Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Trahern enjoyed an exceptional senior season at Owasso High School in Oklahoma, splitting time as his staff ace and as the starting shortstop. Dallas knocked 13 homeruns and 54 RBI in 37 games, all while remaining undefeated (11-0) on the hill with a 1.37 ERA. All this combined, helped lead his high school squad to back-to-back Oklahoma state championships.
After completing his outstanding high school career, Trahern was set to tackle the D-I ranks with his hometown Oklahoma Sooners. Trahern's commitment to OU was so strong, most teams passed on him in the draft, but the Tigers did their research and nabbed Trahern in the 34th round, hoping the firing of the Sooner pitching coach would sway his decision to turn pro. Dallas made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League, overmatching his inexperienced competition. Trahern finished 2004 with a 0.59 ERA over 6 starts (30+ innings), posting only 7 walks and 24 strikeouts, while also being named TigsTown's GCL Pitcher of the Year.
After his exceptional tour through the GCL, the Tigers felt Trahern was ready for the rigors of full-season ball. Playing for West Michigan in 2005, Trahern helped anchor the staff as one of the youngest starters in the Midwest League, posting a 3.58 ERA in 156 innings. He took home his second TigsTown Award with the August Pitcher of the Month honor, and he started making his climb up prospect charts. The natural progression sent Dallas on his way to Lakeland in 2006, and he continued his effective pitching. With an ERA and WHIP that both ranked in the top five in the Florida State League, he helped hold together a Lakeland pitching staff that received very little support throughout the season.
Dallas' long, lanky frame is ideal for future growth and continued development, hopefully adding more strength and increased velocity as he matures. Trahern combines average, low-90s velocity with progressing breaking pitches, and good control for a young pitcher. Dallas' fastball has amazing late sink that naturally induces groundballs and keeps the ball in the park (He has allowed only 19 home runs in 332 professional innings). His fastball has gained a bit of top-end velocity since turning pro, but it has yet to result in less contact.
He re-introduced his slider in 2006, with mixed results. Previously believed to be one of his better pitches, the time away hurt his consistency and he must regain the late bite and tilt that made it a potential plus pitch. His curveball and change-up have both progressed very nicely, and should continue to make more progress as he is forced to use them more regularly. He throws his change-up in the same arm slot as his fastball and keeps his arm speed up as well, allowing him to keep lefties at bay. Dallas controls all of his pitches well, but must improve the command of his secondary pitches to sustain his success.
Trahern is very athletic, fielding his position extremely well and repeating his mechanics better than nearly anyone in the system. His mechanics are smooth and clean, and his durable frame should allow him to avoid injuries throughout his career. He struggles to miss bats, and must learn to pitch off the corners instead of on them. He's relied heavily on his defense over the last two years, but its always nice to be able to finish batters yourself when in tight spots. He is extremely composed on the mound and pitches with a maturity well beyond his birth date. He is a leader on the field and in the dugout.
Dallas could likely get outs at any level right now, but he must get more swing-and-miss strikes to reach his ceiling. He profiles as a back of the rotation starter right now, but with improved strikeout rates, he could improve that stock as high as a potential #2 hurler.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A+
Dallas has been healthy and strong so far in his career. The Tigers have remained cautious with his young arm, monitoring his pitch counts and innings carefully. He could bump up to the 170-inning range without much trouble in 2007.
Dallas will take the next step in 2007, getting his first real taste of advanced hitters when he debuts at AA-Erie on Opening Day. His high groundball:flyball ratio should allow him to avoid any adverse effects of Jerry Uht Park's hitter friendly dimensions. The jump from High-A to Double-A is often considered the most difficult in the minor leagues, and Dallas will have his work cut out for him from day one.
He should have a very solid club around him at Erie, allowing him to pitch his game without feeling as though he must carry the team every fifth day. If his slider begins to round back into form, he could see a bit of a spike in his k-rates, which would help him maintain his success this season. I expect him to post solid, if unspectacular, numbers for Erie. He'll be just 21 and challenging one of the minor leagues top levels, so he's got plenty of time to adjust and get things figured out.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.