A year into his professional career, Dakota Chalmers has already established himself as one of the Oakland A's top pitching prospects. The right-hander was the A's third-round selection last year. The A's paid over slot to sign Chalmers away from a college commitment. He got his feet wet in the pros last year in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings.
http://www.scout.com/mlb/athletics/story/1686534-mid-season-a-s-q-a-keit... Chalmers spent the first half of this season at Extended Spring Training and was part of the Vermont Lake Monsters' Opening Day roster. He has been a rotation mainstay since then. A rough last start (8 ER in 4 IP) bumped his ERA up to 5.03 in 39.1 innings, but Chalmers has been generally very good for the Lake Monsters so far this season. He has struck-out more than a batter an inning (42) while holding opposing hitters to a .229 average.
Chalmers has as much arm strength as anyone in the A's system. He can run his fastball up to 98 MPH, although he commands the pitch better at 93-95. With his height, velocity and his developing secondary pitches, Chalmers has the potential to be a solid big league starter for a long time. He won't turn 20 years old until October.
Donald Moore spoke with the hard-throwing right-hander during a recent Vermont roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Dakota, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Dakota Chalmers: Outstanding and I love it. Everybody is cool. The team's good, coaches are awesome. I'm having a good time with the team. I think we have a pretty good squad this year and it's been a great time.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
DC: Obviously I'd like to make the playoffs. I'd like to win a championship. But I think as long as each individual player developing makes a good cohesive unit as a team and gets better everyday, I think that is all you can ask for. And the other stuff will come.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a baseball player?
DC: I pride myself on being mentally tough on the mound. Grinding it out when things aren't really going your way. Keeping good composure on the mound the best I can when you're struggling and the game speeds up a little bit. Everybody struggles with it at times. I think I do, too, but I think that would probably be one of my better aspects.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
DC: I'd like to improve on physically getting a little bigger and stronger and attacking the 'zone a little more with my fastball. I think if I can do that I could be a more effective pitcher. Go deeper into games and throw good pitches early on and go short counts.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional baseball player?
DC: Being a professional athlete you know? I'm just kidding ya. It's a grind at times but you're with your friends and you are doing something you love to do and getting better everyday and they pay you for it. It's cool.
DM: What is the hardest thing about being a pro athlete?
DC: Time management. I feel like a lot of it is on your own, off the field, and you have to make sure you get your rest and not be doing the wrong things off the field and on the field. They can't hold your hand for everything and there are a lot of guys out here, so you have to make sure you are doing the right thing, on and off the field.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
DC: Not really. I try to keep it a little bit loose. I used to have a lot of weird things I did pre-game, but if one of them didn't go my way or I forgot to do one it would rattle me, so I've just got to keep it loose and go with the flow.
DM: Any hobbies?
DC: I love video games and I love sleeping when you get the chance. Just messing around with my computer or hanging out with my friends, going to college football games in the off season and visiting my friends in school is a good time.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
DC: The Atlanta Braves. I'm from Georgia.
DM: Where are you originally from?
DC: Gainesville, Georgia actually, just south of Atlanta.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
DC: Definitely my dad, 100 percent. He didn't play growing up, but we got the chance to learn together and he did a really good job going out there and learning himself, and that way he could teach me and he did a great job. It's all thanks to him.
DM: Craziest thing you ever have seen on a baseball diamond?
DC: I haven't really seen something crazy. Oh wait, I know, the craziest thing I've been involved with was like two weeks ago. I hit a guy and he charged the mound. That was crazy but that's it. I haven't seen too much outstanding I don't think.
DM: Any off-season plans?
DC: I'm not sure yet. I'm probably going to go on a vacation with the family on a cruise and then I'd probably move out to Arizona a little early to get some work in before spring training starts. It's kind of what I did this past year and it worked out pretty well.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
DC: Thank you, man.