Photo by Greg Bessette

Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospect scouting report: Dakota Chalmers, RHP

Our Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers is just starting to scratch his potential. Will the right-hander make a smooth transition to full-season ball?

Name: Dakota Chalmers
Position: RHP
Height/Weight: 6’3’’, 195
Bats/Throws: R/R
Age: 20
How Acquired: Selected in the 3rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft

The Oakland A’s went over-slot to sign their third pick in the 2015 draft, a high school right-hander named Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers is still years away from the big leagues, but he flashed big potential in a stint with short-season Vermont in 2016. Can he make a successful leap to full-season ball in 2017? After several years of little depth, the A’s system has seen a resurgence in the area of starting pitching the past few seasons. Chalmers, a 2015 third-round pick, is one of several promising arms to join the organization since June 2014. While Chalmers has yet to pitch in full-season ball, the Georgia native has one of the higher ceilings in the organization thanks to his raw talent and his work ethic.

The A’s have taken a measured approach to Chalmers’ development. After joining the A’s out of high school, Chalmers threw 20.1 innings in Rookie Ball in his pro debut and then spent the first half of the 2016 season in extended spring training before joining the Vermont Lake Monsters at the start of short-season. Chalmers spent the rest of the year heading the Lake Monsters’ rotation, making 15 appearances and racking up 67 innings pitched.

Chalmers was inconsistent with the Lake Monsters. In those 15 appearances, he threw five or more innings seven times. Chalmers had trouble maintaining consistent command from start-to-start and even from inning-to-inning. He held opposing batters to a .217 average but had a 4.70 ERA and allowed eight homers thanks to his command issues. He struck-out nearly a batter an inning (62), but also walked nearly five per nine innings (37).

At times last season, Chalmers had everything working for him, and it was easy to see why he is so highly regarded. His fastball sat in the 92-96 MPH range and, when he was locating, got late movement in the lower edges of the strike-zone. His curveball was a swing-and-miss offering at times and the change-up showed improvement from where it was in 2015. However, he also fought his mechanics, often falling out of his delivery mid-start, especially with runner’s on base.

During the A’s fall Instructional League, Chalmers spent a lot of time with pitching coach Steve Connelly working on revamping his delivery. Connelly was impressed with Chalmers’ work ethic and felt the right-hander came out of that camp with a better lane to the plate.

The thing about Dakota is that the kid has the heart and the desire to do it. He is a mentally tough kid. He works hard every day. He went through a lot this year in Instructional League. He took ownership of his delivery. He did dry work every day. He did mirror work every day,” Connelly said. “He did a certain throwing program every day that included drills that keep the front leg from rolling out and staying firm and in place. He lowered his leg. There were so many things that he worked on. It was a huge task for him and he is the one guy who could take on a task that large because of his willingness and want to be a big leaguer.

“I felt like at the end, he made the strides that he needed to. Hopefully, in the end, with more repetitions, coming into spring training, he will be locked in and ready to go. I think that he could have a very good year for us next year.”

Chalmers turned 20 last October, so he is still at the very early stages of his career. With his 6’3’’ frame and live arm, Chalmers has the raw potential to be a number two starter in the big leagues if everything comes together for him. He is still a work-in-progress, but the A’s like what they have seen from Chalmers in terms of his coachability and preparation.

Hes a really good athlete. He cares. This kid wants that ball every five days. Hes aggressive. He likes baseball. Hes a competitor. He probably just needs to channel that abundance of energy the right way. He can get a little amped on the mound,” A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens said. Hes got dynamic weapons on that mound. Obviously he has to channel that ability to throw the ball over the plate as he climbs the ladder, but the weapons, the arm action, the body, those things are all positives. The energy he brings to the ballpark every day, just wanting to be out there and having that youthful exuberance, is exciting to see.”

Dakota Chalmers Scouting Video (video by Kimberly Contreras)

Chalmers is a strong candidate to spend the 2017 season with the Low-A Beloit Snappers. He could make a late season appearance with the Stockton Ports, but the A's are likely to continue to take a deliberate approach with Chalmers' development.

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