Outfield prospect David Dahl is ranked No. 1 on Baseball America's Top 10 Colorado Rockies prospects list ($), which was published on Tuesday by Jack Etkin.
It's a bit of a surprise to see Dahl, who had a strong bounce-back season after a lost 2013, at the top of the list. Most publications have that spot reserved for flame-throwing right-hander Jon Gray, but BA really likes the Alabama native's game:
Dahl is a potential five-tool player ... He has extremely fast hands and has shown the ability to turn on inside fastballs in the low to mid-90s, an indication he will hit for power. He has the potential to hit 20-25 home runs if he reaches his ceiling. He drives the ball consistently and that should translate to power ... He's a gifted center fielder. He runs down balls without fear, running into walls twice in the same week while making catches at Modesto and charging and diving for balls without hesitation. Dahl's instincts, first-step quickness and routes are all above-average. He has an above-average arm that is very accurate. One evaluator said he believed Dahl was the best outfielder in the South Atlantic League.
Dahl, 20, hit .309/.347/.500, good for a 133 wRC+, in 422 plate appearances for Low-A Asheville in 2014 before receiving a promotion to High-A Modesto. There, the 2012 first-round draft pick showed promising pop while managing a .267/.296/.467 (93 wRC+) line. He could start 2015 repeating at Modesto, though with a crowded outfield there that will include Raimel Tapia, Jordan Patterson and, most likely, Rosell Herrera, there's a decent chance Dahl begins the year at Double-A New Britain.
Kyle Freeland moved ahead of Eddie Butler on the list, sitting at No. 3. Perhaps more surprisingly is that Etkin, who is well-connected with the organization, believes Freeland could reach the majors at some point next season.
Other top 10 surprises include Tom Murphy (No. 6; more on him below) and Antonio Senzatela (No. 8). Raimel Tapia (No. 10) is ranked quite a bit lower on this list than he is on most others, but there are still many people within the scouting community who aren't sold on his approach and very raw tools, as noted by Baseball Prospectus in its top 10. There are also some previously unheard of concerns with his maturity and focus, according to Etkin:
He can be overly emotional when things aren't going his way on the field, and he can lose focus on defense.
Check out the full list by clicking into the article (you can view the list without a subscription).
Murphy Finds Extra Motivation In Time Missed - BaseballAmerica.com ($)
Etkin note that Murphy was cleared to play toward the end of last season, but the Rockies decided not to throw him into the fire after such a long absence. Murphy, whose shoulder is reportedly fully healthy, isn't interested in trying too hard to make up for the lost year:
"I don't want to go into the season feeling like I have to re-prove myself from the year before because I missed that much time. That's not going to do me any good, and it's not going to show in performance on the field."
Murphy rates as our No. 12 PuRP. Read Jeff's profile on him here.
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