2015 New Britain Rock Cats Top Prospect: David Dahl


Today, we hand out the player award for the top prospect for the New Britain Rock Cats, 2015’s AA Eastern League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

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David Dahl had an eventful year with the New Britain Rock Cats. The former first round draft pick was ready to play outfield for the AA Rock Cats all season, and if things went well, hey, maybe he’d see some time in AAA Albuquerque (or, like his AA teammate Tom Murphy, the big leagues).

Only, for Dahl, things went the exact opposite thanks to one fateful game in late May where he lacerated his spleen in a collision with a teammate going for a fly ball.

He turned around the next week and made a very difficult decision to have his spleen removed entirely, in part so he could return to the field quicker than having to slowly and carefully recover from the laceration.

And he did get back on the field rather quickly, and he did make an impact both before and after the spleen injury; for that, and for the fact that he’s still one of the Colorado Rockies’ top prospects even despite his unfortunate timing with the spleen injury, David Dahl wins our 2015 Top Prospect Award for the New Britain Rock Cats.

[ Related: 2015 Albuquerque Isotopes Top Prospect Award: Trevor Story ]

The numbers to back it up:

Spleen aside, Dahl had a very solid 2015, especially in light of the jump to AA and the fact that he didn’t miss a beat after returning in August from the two months of recovery post-surgery. Here’s what he did in 2015:

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Clearly, he was slightly more sluggish before and after the spleen injury, though he finished the season well enough in New Britain to prove he’s still on track for the Rockies. This year, in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League, Dahl didn’t miss a beat and walked away as one of the better hitters on a ball club that included Murphy, Trevor Story, and Jordan Patterson.

Obviously, had he been healthy all season, one wonders if Dahl would’ve probably spent some time in AAA Albuquerque like Story did to finish the year. Nevertheless, the 21 year old is still in a great position with the organization.

What 2016 looks like:

There’s an outside chance that Dahl could spend part of 2016 in Denver with the Rockies, but at the very least, you’d have to believe he’s graduated from AA and the New Britain Rock Cats (er, the Hartford Yard Goats, now) and will be playing the year out at AAA Albuquerque.

The Rockies have a lot of outfielders on their roster and in the high minor leagues, but should guys like Carlos Gonzalez and perhaps even Charlie Blackmon find themselves as trade chips this winter, the spots could open and Dahl could very well join the Rockies later next year if he performs well in Albuquerque.

[ Related: 2015 Albuquerque Isotopes season in review ]

Honorable mention: Jeff Hoffman, Jordan Patterson.

Hoffman, who came over in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, was very impressive in a short stint in New Britain this year. In seven starts, he was 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA, throwing 36.1 innings and striking out 29 against just 10 walks and 27 hits (1.02 WHIP) with a .209 batting average against for the Rock Cats. Expect him to spend considerable time in AAA next year, and yes, he too could possibly see the big leagues.

Patterson had a big enough season that he was named to the group of Colorado Rockies’ Arizona Fall League participants, after he split the year between Modesto and New Britain. In total, he slashed .297/.364/.542 with 17 home runs and 45 doubles in 125 games this year. He may start 2016 in AA again, but the outfielder likely isn’t far from AAA Albuquerque depending on how he looks next spring.

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