In addition to his spleenectomy last summer, Dahl missed most of 2013 with a torn right hamstring and was hampered by knee tendinitis towards the end of last season.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Even if Blackmon and Gonzalez stay put, Dahl represents an upgrade over current Rockies left fielder Ryan Raburn and should get a shot to start in the Rockies outfield right away. Dahl’s immediate success will depend on if he can keep his strikeouts down, but the .244/.284/.404 slash line produced by Colorado left fielders this season should be attainable for Dahl. While he likely starts in left field for now, Dahl is the Rockies’ center fielder of the future and will showcase his superb defensive skills immediately, if nothing else.