David Dahl and Jeff Hoffman both overcame major surgeries to return to the field in 2015, and Ryan McMahon tapped into newfound power. For all, the Rockies have taken notice.
Outfielder Dahl, third baseman McMahon and right-hander Hoffman will be headed to Major League camp this month. The No. 46, 48 and 52 prospects in baseball join 20 other non-roster invitees when the Rockies report to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Dahl was sidelined for six weeks after suffering a lacerated spleen in a May 28 on-field collision with Double-A New Britain. The 21-year-old initially had surgery to save the organ before electing to have it removed in order to return to game action quicker. After coming back, the Rockies' No. 3 prospect slashed .292/.318/.481 in 29 games with the Rock Cats.
"I can't wait to get started," Dahl said in a Prospect Q&A last month. "I'm ready to go out and have fun, play the game that I love. Once you miss so much time like I have, it makes you realize how much you love the game and want to be out there. I'm just really excited to see where this year takes me. I'm just trusting the process that the Rockies have, and I can't wait to see where I am at the end."
The outfielder is a potential five-tool Major Leaguer with all of his skill sets grading at a 55 or 60 on MLB.com's scouting scale.
At the hot corner, McMahon shined in a breakout season for Class A Advanced Modesto. Over 132 games, the infielder batted .300/.372/.520 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs. McMahon's power was among the best for top prospects, and the 2013 second-round pick led all of Minor League Baseball in BABIP. McMahon was named a midseason and end-of-season California League All-Star. Though the big leagues are still a couple of steps away, McMahon is excited for the place that he may well call home one day, especially with Major League camp on deck.
"Oh man, I mean obviously Coors Field is a hitter's dream," the slugger told MiLB.com last month. "It'd be amazing to make it up to the big leagues, no matter what, but Coors is a dream park for a hitter."
Hoffman was the centerpiece of the July trade that sent five-time Major League All-Star Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. Colorado's No. 4 prospect made his professional debut last year in the Blue Jays system after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014. Despite the operation, Toronto still selected him with the ninth overall pick in that year's Draft, and his first professional season showed why. Hoffman combined to go 5-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 20 starts between two Toronto affiliates (Class A Advanced Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire) as well as New Britain.
The latest in a line of power arms acquired by Colorado since Jeff Bridich took over as the team's general manager after 2014, Hoffman's repertoire is topped by a fastball that touches 98 miles per hour with regularity and an equally effective curveball. The 23-year-old's strikeouts-per-nine innings rate increased at each stop last season, going from 6.11 with Dunedin to 6.17 with New Hampshire and 7.18 with New Britain.
Hoffman was selected one spot after Colorado's No. 9 prospect Kyle Freeland in the 2014 Draft. Lefty Freeland will also be in attendance at Major League camp along with fellow southpaw and No. 23 Rockies prospect Sam Moll. Backstop Dom Nunez (No. 15) and outfielder Jordan Patterson (No. 22) are the club's other two ranked invitees.