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Oakland A's 2016 Community Prospect List #15: Dakota Chalmers and his high ceiling

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In pro baseball terms, this is Dakota Chalmers.
In pro baseball terms, this is Dakota Chalmers.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The newest member of our Community Prospect List is Dakota Chalmers, and of all the names so far he is the only one who will play the 2016 season as a teenager (Barreto turns 20 in a few weeks). There were some other pitchers on the ballot who are closer to making the Majors, but Chalmers' high ceiling is what puts him ahead of them in the eyes of the community. The current list, including their winning margins (the amount by which they won their elections, defined as a percentage of the total vote):

1. Sean Manaea, LHP (+1%)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS/CF (+70%)
3. Matt Olson, 1B/OF (+24%)
4. Matt Chapman, 3B (+26%)
5. Jacob Nottingham, C (+1%)
6. Chad Pinder, SS (+31%)
7. Renato Nunez, 1B/3B (+51%)
8. Yairo Munoz, SS (+14%)
9. Richie Martin, SS (+12%)
10. Casey Meisner, RHP (+24%)
11. Dillon Overton, LHP (+25%)
12. Rangel Ravelo, 1B (+30%)
13. Joey Wendle, 2B (+6%)
14. Dakota Chalmers, RHP (+19%)

There isn't much to say about Chalmers at this point. The A's were able to steal him in the third round because they used their first two picks on safe college players who signed under slot (Richie Martin and Mikey White), which meant they were able to give Chalmers a bonus commensurate with a high second-round pick. Factor in that they bought low on a toolsy-but-underperforming outfielder in the fourth round (Skye Bolt), and it's easy to get excited about the upside of their draft class. It's worth noting that Chalmers out-ranks White on our list, despite being drafted one round later.

As for what he brings to the table, I'll paraphrase his scouting report from MLB.com: He throws hard (tops out at 98 mph), his breaking balls are promising, he's got good size, and he needs to clean up his delivery. I can't imagine what else you could ask for in a high schooler. Now it's a matter of developing those tools into an effective pitcher. You're free to look at his Rookie League stats if you want, but I think it's an utterly pointless exercise for a teenager playing on some random backfield in Arizona.

The key with a player like Chalmers is patience. We might not learn much about him this year, and we shouldn't expect to see a whole lot of innings out of him as he builds up his young arm. Going back through the 2010 draft, here are all the high school pitchers the A's have picked (and signed) in the first 10 rounds:

Tyler Vail (5R, 2010): Opened in Single-A Beloit, but when Low-A Vermont started playing he moved down there. Threw a total of 95⅔ innings.
Chris Kohler (3R, 2013): Due to injuries, didn't pitch in 2014 and only threw 38⅔ innings for Vermont in 2015.
Dustin Driver (7R, 2013): Due to injuries, didn't pitch in 2014, then followed Vail's pattern by opening in Beloit and moving down to Vermont. Threw a total of 63⅓ innings.
Branden Kelliher (8R, 2014): Stayed in Arizona Rookie League in 2015, and threw 31⅔ innings.

Since there are no injury concerns for Chalmers at the moment, I'd imagine Vail serves as the best comp here. If Chalmers pitches in Beloit this year, it'll only be because Low-A Vermont isn't playing yet. When the Lake Monsters' season begins, I expect he'll move there and try his hand against other teenagers and 2016 draft picks. His season will be a success if he stays healthy and puts up even decent numbers.

Here is the process:

  • Five candidates will be listed on the ballot. The voting will take place in the comments section. I will start with a comment listing all five players, and then I will respond to that with five new comments in the style of "Vote: Player Name" for each candidate. Please do not reply directly to the official "Vote" comments, so that the ballot can stay together in one group.
  • Choose your ONE favorite by Rec'ing the comment with his name. Please only vote for one, like you would have in the old poll. (Note: If it comes down to a close two-man race, we will discuss the possibility of having the third-party voters cast a second vote for one of the two leading candidates, sort of like Ranked-Choice Voting.) The player who receives the most Rec's earns the next spot on the CPL, while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by a new nominee.
  • In the comments, below the official voting, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the ballot for the next round. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec'ing that comment. The player with the most Rec's earns the nomination.
  • The format for the comment should be "Nomination: Player Name".
  • If a prospect is traded, his name will be crossed out, and all other players will be moved up a space. If a prospect is acquired, a special vote will be put up to determine where that player should rank.

★ ★ ★

The new nominee is Ryan Dull. This time last year, none of us had even heard of the 2012 draftee. But after putting up a good 2014 season in Double-A, he absolutely dominated last year in his second attempt at the level. He didn't miss a beat after moving up to Triple-A, and that was enough to earn him a September call-up to help out Oakland's disastrous MLB bullpen. His debut was a mixed bag, beginning with 11 scoreless innings but then allowing four homers in his final five games, but considering he set a career-high in innings and pitched into late September for the first time I'm willing to give him a break for those last few outings. He might just end up as a middle reliever, especially if lefty hitters continue to give him problems, but there's a bit of upside here and a virtual guarantee that we'll see him in Oakland sooner than later this season.

