After somewhat of a lost season in 2015, David Dahl proved why he's so highly regarded with a strong 2016 campaign. He put on a show at Triple-A, earning a quick promotion to Colorado. Dahl held a full-time role as the Rockies' left fielder throughout the second half. Although he struck out in a quarter of his plate appearances, he easily hit enough to make up for the swing and miss, flashing impressive power as well as an ability to use all fields. Dahl could stand to improve his plate discipline -- he posted poor BB:K ratios in the minors -- but his home/road splits were marginal and thus highly encouraging. Further, while he didn't hit hit for much power against lefties (.375 SLG), Dahl managed a .313 average against southpaws, and the Coors Field factor would seem to give him a high floor as he enters his age-23 season. The added bonus here is the speed, which should net Dahl double-digit steals over the course of a full season.
Dahl will compete with Gerardo Parra for the starting job in left field, MLB.com reports. As a 22-year-old last season, Dahl broke through to the major league level and enjoyed a great deal of success, slashing .315/.359/.500 in 237 plate appearances. However, he has not rested on his laurels -- Dahl worked to add strength and refine his batting eye this offseason. Dahl said recently that he's up to 198 pounds after finishing the 2016 campaign at about 180 pounds. Parra is under contract for at least two more years but the organization has a lot invested in Dahl as well, and the numbers suggest Dahl has a clear edge in terms of skills at this stage. Dahl posted a 88.02 mph average exit velocity on 135 batted balls last season, according to Statcast, better than any qualified hitter.
Dahl went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. Dahl delivered a go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth, only to watch Adam Ottavino blow the save in the bottom half of the frame. The long ball was Dahl's seventh of the season but first since Sept. 7. The 22-year-old has cooled off from his hot start, batting .274 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in September. He still holds a strong .315/.357/.500 batting line in 200 at-bats this year.
Dahl is out of the lineup Friday against the Dodgers. This is the second time in the last three games that Dahl has not been in the lineup, so it's possible his playing time will be curtailed slightly over the final 10 days of the season, as it's been a very long season for Dahl, relative to previous years. Ryan Raburn is starting in left field and hitting fifth Friday.
Dahl is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Cardinals, the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders reports. Dahl is hitting .275/.315/.373 while striking out at a 24.1 percent clip in 17 games this month after hitting .333/.378/.543 with five home runs and five steals in 35 games prior to September. If this is what a cold stretch looks like for the young left fielder, his prospects look awfully bright going forward. Jordan Patterson will get the start in left Wednesday and hit seventh.
Dahl is out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Diamondbacks, Kate Longworth of FOX Sports Arizona reports. Dahl has taken over starting left field duties thanks to an impressive rookie campaign, but he'll head to the bench for a day off after posting three straight hitless outings. Raimel Tapia will garner a start in left field in his stead.