The Colorado Rockies will need contributions from the entire roster in order to capture a National League West division championship for the first time in franchise history.
Even though Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Daniel Murphy will likely make up the one through four spots in the Colorado Rockies batting order next season, there is another player that may become a top contributor on offense.
As Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post recently highlighted, David Dahl is that player, and he is ready to prove why he is an important piece to the puzzle going forward for the Colorado Rockies.
After being drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft out of high school, Dahl progressed steadily through the minor league system (despite numerous injuries) and made his MLB debut during the 2016 season.
Through his first 63 games at the major league level, the left-handed hitter showed why he was a first-round pick after he put together an impressive .315/.359/.500 slash-line with 24 RBI and 42 runs scored.
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Unfortunately for Dahl, he suffered a stress reaction in his ribs prior to the start of the following season, which caused him to miss out on making an appearance at the MLB level during 2017.
Despite only being able to appear in 19 minor league games in 2017, the Rockies invited the young outfielder to Spring Training in 2018. During 24 spring appearances, Dahl put together a solid .274/.318/.597 slash-line, but he was optioned to AAA ahead of the regular season.
His time with the Albuquerque Isotopes was short, however, as he was called up to the big league level on April 22nd. Unfortunately again for Dahl, he returned to the injured list on June 1st with a right foot fracture. This caused him to be out until mid-July and he was not recalled to the major league level until August 5th.
Upon his return, Dahl put together a solid .254/.338/.451 slash-line through 21 games in August. Although this was not as impressive as the slash-line he put together during his 2016 debut, he made up for any production concerns over the last month of the season.
Throughout the remaining 24 regular games in September and October, Dahl held an outstanding .287/.330/.655 slash-line with 9 HR, 27 RBI, and 15 runs scored.
This superb level of production played a large role in the Rockies climbing back to the top of the National League West division to finish in a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers following 162 games. This production also led Dahl to hit third in the batting order during both game 163 and the Wild Card game, and to hit fourth in game 1 of the National League Division Series.
Despite not recording a hit in any of these big game appearances, Dahl is a large piece of the future for the Colorado Rockies. As Dahl entered Spring Training injury-free, this upcoming season could very well be a breakout year in which the soon to be 25-year-old puts everything together in a full season of work.
“I feel really strong right now, but I don’t like to talk about it,” Dahl recently told the Denver Post. “I just want to go out and do it. I want to play everyday.”
“I love the self-confidence that he has,” manager Bud Black told the Denver Post. “He believes in himself and he believes that he can be the guy, which is a great trait for players when they have that self-confidence.”
“He’s proven it in a couple of different spurts,” Black added. “And I think in the organization, even before I got here (three years ago), there was a belief that David Dahl would be everyday contributor. Now is the time we are probably going to find out.”
“The potential is endless. He can be a great player,” teammate Ian Desmond also told the Denver Post. “He’s a five-tool player. He’s got power, he can hit for average, he’s got speed, he’s got a good arm, he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He seems hungry. I think this  is going to be a breakout year for him.”
Baseball-reference projects Dahl to compile a .278/.334/.484 slash-line next season alongside 15 doubles, 14 home runs, 46 runs batted in, and 44 runs scored through 336 plate appearances. However, as he showed during the month of September last season, Dahl can be a significant cog in the offense for the Colorado Rockies and he may be a lock to surpass these modest projections next season.