clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rockies prospect David Dahl a candidate to break out in 2016

Dahl has been slowed by injuries in his minor league career, but with health in hand entering 2016, big things could be on the horizon.

Photo: Dustin Satloff
Photo: Dustin Satloff
Dustin Satloff

If you want to know what will be the one thing that could launch Colorado Rockies minor league outfielder David Dahl from toolsy top prospect to bona fide big leaguer, look no further than last June.

Dahl was supposed to be out of action for months -- presumably the remainder of the 2015 season, in fact -- after suffering a serious spleen injury in a game on May 28. But Dahl three days later elected to have the spleen removed altogether in order for him to get back on the field quickly.

He did just that, beginning a rehab assignment with Short Season-A Boise on July 6 and returning to Double-A just 11 days later.

"The good thing about David is that he's continued to focus day by day on how to get better at all aspects of his game, and quite honestly, that is how he got back from his spleen injury so quickly," Rockies farm director Zach Wilson told Purple Row earlier this offseason. "He was focused on the day by day and the process of getting healthy as opposed to just looking two months down the road."

Not only did Dahl come back from the injury, which was a massive feat in itself, but he returned better and stronger than he was upon being sidelined. Dahl finished the season a .278/.304/.417 hitter in 73 total games at New Britain after managing a line of just .269/.296/.379 prior to the injury.

Simply put, whatever he did to get back to his top prospect form worked.

"He's taking the same course of action with his career and with his skill set," Wilson added. "‘How am I going to get better today, and I'll worry about tomorrow when I get there.' That's to his credit."

Two of Dahl's three full seasons as a professional have been marred by injury. Dahl missed almost all of 2013 with a severe hamstring tear and was shut down early last season, after recovering from the splenectomy, with patella tendinitis. Even after all that, Dahl will just 22 years old on Opening Day and is steadily climbing the ladder while holding his own at every level.

"He's got a chance to be a five-tool player," Wilson said. "All the attributes -- all the talent and ability -- are there. Let's face it: He was 21 years old going into Double-A, which is saying something. For the injuries that he had this year, especially with the spleen, for him to put up the type of year that he had is pretty amazing."

Dahl was good enough to warrant a promotion to Triple-A to start 2016, but with a somewhat crowded Albuquerque outfield picture that figures to include Kyle Parker, Alex Castellanos, Jordan Patterson, Michael Tauchman and Noel Cuevas, it's possible a return to Double-A -- at least for the early portion of the season -- will be in the cards for the for the Rockies' No. 2 overall prospect. Regardless, a breakout appears to be on the horizon, which is part of the reason the Rockies felt so comfortable shopping their major league outfielders this offseason.

"I don't think David Dahl is very far off from putting it all together," Wilson explained. "I think that we have to remember that David is very young, especially for his level, and does he have work to do? Absolutely. But does he have the skills and the mentality to be an All-Star? Without a question."