Ryan Dull, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A? MLB? | Age 26

2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 35 games, 0.60 ERA, 45 ip, 52 Ks, 13 BB, 1 HR, 2.14 FIP
2015 stats (Triple-A Nashville): 12 games, 1.12 ERA, 16 ip, 21 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 2.35 FIP
2015 stats (MLB Oakland A's): 13 games, 4.24 ERA, 17 ip, 16 Ks, 6 BB, 4 HR, 5.37 FIP

From A's special assistant Grady Fuson, via A's Farm:

When he's been good, he's been 90-92mph, his ball has a little sink and dive to it, and he pitches at the bottom of the strike zone fabulously. He's got a hard little slider and he's got a nice little changeup. He's one of the better pitchers in our system when it comes to really pitching down in the strike zone consistently, and that's the biggest attribute he has, plus he pounds the strike zone.

From Midland manager Ryan Christenson, via Midland Reporter-Telegram:

"His main key to success is the fact that he can locate his fastball," Christensen said. "He throws strikes down at the knees. He's got a nice slider that comes out of the same plane as his fastball and the same with his changeup so he's tough on both lefties and righties. The main thing for him is he can spot his fastball pretty much where he wants, when he wants."

★ ★ ★

Here are our other current candidates:

Raul Alcantara, RHP

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2015 stats (High-A Stockton): 15 starts, 3.88 ERA, 48⅔ ip, 29 Ks, 8 BB, 3 HR, 4.00 FIP

From MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

Alcantara was coming off his American debut when the A's acquired him in December 2011 as a part of the trade that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox. He's matured as a pitcher since the deal and had reached Double-A Midland in 2014 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that May.

When healthy, Alcantara throws his fastball in the low 90s, occasionally touching 96 mph. His slider is inconsistent but has the promise to give him another quality secondary offering to go with his above-average changeup.

Alcantara had made significant strides in the year before his injury, and if he's able to recapture that ability when he gets back to full health, he has a chance to become a solid Major League starter.

★ ★ ★

Daniel Mengden, RHP

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2015 stats (Single-A): 8 games, 1.16 ERA, 38⅔ ip, 38 Ks, 8 BB, 1 HR, 2.65 FIP
2015 stats (High-A*): 18 games, 4.79 ERA, 92 ip, 89 Ks, 28 BB, 10 HR, 4.30 FIP

* combined stats w/ Lancaster (Astros) and Stockton (A's); FIP is a weighted average

From MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

Mengden has a solid four-pitch mix. He throws his fastball in the low 90s, while mixing in a sharp, biting slider, as well as a curveball and changeup. He generally works around the strike zone with his whole arsenal. There's some effort to his delivery, but it adds deception and he's athletic enough to make it work.

While some scouts think his delivery will eventually make him a reliever, others see an athletic right-hander who is still learning to pitch and believe he'll be able to stay in the rotation in the long run.

★ ★ ★

Mikey White, SS/2B

Expected level: High-A | Age 22

2015 stats (Low-A Vermont): 131 PAs, 153 wRC+, 2 HR, 10.7% BB, 22.1% Ks
2015 stats (Single-A Beloit): 145 PAs, 65 wRC+, 1 HR, 6.9% BB, 20.7% Ks

From MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 45 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45

White has a long track record of producing at the plate that extends from high school and U.S. national 18-and-under teams to the SEC and Cape Cod League. He consistently barrels balls with a short right-handed swing and generates good pop for a middle infielder. His advanced on-base skills fit well at the top of a batting order.

Though he has fringy pure speed, White runs the bases well. While he's not flashy or rangy at shortstop, he has dependable hands and makes routine plays. Second base is probably his best position, and Oakland had him play some third base alongside Martin at short-season Vermont.

★ ★ ★

Skye Bolt, OF

Expected level: High-A | Age 22

2015 stats (Low-A Vermont): 206 PAs, 110 wRC+, 4 HR, 11.7% BB, 21.4% Ks

From MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

A switch-hitter, Bolt exhibits more bat speed and a more authoritative swing as a lefty, leading some scouts to wonder if he'd be better off batting solely from that side of the plate. Maybe that would help him do a better job of handling quality fastballs and recognizing pitches, two of his weaknesses.

If Bolt could recapture the magic from early in his freshman year, he could be a star. One of the better college athletes in the 2015 Draft class, he has solid raw power, speed and arm strength. He does a nice job of covering center field from gap to gap.

★ ★ ★

Vote in the comments below for your favorite of the five by Rec'ing his "Vote: (Player Name)" comment, and post your nomination(s) as well!