I spent more time this week gorging myself on turkey and mashed potatoes and other wondrous delicacies than I did thinking about baseball. But one of the things I've found myself very much thankful for this holiday season is the Colorado Rockies farm system and all of the promise and uncertainty it entails. With Purple Row wrapping up the Fall 2013 PURPS process, an issue arose (or should I say re-arose) that I'd like to discuss briefly before letting you get back to pigskin and leftovers.
A few readers in here, and a few writers out there, have taken this time of prospect discussion to remind us of an incident that occurred earlier in the year regarding the maturity of David Dahl.
The specifics of the case were never fully divulged but the true unfortunate timing was not that Dahl managed to get himself suspended for the first few games of the season but that he would sustain an injury shortly thereafter leaving no lasting memory for Rockies fans and prospect scouts to replace it with.
David Dahl's 2013 became a season with only two salient details as summed up by Baseball America; "Dahl essentially had a lost year due to disciplinary issues and injuries."
It's a small edit, but I'd like to amend that statement to say that Dahl had a lost year due to disciplinary issue and injury. No plurals.
Based on my observations, I think most people in and around the Rockies organizations, including most Purple Row readers, don't believe Dahl's maturity to be an issue. But mentions of his "maturity issues" even when in passing need to be kept in context.
Whether it's Baseball America, the Rockies front office, or just us fans, it's important not to conflate the injury and the discipline issues. Making a mistake and being given no chance to prove you have corrected it is a far cry from having an attitude problem.
It doesn't seem to have affected his stock much (though BA did drop him to 6th behind Bettis and Parker) but it has persisted as a story and probably will continue to until Dahl gives us something new for us to remember him by. A twitter exchange between myself and Dahl took place after I had been thinking something that RIRF put quite nicely in the PURPS Polling Thread;
"I’m going to break away from the community here a bit and be the first guy to rank Dahl ahead of Butler. For much of this year I wanted to rank Butler ahead of Dahl because of his outstanding season but once the games stopped I just kept coming back to one realization – I still think Dahl is going to have a better career than Butler. It’s really, really, close, but Dahl still won’t be 20 until April and the year of adversity he just experienced will probably only make him stronger in the future. 2013 has done nothing in my mind to drop his stock, it’s just delayed the arrival of a future five tool player."
So then this happened.
@DrewCreasman haha thanks but those two pitchers are the Rockies future aces! They both had great years! I still have a lot of work to do— David Dahl (@ddahl21) November 14, 2013
I choose to believe that this was both a genuine gut-instinct response that reflects how David honestly feels and shows that he understands not just the work he has to do on the field but off of it in order to fully regain his reputation as exactly the kind of guy he may actually be. But he knows he has to prove it.
I know it can be a tricky thing to project a player's personality, attitude, leadership, etc...but then again so can predicting someone's hit tool.
But prognosticating is what we do so let me sum up my feelings thusly; the reports that Nolan Arenado probably wouldn't be a great MLB defender were much more founded than any reports that David Dahl is anything less than a class act.
Through observations and conversations with people close to the situation, I believe both will end up being equally accurate.