David Dahl #42 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: April 1st, 1994(age 19)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#10 overall) in 2012 out of Oak Mountain HS(AL)
Evan Rentschler: Dahl was an interesting follow as an amateur. Despite head-turning tools and an ideal baseball build, he seemed to be consistently relegated to the second tier of HS outfielders behind Buxton and Almora. It might have been because Alabama players don’t get the same attention that kids in Caifornia, Texas, Florida, and even Georgia do. Or, it might have been the showcase performances the summer before his draft year where he got tagged as low energy by observers unaware that he was playing through the vestiges of mono; despite the illness he also played a starring role on a gold medal winning Team USA 18U squad.
For much of the spring before the draft Dahl was spoken of in muted tones, as though pundits couldn’t get sources to give helpful opinions; some may have been vainly hoping he’d stay under the radar to their advantage if they just didn’t talk about him. However, to believe in Dahl, all you had to do was watch him hit. His bat was in the zone all day, and he had plus bat speed that allowed him to let the ball travel further before driving his hands through.
The future power potential seems to divide evaluators, and he often gets pegged as a 15-18 homer guy to split the difference between his ceiling (Grady Sizemore) and other possible outcomes (such as something akin to Franklin Gutierrez), but there’s natural loft in his swing and he clears his hips beautifully, so no one would blame you if you wanted to predict 20-25 homers at his peak.
What more can be said about his professional debut? His counting stats and triple slash were so glorious that the .424 BABIP almost seemed reasonable. Pioneer League or no, it was a drubbing, and Dahl is legit. And while acknowledging that player development is a marathon, and fortunes can change dramatically, it’s hard to argue that Dahl takes a backseat to Buxton and Almora these days.
Al Skorupa: He was definitely a tough guy to peg as an amateur because of the reasons you listed above Evan. Dahl has a very good feel for hitting, yes, but I have to admit I’m still a little undecided on how to project the power ceiling. The potential is there for Dahl to be a very good player… but its going to be a long path getting there and there are a lot of adjustments to make.
Dahl doesn’t get enough torque out of his lower half and the swing can get sweepy. This isn’t a swing plane that’s conducive to big home run totals either. The thing is Dahl’s shortcomings are largely fixable issues while Dahl’s strengths are mostly elements you find in all star quality players – and elements that can’t be taught (ie. barrel awareness, bat control, feel for hitting). There’s a very large range of outcomes for Dahl but what really distinguishes him is that the ceiling is higher than many of the players on this top 100.
Mike Schwartze: Dahl hit the ground running in his professional debut, tearing up the Pioneer League. His bat has plus potential and he could develop into one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues over the next couple years. He has a great feel for the game, an advanced approach of the plate and has big time offensive potential. If he reaches his potential, we could see him hitting .300 while putting up 20-20 numbers.
Fantasy Outlook by Evan Rentschler:
Dahl is the best type of fantasy outfield prospect, as he holds the promise of above average production in batting average, stolen bases, and even slugging. In leagues where the outfield spots are split out, you’ll be getting a true center fielder as well. It remains to be seen whether last year’s Pioneer League blitzkrieg was an indicator that Dahl will move quickly, but it’s reasonable to assume he’ll spend a good amount of the year in High-A Asheville absent any unexpected struggles in Low-A, positioning him for a Double-A stint in 2014 just two years after being drafted. He’s still a dynasty league guy, but could be of great interest in re-draft leagues as soon as 2015.