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 and a reasonable contract offer 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.
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.
After three straight successful seasons, Dallas had begun to garner some prospect buzz coming into the 2007 season at Double-A Erie. Trahern roared out of the gates to win TigsTown's Erie Pitcher of the Month award, and finished his season with a 13-6 record and 3.87 ERA in 26 starts. In addition, Trahern made one spot start at AAA-Toledo, where he went 6-1/3 innings giving up only two runs to Pawtucket.
Dallas' strong, well-built frame is ideal for future growth and continued development, hopefully adding more strength and increased velocity as he matures. Trahern can touch 94 with his sinking fastball, but rests comfortably in the 88-91 range. His fastball has amazing late sink that naturally induces groundballs and keeps the ball in the park (He has allowed only 31 home runs in just over 500 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, but made some strides in gaining consistency throughout 2007. With continued work and increased consistency, his slider has a good chance at returning to the above-average pitch it was believed to be coming out of high school 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 throughout his career, but it's 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 AA
Dallas has been healthy and strong so far in his career. He has handled the increased workload with ease and has reported to observers that he felt extremely strong even late in the 2007 season. His durability – should it continue – could become one of his more valuable assets.
In an organization such as Detroit's, Dallas could have been hard-pressed to crack the Major League roster. With the trade to Florida however, he will likely have an opportunity to impress in spring training and maybe make the Opening Day roster with the Marlins. His poise on the mound and desire to be the best would likely allow him to continue his development at the Major League level, even if his results were not up to their normal standard.
Though I have been somewhat suspect of Dallas in the past because of his incredibly low strikeout rates, his success at Double-A in 2007 has pushed me to turn the corner. There is little doubt he can contribute to a Major League rotation, and I look for him to make his Major League debut in Dolphin Stadium sometime this summer.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.