Name: Dakota Chalmers
Height/Weight: 6’3’’, 195
How Acquired: Selected in the third round of the 2015 MLB draft
After using their first two picks on shortstops from the top NCAA baseball conference, the Oakland A’s rolled the dice on a high-upside high school pitcher with their third pick in the 2015 MLB draft. Dakota Chalmers has plenty of work to do to reach his ceiling, but he has the potential to be an impact pitcher in the major leagues.
Going into the 2015 draft, Chalmers was projected to be a top-two round pick. As a senior, Chalmers dominated for North Forsyth, posting a 1.50 ERA. He struck-out 82 in 51.1 innings and held opposing batters to a .166 average. Chalmers slid to the third round thanks to a strong commitment to pitch at Georgia and high bonus demands. The A’s grabbed him in the third round and signed him to an above-slot bonus of $1.2 million (slot was roughly $580,000).
Dakota Chalmers Career Stats
Chalmers was able to dominate high school batters thanks to his mid-90s fastball and promising breaking ball. Like many high school pitchers, Chalmers didn’t have consistent command of those pitches. Chalmers numbers with the A’s Rookie League squad were reflective of both the quality of his stuff and the inconsistency of his command. He posted a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings and held opposing batters to a .205 average. However, his K:BB was 18:17.
During his pro debut season and his time at fall Instructional League, A’s coaches began working with Chalmers on mechanical changes to allow him to have better control of his pitches.
“It started off with his foot. When he came to us, he was an over-thrower,” former A’s minor league pitching coordinator Garvin Alston said. “He wanted to light-up the radar gun. His front foot, which is his landing foot, was playing more towards the left-handed hitter’s batter’s box. That was the first item that we talked about. He picked up on that pretty well because that had been a problem of his before he got to us. Whoever his pitching coach was in high school – or if he had a pitching coach guy – he worked with Dakota on that, which is awesome. So that was an easy reminder for him to get back to.”
Alston said the A’s also worked with Chalmers to moderate his energy better on the mound.
“Granted, he has only been going two-or-three innings at a time, but he’s 100% percent all of the time,” Alston said. “I’m trying to dial that down a little bit so that he can live at 93 miles per hour and be able to command the ball better, which he did. He’s a very bright kid. He’s eager to learn. He has a lot of pitchability. He’ll learn as he gets older and goes up the ladder that, ‘okay, now I have a plan that the pitching coach put together’ and now he understands that the pitches are good. He’s not just reacting; he actually has a plan.”
Dakota Chalmers 2015 scouting video (video by Kimberly Contreras)
A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens sees a bright future for Chalmers.
“The first year for a high school kid, we are normally pretty cautious and we just want to do everything that is right for the player,” Owens said. “Their innings are going to be limited. Once they go to Instructional League, totally get acclimated to the program and have a good off-season, then we will see where they are at for the next full season. That will be more indicative of the pure stuff he has going forward.”
From a velocity perspective, Chalmers has one of the top fastballs in the A’s system. He can touch 96 and sits in the 92-94 MPH range. His change-up and curveball are both promising pitches, although both lack consistency at this stage. Chalmers is a lanky 6’3’’ and he gets a good downward plane. He should add more weight as he matures and could add a MPH or two down-the-road.
Chalmers is raw, but he is in good hands in an A’s organization that has a good track record developing young pitchers. He won’t be rushed and could start the season in extended spring training. He will be part of the A’s spring mini-camp, so A’s coaches will have plenty of time this spring to determine a road map for Chalmers’ 2016 season.