Cubs Get to Keep Big-Stuff Pitching Prospect Dakota Chalmers

It really sucked that the Cubs’ positional injury crunch got so severe that they had to open up a 40-man roster spot at one point in the way you hope you never have to: by DFA’ing an interesting pitching prospect.

We could grumble and rumble about the choice to make that prospect Tyson Miller, who was claimed off waivers by the Rangers and thus lost for nothing, but we wish him nothing but the best. He stayed on the 40-man roster with the Rangers.

I say that and mention it that way because, when you’re in the market to pick up a prospect on the waiver wire, you don’t necessarily WANT to have to keep the guy on the 40-man roster, both because of the in-season limitations (if he’s not a guy you expect to come up and down then he’s kinda just eating up a spot you can’t use), and because of the need to carry him on the 40-man all offseason, when things can get much more crowded thanks to the lack of a 60-day IL and adding prospects ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.

Now to set up what this post is actually about: today the Cubs got recently DFA’d pitcher Dakota Chalmers through waivers, and successfully outrighted him to Double-A Tennessee.

That means that Chalmers, 24, is now a Cubs minor league prospect free and clear, so to speak. With an open 40-man spot, the Cubs were able to claim him, and then they passed him through waivers to get him back off the 40-man roster, and now he’s a prospect in the system in a more traditional sense. To be sure, I don’t want to celebrate it TOO much, since being off the 40-man kinda sucks for a player (he makes less money and doesn’t get certain protections afforded by being on the big league 40-man), but I do really like the idea that the Cubs just picked up a super interesting pitching prospect for free.

Chalmers, 24, was an Oakland A’s third rounder in 2015 when, surprise, Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz was running their draft. He was a way over-slot signing out of high school, and Baseball America had him as the 34th best prospect in that year’s draft. Chalmers has a whole lot of prospect pedigree, but obviously the hype has fallen way off that he was waived by the Twins and lasted all the way to the Cubs to claim him.

Chalmers was with the Twins at that point having been traded from the A’s for Fernando Rodney in a midseason deal back in 2018. That was shortly after he underwent Tommy John surgery, which means 2020 would have been his first full season back from surgery, but, alas, pandemic. He did get to pitch in the Arizona Fall League in 2019 to add a little more time, but then missing virtually all of 2020 with the shutdown didn’t do his development any favors, I reckon. Then he hit Double-A this year, couldn’t throw strikes at all, and that was that.

Here’s how he was described in an early 2020 Baseball America article, before things went further sideways:

“Before he got hurt, we knew he had exceptional swing-and-miss pitches. He had raw major league stuff at 19—big velocity, mid-to-upper 90s, quick arm,” [Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek] Falvey said. “He was walking guys at a pretty good clip, too. But there was a feeling that, if we stand back and let him heal, then help refine him a little bit, develop more command, he could progress quickly.”

The 23-year-old returned last July and proved the Twins’ wisdom correct. Chalmers embarked on a six-week audition between Rookie ball and high Class A in which he struck out 48 batters and walked 23 in 34.2 innings.

After that Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League. His performance there was sometimes rough—a 5.09 ERA in six starts—but encouraging as well. His stuff was so encouraging that the Twins placed Chalmers on the 40-man roster after the season, and he made the team’s 60-man player pool.

“It’s electric. You notice his velocity, but his curve just dives into the dirt—a great pitch,” Falvey said. “There’s more work to be done in terms of strikes, but in our minds, he had to be protected.”

That’s basically the story with Chalmers, and is why you LOVE to have him in your farm system, but don’t necessarily want him on your 40-man roster. Big-league-caliber stuff, absurdly high strikeout rates in the minors … and even more absurd control issues that made him available to you. Now the Cubs get a chance to go to work and see what they can do.

Note, by the way, that Chalmers’ stuff is considered so good that, despite his issues and the surgery, he was still ranked the Twins’ 24th best prospect earlier this year by BA, though he was just outside the top 39 at FanGraphs.

A little more scouting from BA when Chalmers was in the AFL:

Chalmers has been working with three pitches—fastball, curveball, changeup—during his time in the Arizona Fall League. