The Rockies’ David Dahl has long been viewed as a high upside option, he only needed to stay healthy and be given the opportunity for regular playing time. That finally came in 2018 and he seemingly lived up to those expectations, sending the hype machine into full throttle:
.273 Batting Average (68 Hits)
16 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.325 On Base Percentage
.536 Slugging Percentage
.311 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Is it time to make room on the hype train? Don’t be so quick, as there are numerous reasons to think that his production will fall well short of last season’s marks.
While his average was strong, Dahl’s actual approach left a lot to be desired with a 15.4% SwStr% and 39.6% O-Swing%. That alone calls into question his ability to maintain even the pedestrian 25.1% strikeout rate he carried in 2018. The fact that he struggled to make regular contact against all types of pitches, especially “hard” pitches, looms large (Whiff%):
- Hard – 17.74%
- Breaking Balls – 13.68%
- Offspeed – 20.28%
Opposing pitchers were already throwing him just 54.59% fastballs, and with 10 HR against fourseam fastballs (and 2 HR against sinkers) there’s a good chance that pitchers continue down this path.
Building off the pitches seen, just look at his SLG against non-hard pitches from last year:
- Changeup – .385
- Slider – .455
- Curveball – .361
Even the mark against sliders isn’t truly indicative of his performance, as he hit 1 HR against each type of pitch last season. Could opposing pitchers start to throw him even fewer fastballs? Even if they don’t it’s easy to envision a 23.2% HR/FB regressing, despite playing half his games in Coors Field. Just consider that at Triple-A over the previous two seasons (147 AB) he had totaled 4 HR. That would put him on pace for about 16 HR over a full season, a far cry from the bloated mark he showed last season.
Sure it seems like the Rockies will hand him regular playing time, but does anyone truly trust Colorado to do so? How about whether or not Dahl can stay healthy?
Then you have the risk of a platoon, as the left-handed hitter could sit against southpaws, and the risks continue to build.
While there is potential that no one can argue, it would seem like the hype machine has been ratcheted up a little too far. In NFBC formats he currently holds an ADP of 69.94, meaning you need to spend around a sixth round draft pick to acquire him. Given the risks, does that make sense? It shouldn’t, and fantasy owners would be better served to look elsewhere (like Marcell Ozuna, Mitch Haniger or Eddie Rosario, all of whom are being selected after Dahl).
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, NFBC