West Orange-Stark standout Chad Dallas excelling in minor league baseball, eyes Majors dream

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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Former West Orange-Stark pitcher Chad Dallas has learned to enjoy the grind of minor league baseball. After a strong start to the 2023 season, the 22-year-old was recently called up to the Double-A level and is beginning to see his effort pay off.

“It’s a really good feeling to get called up,” Dallas said. “It’s one of the small goals in the complete journey, but getting the call is really awesome.”

Dallas, selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth round of the 2021 MLB Draft, has posted a 2.30 ERA with 52 strikeouts across his first eight starts this season.

In his Double-A debut for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Dallas struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits across seven innings of work as he added a win to his record.

Chad Dallas throws against LC-M in his high school playing days. Dallas went on to shine on the mound at Panola, the University of Teneesee and is now pitching in the minors for the Toronto Blue Jays organization. (Leader file photo)

“I just tried to keep it simple and play the same game that got me up to this level,” Dallas said. “I didn’t realize in the moment I had nine strikeouts; I just knew things were going well.”

The fruits of his labor are starting to show, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Dallas said he’s always working on his changeup and has recently added a cutter to his pitch repertoire. Increasing his fastball velocity is another goal he’s focused on as he tries to keep all his pitches sharp.

“I went through a struggle phase last year where I wasn’t pitching well,” Dallas said. “A big lesson I learned from that is to not worry about the things you can’t control. When you’re pitching bad and you see your teammates move up in the farm system, the only thing you start to think about is, ‘How do I move up?’

“You just have to enjoy the grind and the little things that happen, and then let the promotion accomplishments happen on their own. If you just focus on your work and stay patient, the things that are supposed to happen will work themselves out.”

While he was a standout high school pitcher for the Mustangs, Dallas said his vision of working toward the major leagues truly came to life when he committed to the University of Tennessee. Even though a pathway to the big leagues is realistic, the experience of playing baseball for a living still feels surreal sometimes.

“You don’t think about it as much when you’re doing it — but when you get asked, it truly is a dream to be doing this,” Dallas said. “You’re still trying to fight for it to come true, but it’s truly amazing to even be where I’m at right now and have been where this game has taken me. And, hopefully where it’s going to take me.”

Dallas is one of many Southeast Texas talents on the journey to the MLB. However, he has a special relationship with another local pitcher. His brother, Jack Dallas, is a Single-A rookie in the Philadelphia Phillies’ farm system.

Dallas and his brother’s spring training facilities were located ten minutes away from each other, and he said it was a blessing for friends and family to come watch them play. Plus, they have insight into what the minor league journey is truly like and can support each other along the way.

“If you look at the numbers, the chance of us actually doing this is very slim,” he said. “Getting to be a fan and watch my brother is really awesome. I’ve looked up to him my whole life. For me, playing just feels like playing – but getting to watch him and be his fan is probably the best part about it.”

— Written by Keagan Smith