David Dahl was named Pioneer League MVP just as his Grand Junction Rockies were taking the field on Saturday night.
He lived up to his billing.
The 10th overall pick in this year's Draft had another impressive night for Grand Junction, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI as the Rookie-level Rockies beat Great Falls, 7-4.
Three months removed from playing high school ball in Alabama, Dahl has put up eye-popping numbers in his first professional season. He raised his average to .378, leapfrogging Orem's Joel Capote for the league lead.
The Rockies' top pick also leads the circuit with 91 hits, 34 extra-base hits, a .610 slugging percentage and 147 total bases. He's second with 18 doubles, 10 triples and 55 runs scored.
Dahl needed a little time to adjust to Minor League pitching, explaining, "The first couple of games, the velocity was getting to me a little bit." But he credited the time he spent on the U.S. National Team for helping ease the transition.
"It hasn't been too bad," Dahl said. "I kind of knew what to expect coming in. Playing for the USA National Team and all the summer stuff I did got me prepared for this season, but it was really about getting your body ready for the grind each and every day."
While he came in confident, an MVP season was not what Dahl was anticipating, especially in his first season.
"I wasn't really expecting it," the Birmingham native said. "I couldn't have done it without all my teammates, though. I was just really excited when I heard, really honored to have this award."
While the 18-year-old center fielder appears unfazed by Pioneer League pitching, he said he still needs to improve other facets of his game.
"I want to improve on everything," he said, "just get better all-around. One of the main things is getting a little bigger and stronger, definitely making my legs a little stronger, so I'm not sore as much."
Rockies starter Eddie Butler, who joined Dahl on the league's postseason All-Star team, improved to 7-1 after allowing a run on three hits over six-plus innings. He struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.19.
The Voyagers mounted a late comeback, plating three runs in the eighth, but managed just one hit in the ninth as Scott Oberg recorded his league-leading 12th save.
Great Falls starter Jonathan Casey (4-7) was charged with four runs on eight hits over six frames.