Image credit: Matthew Dallas (Photo by Eddie Kelly / ProLook Photos)
Matthew Dallas saw himself ascend up draft boards following a strong summer circuit in 2022 and two outstanding seasons pitching for Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.). Dallas has experience on high school baseball’s biggest stage, as he started the championship game for Team USA’s 18U National Team at the World Cup last September. He carried over the momentum he built from the summer and fall into the spring season, working a 5-1 record with a minuscule 0.80 ERA and 102 strikeouts across 52.2 innings. Dallas received significant interest inside the top-five rounds of the 2023 draft, but ended up staying true to his commitment to Tennessee.
At 6-foot-5, 175-pounds the lanky lefthander has exciting upside. Dallas moves well on the mound and attacks hitters from a near over-the-top slot with a quality pitch mix. His fastball will sit comfortably in the 88-90 mph range, but will top out at 91-92.
It has cutting action at times and is at its best when located at the top-half of the strike zone. He has above average feel for the offering and commands it well. As Dallas continues to get stronger and fill out his frame, it is easy to envision the pitch eventually sitting in the mid-90s.
Dallas also features a mid-70s curveball and high-70s slider. The curveball is the better of the two offerings and generates a fair amount of swing-and-miss with plenty of depth. He has less of a feel for his slider, but it plays well against lefthanded hitters and flashes ample horizontal movement at times.
Similar to a jump in fastball velocity, Dallas’ offspeed offerings figure to get a lot tighter and sharper with added physicality. While he throws it sparingly, Dallas has a low-80s changeup that at times has shown arm-side fade and vertical depth. It profiles as a potential above-average offering down the road.
Looking ahead to the spring, the Volunteers need to replace 54.5% (36-of-66) of their 2023 starts. Potential day one pick Drew Beam (9-4, 3.63 ERA) will likely be the Friday starter, while two of crafty southpaw Zander Sechrist (0-1, 2.05 ERA), standout sophomore AJ Russell (2-0, 0.89 ERA) or sidewinder AJ Causey (5-2, 5.07 ERA) project to round out the weekend rotation. Even if Dallas does not have a weekend role, he still figures to log plenty of innings on the mound for Coach Vitello.
Dallas this summer is slated to pitch for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League. It will be a big summer for Dallas, and with a strong showing, he has a chance to see his draft stock skyrocket. Dallas will again be draft eligible as a true sophomore in 2025 and could pitch his way into a top-three round selection.