Oakland Athletics’ Top Four 2015 Draft Picks Impress In Debut Season

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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Third Round: Right-Hander Dakota Chalmers

Oakland Athletics’ third-round pick Dakota Chalmers started at the lowest level of baseball after he inked a deal with the Green and Gold, making eleven starts for the A’s Arizona Rookie League team.

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Next year, he’s likely to move up at least one level after making an impressive minor league debut in 2015. The right-hander pitched just 20.1 innings in 11 games, but he posted an ERA of 2.66 and struck out 18 batters.

Rookie league isn’t the kind of team that expects pitchers to go six-plus innings per start, so his innings per game don’t matter. Arizona is primarily a developmental league, where high school draft picks like Chalmers can have time to get the instruction and reps they would have received on a college team.

Chalmers is just 18 years old, so don’t expect to see him in the big leagues anytime soon. He has control issue that need a lot of work, and striking out rookie-league batters doesn’t mean you’re capable of striking out Mike Trout within a year or two. Two things do point to success for Chalmers though: a killer fastball, and above-average secondary pitches.

There aren’t many 18-year-olds on the high school showcase circuit who can regularly throw in the mid-90s, with a peak speed of 98 mph. Chalmers made a name for himself by becoming a power pitcher, and it’s not unreasonable to think that velocity will even increase more as he gets older and becomes stronger. At 6”3 and 170 pounds, he’s the prototypical definition of a big, right-handed power pitcher – and he’s nowhere near his prime.

Chalmers’ detractors would point to his control, as well as the messy delivery that is negatively impacting it. But he has made changes, and they’re working. His walk rate for the season was very high, but he gradually decreased the amount of free passes issued as the season progressed. Any time a player makes progress in an area where he needs to improve, it’s a great sign, and that’s especially true in a player’s first season. With time, Chalmers could eventually be an impact starter for the Athletics.

Next: Mikey White: Second Round