The Blue Jays have yet another pitching prospect off to a horrible start in 2024

Right-hander Chad Dallas has struggled to start the season at Triple A
Feb 23, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chad Dallas poses during Photo Day at TD
Feb 23, 2024; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chad Dallas poses during Photo Day at TD / Aaron Cobb/Toronto Blue Jays-USA TODAY

When it rains, it pours. Starting pitching wasn't supposed to be among the challenges facing the 2024 Blue Jays, but the sudden lack of depth behind the rotation may change that. That depth has taken another hit, as a top prospect has struggled to start the season.

Blue Jays righthander Chad Dallas is off to a rough start in Triple A, where in five starts he sports a 7.04 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP for the Buffalo Bisons. The Jays Journal No. 19 prospect has struggled to keep baserunners off the bases, allowing 31 hits (four home runs), 13 walks, and three hit-by-pitch in 23 innings. That's led to 18 runs allowed, as well as
some ugly ratios, such as a 12.1 hits-allowed-per-9-innings. Dallas is 0-1 with 16 strikeouts and hasn't pitched past the sixth inning yet this year.

A 2021 fourth-round Draft pick out of Tennessee, Dallas pitched well in 2023 for Vancouver and New Hampshire, combining for a 9-3 record, a 3.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 123.1 innings. He
struck out 144 while walking only 49. He was named MLB Pipeline's Toronto Blue Jays Pitching Prospect of the Year in 2023 for his efforts. Dallas also earned the first start of the year back in February's spring training opener, where he retired all three Philadelphia Phillies batters he faced, striking out two of them.

Dallas, 23, has a "solid but a bit ordinary" fastball that when the command is lacking "it tends to get hit," according to his Jays Journal prospect profile. That, along with his current stats in Buffalo, suggest Dallas needs to improve his command in order to turn his season around. He's got a slider that can be real effective as well.

So far in the Blue Jays rotation, Jose Berrios has been fantastic, Yusei Kikuchi has been very good, Chris Bassitt has been hot and cold, and Kevin Gausman seems to have righted the ship. Yariel Rodriguez has been a nice surprise. But it is unlikely Toronto will go the rest of the season needing just five starters, especially since Rodriguez in under an innings cap after not pitching in 2023.

But Bowden Francis is on the shelf. So is highly-touted prospect Ricky Tiedemann, although the latest news is encouraging. Alex Manoah is also struggling at Triple A, while Mitch White is gone. These guys were expected to provide some depth in the Toronto rotation this year.

Other reinforcements from the Bisons may not help either.

Buffalo's pitching has been bad in general. The Bisons have a team ERA of 5.46, which is 17th in the 20-team International League. The team has a 1.75 WHIP, which is the worst in the IL. Opponents are hitting .272, which is the next-to-worst in the league, topping only the .275 opponents are hitting against Durham Bulls pitching. Somehow, the Bisons are 16-10 and in second place in the International League, one game behind the front running Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

The answers need to come soon. Without improved health and improved performance, moves will have to be made.