Just a week after David Dahl was hitting home runs during a special batting practice session in front of Rockies’ brass at Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies turned right around and decided to take the Alabama high school outfielder as the 10th pick of this year’s MLB Draft.
Dahl appeared on the radar of many Major League clubs last summer when he played for team USA in the Pan Am Games.
The Oak Mountain High School (Birmingham, AL) product hit .412 with 3 HR, 3 triples, and 11 doubles in his senior season, all coming from the lead-off spot in the order. Dahl is also known throughout the South as being one of the premier defensive players, sporting a strong arm, good range, and excellent speed in the outfield and on the base paths.
The Rockies changed up their draft strategy this go-around by taking a high schooler as their first pick. They hadn’t selected a high school player in the first round since 2004.
Seedling to Stars writer Robbie Knopf hit the nail on the head in his mock draft, correctly predicting Mr. Dahl going to the Rockies as the 10th overall pick. (To see Robbie’s other predictions, click here and here).
As mentioned above, Dahl is an excellent player who can hit for average, run the bases well, cover a lot of ground in the outfield, and gun runners down all over the diamond.
I hesitate to call him a five-tool player because I don’t foresee him hitting for power as a professional, nor do I think he should attempt to. If Dahl continues his role as a sterling leadoff man, he can climb through the Rockies’ farm system quicker than if he were to attempt to re-focus his game as a power corner outfielder.
As a lanky, 6-2, 185-pound speedster, hitting from the left side of the plate gives Dahl that fraction of a second advantage over right-handed leadoff hitters, which should give him another leg up against the competition.
Following the draft coverage over the last couple of days, I heard several TV commentators remark that this draft class may have produced the best crop of outfield talent since the 2005 draft, when Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Colby Rasmus, and Jay Bruce were picked.
While I think that the nod to the best outfielder in this draft goes to the Twin’s Byron Buxton, Dahl is a solid leadoff hitter that should hit for a high average, steal plenty of bases, and be an above-average defender as he attempts to make his way through the Rockies’ farm system over the next few years.