Hitter Analysis, Players to Target

Players to Target: David Dahl

Oh David Dahl, how I love you. Power. Speed. Coors. What more could you possibly want?

In 237 PA last year Dahl had 7 HR, 42 R, 24 RBI, 5 SB and a .315 AVG. If we prorate that to 600 PA, Dahl would have had 18 HR, 106 R, 61 RBI and 13 SB. He’ll be 23 in May and could be a part of a solid offense playing in the best hitter’s park around. Dahl is everything I want in an OF with the ability to contribute across the board. I think Dahl is going to be the next Rockies star OF and this year will be the start of his ascent.

 

Unfortunately, Dahl didn’t quite play enough last year to gather meaningful data in particularly with Statcast. It’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions to his 2016 MLB numbers but we can combine his stats with his scouting grades and form some sort of reasonable projection. Steamer (the best projection system around) gives Dahl 18 HR, 69 R, 74 RBI, 16 SB and a .272 AVG. The sound you hear is my pants hitting the floor. The chart below should add some context on what a line like that could mean.

Player HR R RBI SB AVG OF Player Rater
Gregory Polanco 22 79 86 17 0.258 25
Adam Eaton 14 91 59 14 0.284 27
Bryce Harper 24 84 86 21 0.243 23

If he hits his Steamer projection he should be a lock for a top 30 OF if not more. I know that doesn’t quite bring the #wood that it should but Dahl could be a lot more and I’m pretty confident that he will be.

Dahl’s best grade coming up was his speed and that was on display last year going 5/5 in stolen bases in the majors. Dahl’s career SB% in professional baseball is 75.24%. Unfortunately, Dahl’s been hurt in the minors (mainly freak accident injuries) so he’s never had a 30 SB season but he does possess the speed and skill to get there given the chance. I think 30 SB is nearly impossible this season, but I think he gets to 20.

Power has never been Dahl’s game but he’s hitting in Coors. Power was never Charlie Blackmon’s game either and he’s coming off of a 29 HR season. Dahl dropped a respectable 13% HR/FB in 2016. If he can maintain that number and stay healthy, 15+ HR should be easy. Like Blackmon, I think we see a couple sub-20 HR seasons before Dahl grows unto a 25 HR guy but I’m getting on board now.

The Rockies are going score a ton of runs this year. This offense is scary.

Order Player
1 Charlie Blackmon
2 DJ LeMahieu
3 Nolan Arenado
4 Carlos Gonzalez
5 Ian Desmond
6 David Dahl
7 Trevor Story
8 Tony Wolters

Outside of catcher there isn’t a weak spot in this lineup. That bodes very well for Dahl’s contextual stats. Hopefully Dahl can stick in the sixth spot. It might hurt his run total, but should give him a great RBI total. The 6th spot in the Rockies lineup last year had 101 RBI (T-2nd) and 77 R (11th). This lineup should be better than 2016’s version. As long as Dahl improves his plate discipline, I could see 75 R and 85 RBI with plenty of upside for more. It’s unlikely that Dahl moves into the two spot but it will be something to monitor. He could be a fantasy superstar out of the two spot.

Finally we get to the elephant in the room: Dahl’s batting average. Dahl’s .315 average is a complete farce. His .404 BABIP was second in all of MLB for players with at least 200 PA. Dahl doesn’t have the line drive rate (21.5%) or average exit velocity to account for such an absurd number. Every xBABIP calculator has his true BABIP for 2016 being around .333. Steamer projects him at exactly .333 which seems reasonable given his speed and home park. It’s not a 1:1 conversion but a .333 BABIP should put his BA somewhere in the .270-.280 range. Dahl received a lot of future 6s on his hit tool so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s closer to .280 than .270.

Dahl is going to be a risk because of his checkered injury history although almost all of them were of the freak accident variety. However, I think he is one of the safest post-prospect guys around. His park automatically bakes in some boosted stats and his lineup should give him ample opportunities for R and RBI. Dahl’s speed has played at every level and it should translate well over a full MLB season. As long as he is allowed to run, he should swipe 20 bags. The only real question marks I see are HR and AVG. These are important stats, but the Coors effect should help mitigate any slides. I am all in on Dahl and plan to own him in a lot of leagues. I doubt we see a big discount on him come drafts given his age and situation, but I’m willing to pay the price (within reason) for the potential. The pipe-dream for Dahl is 20 HR, 80 R, 85 RBI, 25 SB, and a .285 AVG. That would put him into the top 10 at OF in all likelihood. The more realistic scenario I foresee is 18 HR, 75 R, 85 RBI, 22 SB and a .280 AVG. That should put Dahl firmly into the top 20 for OF.

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