By PATRICK THOMAS
There are good players. And then, there are premier players. David Dahl falls under that last category. In his final season of high school, David is one of the most coveted baseball prospects out of not only the Birmingham area, but the nation. For him though, it is not all about the hype.
“I don’t keep up with it all honestly,” said David, who committed to Auburn in the fall of his sophomore year at Oak Mountain High School. “There is always a lot of talk at school, but we don’t talk about it at home.”
David experienced a whirlwind of accolades and draft projections for Major League Baseball in the past year. He has been projected as high as No. 10 by Baseball America and No. 15 by mymlbdraft.com. In David’s case, he does not give too much thought to the possibilities.
“These mock drafts are put out by so many different services,” said Kelli Dahl, David’s mother. “So we try not to pay too much attention.”
Dahl, a centerfielder for the Eagles, has been playing varsity baseball since his freshman year. He has been named Honorable Mention All-State; first team All-State; Shelby County Hitter of the Year; and All-Metro as a junior when he batted .449 with 18 doubles, two home runs, 40 runs scored, 53 hits and 35 RBIs.
David was invited to the Perfect Game National Showcase in the summer of 2011 with around 200 players from around the nation. Most prospects would cringe at the strenuous rigor of 60-yard sprints, clocked throws and batting practice at the showcase. David ran a 6.49 in the 60 and threw 95 mph from right field. Not bad for a 17-year-old high schooler.
“I like seeing the competition,” David said. “It is good to see other people at that level.”
Despite being out sick for six weeks and missing the majority of the Perfect Game showcase, David received an invitation to play in the Perfect Game Classic in San Diego in August. That is after he went .714 at the plate after two days with two triples and two runs scored.
David’s virtuoso performance in the Perfect Game Classic brought the 6-foot, 2-inch, 195-pound senior an invite to play on the USA National team in November in Colombia, where they went undefeated to win the Pan American games.
The Five-Tool Prospect’s success is no fluke. His five-day a week workout regimen in the offseason and hours in the batting cage have paid off. He attributes that success largely to his father.
“My dad pushed me tremendously,” said David, who first played T-ball at four. “We have spent hours upon hours in the batting cages.”
In this final high school experience, David wants to have the best season he can: “I just want to go as far as possible. It will be interesting.”
As of the final week of March, Oak Mountain is 13-9. David is off to a strong start, batting .382 with 26 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, one HR, and nine RBIs. From his leadoff batting position, he has achieved a .528 on-base percentage that has enabled him to score 26 runs while drawing 21 walks and stealing 16 bases.
Amidst the hoopla over high draft possibilities, David has stayed firm in his commitment. For now, Dahl’s choice to attend Auburn is solid until a final decision is made June 4-6, the dates for the MLB draft.
“My hopes for David are to enjoy college life to the fullest,” said Kelli. “If anything should change that, it will also be a blessing as well.”