Blue Jays: The 2021 draft class and where they will start the season
High-A Vancouver Canadians
Chad Dallas – RHP
Drafted by the Blue Jays in the fourth round, right-hander Chad Dallas started 21 games over the course of two seasons for the University of Tennesse. Dallas would author a 3.91 ERA through 124.1 innings, 103.0 of those coming last season (team-high) when he started 17 games for the Volunteers. The Texas product would finish his college career with a 10.4 K/9 and an impressive 1.9 BB/9, allowing only 26 walks as a member of the rotation.
Currently ranked as the Jays’ #22 prospect, this will be his first season of professional baseball as the organization did not have him report to an affiliate team after the season he had with Tennesee.
Hunter Gregory – RHP
A product of Old Dominion University, right-hander Hunter Gregory flirted with the Monarchs rotation during his first two years in the program before finally nailing down a spot in 2020 before the season was shut down due to COVID-19. In his junior year, he amassed a 2.95 ERA through 16 appearances, racking up 88 strikeouts through 79.1 innings of work.
Drafted in the eighth round, Gregory finished the year in Low-A Dunedin where a rough outing against the Tampa Tarpons to the tune of five earned runs saw his ERA inflate to 13.50 through six appearances out of the bullpen.
Riley Tirotta – 3B
A 12th round selection out of the University of Dayton, infielder Riley Tirotta spent four seasons with the Flyers and churned out an impressive senior campaign that saw the Indiana product slash .337/.451/.696 with 13 doubles, 16 home runs, and a 1.147 OPS that saw him earn All-Atlantic 10 Second Team honours.
Tirotta would finish the 2021 season in Low-A Dunedin where he would earn a .818 OPS through 95 at-bats, collecting one home run and 13 RBI. He also found himself in a Major League Spring Training game earlier this week, a fly ball to center field against veteran pitcher Shelby Miller with the New York Yankees.
Garret Spain – OF
A 15th round selection out of Austin Peay State University, outfielder Garrett Spain split last season between college ball and summer league play in the MLB Draft League with the West Virginia Black Bears. He played well in both leagues, finishing with a .922 and .915 OPS respectively but had fewer at-bats with the Black Bears compared to his college ball (206 vs. 110).
After the draft, Spain split his time between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Dunedin, finishing with a combined .197/.227/.211 slash line with five RBI, 19 strikeouts and a .438 OPS.
Jimmy Burnette – LHP
After three years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, southpaw Jimmy Burnette decided to transfer to St. Leo University and was eventually drafted in the 18th round by the Jays. At St. Leo, Burnette worked primarily as a starter and earned a 5.76 ERA through 45.1 innings of work.
After the draft, the Jays split his time between Rookie Ball and Low-A to finish out the season, with Burnette making ten appearances out of the bullpen.