MESA, Ariz.—As the top prep pitcher in the state of Georgia for the 2015 draft, righthander Dakota Chalmers generated first-round buzz, yet the Athletics were able to call his name in the third round.
The lanky, 6-foot-3 Chalmers refuses to second-guess the scouts.
“I don’t think I pitched like a first-rounder my senior year (at North Forsyth High),” said Chalmers, 19. “A lot of guys were pitching with a little more quality stuff than I was. I felt like I was a little raw.
“I was drafted exactly where I should have been, by the right team.”
Chalmers turned down a scholarship offer at Georgia to sign with Oakland for $1.2 million, a little more than double the slot value.
“He has live, late movement on his fastball,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. “It has low-90s velocity that’s going to get a tick higher. He throws at 94-95 (mph) . . . As he matures, he’ll be a really strong guy.”
Chalmers made progress in the Rookie-level Arizona League after turning pro.
“In high school, I was overthrowing a little,” he said. “I’ve been working on that, and learning to keep my head on line (to the plate) . . .
“The biggest thing is developing a good routine. The coaches are really good about teaching us how to develop a routine.”
Chalmers discarded his slider during instructional league, and he is working to develop his curveball and changeup. He said he may try his slider again in the future.
“(His curve is) much improved,” Lieppman said. “He’s able to get more spin and get it down in the strike zone. Last year, he overthrew it, and it didn’t have any shape.”
Thoughtful and intense, Chalmers recognizes that he has made improvements. He paused for a moment to reflect on how different that senior year might have been if he knew then what he knows now.
“If I knew then what I know now,” he said, “something else would have happened in the draft.”
We never have that chance to go back, but Chalmers will have an opportunity to move forward.
• Four A’s minor leaguers participated in World Baseball Classic qualifiers in March: catchers Bruce Maxwell (Germany) and Andy Paz (France) and righthanders Andres Avila and Jake Sanchez (both Mexico).