Make no mistake about it … Dahl’s first swings on Thursday still have him a long ways off from actually being able to play baseball. However, the 23-year-old Dahl is highly motivated to make his return to the Majors. Read his quotes and you know he is itching to return.
Flash back to the spring of 2017 and remember that Dahl was expected to compete with Gerardo Parra (who was coming off a horrid 2016 season) for the starting spot in left field. Now, Dahl will just be competing to make the Opening Day roster. And that may be tough considering Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Desmond could be your Opening Day outfield starters if the Rockies use Ryan McMahon at first base as has been reported.
Raimel Tapia should also figure heavily into the outfield mix in 2018 and it’s possible that the Rockies will still acquire another bat before the offseason ends. That could change things completely as well.
So where does that leave Dahl? It leaves him needing to make an impression on manager Bud Black who, remember, has yet to see him play in an actual game in person. Black reminded the Denver media of that in these comments from August. Black has a familiarity with all of the outfielders above and what they can do in certain situations. Dahl is still a mystery to him.
Dahl absolutely has the talent to impress Black and make the roster. We know that from his rookie season where he tied a Major League record with a 17-game hitting streak to begin his career. However, it’s going to take more than talent to be ready for Opening Day.