Rockies add depth to outfield with Dahl
Prospect expected to add speed, power to organization
The Colorado Rockies saw speed and power in David Dahl, and Monday selected the Alabama high school center fielder with the 10th pick of the Major League Baseball draft.
“We liked his athletic ability,” Bill Schmidt, the Rockies’ vice president of scouting, said in a conference call Monday night. “We liked him as a person, first and foremost. He’s got the combination of speed and power and that will translate up here.”
Dahl, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound prep standout from Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala., has signed to play at Auburn University, but indicated he will sign with the Rockies, Schmidt said, as did pitcher Eddie Butler of Radford.
Dahl was rated the third-best outfield prospect in the draft by Baseball America, the top prospect from Alabama and the No. 12 overall prospect.
Once the draft ends Wednesday and players sign, they will be sent to their new clubs.
Normally the top draft picks are sent to Class A Tri-City in Pasco, Wash., but many players drafted out of high school start in Rookie ball, so there’s a chance Dahl could begin his career in Grand Junction.
“Total package, it’s hard to say if I’m right or wrong, but I thought an Andy Van Slyke-type kid, the ability to play center in our yard here.
“We think he has a chance to develop power depending on how he fills out, if he gets big enough to go to the corner (right or left field). You’re talking about a kid who’s in the mid-6.4, 6.5 (second) 60 (yard-dash). Just having the blend of that but also the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, too.”
Butler has a slight build, but the Rockies think he has the makings of a starter.
“He’s going to be lean and wiry, but it’s a loose arm,” Schmidt said.
“I don’t see him 200 pounds, more of a Bronson Arroyo body. We feel he has the ability to start and to pitch deep in games at the college level and we think he’ll be able to do it here in the professional level.”
Dahl had a bout with mono in high school but appears healthy, and Schmidt watched him play with USA Baseball in Colombia this past winter.
“For me he always produced and showed the ability to hit,” Schmidt said. “We’ve seen it over time. He has the ability to run the ball down, cover some ground in the outfield, especially in this ballpark. If he has to move to the corner (his speed) becomes an asset.”
Although Grand Junction Rockies fans won’t know for a few days if the Rockies’ top two picks will play at Suplizio Field, the club on Monday assigned 20 players to the Rookie squad from extended spring training.
Most of the players were on Casper’s roster last year, including outfielder Jarrod Berggren, who is from Erie and played at the University of Northern Colorado. Berggren started in Casper and played three games at Tri-City last season, hitting .271.
Right-hander Johendi Jiminian pitched the past two years in the Dominican Summer League, with a 9-8 record and 3.68 ERA. Last season he struck out 47 and walked 23 in 68 innings.
Patrick Johnson, a right-hander out of the University of North Carolina, split time between starting and the bullpen last season in Casper.
Alving Mejias, a right-hander from Maracaibo, Venezuela, threw in the Dominican Summer League in 2009 and the past two years in Casper. He’s gone 11-8 in those three seasons with 150 strikeouts and 32 walks.
The GJ Rockies will have a roster between 38-45 players. Four pitchers who are currently on the disabled list were assigned to Grand Junction and will join the club later this season.
The Rockies will arrive in Grand Junction by June 10, with the first workout June 11 at Suplizio Field. Grand Junction’s season opener is June 18 in Ogden, Utah, with the home opener at 7:05 p.m. on June 23.
Schmidt said he hopes to meet with all of the draftees this week and get as many signed as quickly as possible.
“We’ve got to first get them signed and have physicals and then turn it over to player development,” Schmidt said of the assignment process. “We’ll sit down with them and decide where people best fit. I’d like to get on this as soon as we can and try to get these guys out playing.”