At this time last year Dan Dallas was capping off a memorable four-year baseball career at Canisius High School. The Georgetown Cup was within reach and MLB scouts were lining up to watch the standout pitcher and formidable hitter, workout.
With all of the talk around town this spring about the very talented LG Castillo of Lancaster, WNYAthletics.com reached out to Dallas to find out what it was like for him during that time and what Castillo could expect.
Dan Dallas was selected 204th overall (7th Round) by the San Diego Padres last June. He passed up a full ride to Monmouth University and shortly after joined the Padres rookie ball affiliate in Peoria, AZ.
“The draft is a very confusing and nervous time” Dallas said “for the most part you have no idea what is going to happen.” Dallas worked out for the Padres, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. The MLB draft is a three day event. Team reps told Dallas to be by the phone on day two as he was expected to fall between the 6th through 9th rounds. Sure enough they were right.
Surrounded by family and close friends, Dallas took the call that would change his life. “My advice (for LG or any prospect) is try not to look into it too much as it will all work out in the end. It’s a dream a young man has had their whole life while playing ball, so it’s very easy to be anxious to hear your name called.”
Dallas appeared in five games last August and put up respectable pitching numbers. But he was about to find out things can change in an instant and regardless of how you did in high-school, making your way into the big leagues takes a lot of practice, re-training and mental toughness that one might not have had to deal with. “The Padres are still taking me very slowly as I’m very young and still learning how to truly pitch” Dallas said. Which sounds funny because one of the last time WNYers saw him pitch, Dallas threw a no-hitter. “I went through Spring Training and stayed down here for Extended Spring Training. I had a minor set-back with some arm issues that shut me down for a little time so I got put a little behind in that aspect but all is good. It’s a nice time in my career right now because they are truly breaking me down and trying to better myself as a pitcher the most they can. We have really been focusing on slowing the mechanics down and becoming more explosive at the end of my delivery. So lots of bullpens and dry work this season so far.”
Dallas does not regret forgoing his scholarship to Monmouth. “I am still confident and thankful in my decision to accept the Padres offer” Dallas said. “Would it of been awesome to attend Monmouth University and play ball there without question for sure. I felt this was the opportunity that I have been looking for and it was a good deal that the Padres were offering. It’s different for every single ball player though. It’s what best fits you and your family’s needs. Going pro was just what was right for me at the time”.
Dallas warns young ball players with dreams of being drafted that even if that happens, there are many up’s and down struggles that each and every player deals with. “That is where the mental side of my game comes into play. It’s a part of the game that may not seem very important but in the long run the guys that can stay mentally tough seem to be the ones that stick around longer. The season here is very long so I think a big part to avoid slumps is never getting too high or too low, always staying even emotionally. If you go on a hot streak for three starts and are pitching really well or if you can’t buy an out you have to take each outing reflect upon it and learn from it.”
The former Crusader is enjoying the time with his new teammates making some great memories and working together to fulfill their dreams of playing in the MLB. They know they still have more rivers to cross. “I will most likely start the beginning of my season in the Arizona League as I have to build my pitch count and arm back up, and then hopefully if that all goes well either get out to Tri Cities, WA or Fort Wayne Indiana at some point, which is our next two levels. But right now just taking it day by day and trying to get 1% better each day”.
Even though Dallas is almost 2000 miles from home he still keeps his eyes on the local baseball scene, especially his former team at Canisius and Castillo.
One issue Dallas took to heart was the decision the University of Buffalo made to end it’s baseball program after this season. “I couldn’t believe it. Especially for the guys there and the underclassmen, just sad.”
Once Dallas joins up with one of the Padres affiliate’s you will be able to livestream his games on Milb.com or on the mobile app.
“One last thing I’d like to thank all my supporters back at home. I’m very thankful and humble for this opportunity and wouldn’t be able to have it without you guys. I wish everyone back in WNY the best and have an awesome and safe summer” Dallas said.
You can also follow Dallas on twitter @dandukedallas
The 2017 MLB draft is scheduled for June 12th-14th. The Legends all-star and likely Buffalo News Player of the Year Castillo, although not considered a Top 100 prospect today could very well end up being selected around the same time frame Dallas heard his name.
Like Dallas, LG has a commitment to a D-I school as well (Oklahoma).
WNY has had five players drafted the past four years – Clarence’s Mark Armstrong (Cincinnati) and Amherst’s Jonah Heim (Baltimore) went in 2013, Orchard Park’s David ‘Bubba” Hollins (Detroit) 2014 and Lockport’s Nick Hamilton (Boston) was selected in 2015 before Dallas (San Diego) went in 2016.
Photo Credit pbs.twimg.com
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