Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 16, David Dahl: 0.4 rWAR
For the first time ever, David Dahl made an Opening Day roster in 2019. And he would have been on the roster all year if it were not due to more injuries.
I’m not going to run down the list of every injury Dahl has suffered in his career. We’re not writing a novel here. But there were a couple specific ailments that plagued him in 2019. It was a “left core side injury” that put Dahl on the 10-day injured list in April. He spent the minimum amount of time sidelined in that instance. But it was a high right ankle sprain that resulted in Dahl being carted off the field and sent to the IL on August 3 that would lead to him missing the remainder of the 2019 campaign.
When healthy, though, Dahl showed just how good he could be. In 100 games, he put up a .302/.353/.524 batting line (103 DRC+), with 15 home runs. And he was one of the Rockies’ representatives at the All-Star Game for his efforts.
On defense, Dahl spent most of his time in left field, but he started getting more reps in center field after the Rockies elected to move Ian Desmond to left. Unlike his previous two seasons in the majors, where defensive metrics graded him as a roughly average defender, Dahl was rated as decidedly negative in 2019 by Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Fielding Runs Above Average. DRS was the harshest, putting him at -11. However, Statcast’s Outs Above Average still had him in positive territory.
In last month’s post-season media briefing from general manager Jeff Bridich, manager Bud Black and co-owner Dick Monfort, Bridich made an interesting comment— ”Some guys that seem to be pretty injury prone got hurt again and it stinks, right?” It wasn’t too hard to view this as a bit of a swipe at Dahl. And it’s not a wrong take, per se. It’s true that the Rockies are at their best when Dahl is in the lineup, but he certainly isn’t the only one to blame for the team finishing at 71-91.
One thing is for sure, though—a healthy Dahl would go a long way to helping the team have sustained success going forward. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and projected to earn $3 million from MLB Trade Rumors.
We saw what Dahl was capable of in 2019. He was an All-Star. The next step is an All-Star who can remain healthy for the long haul.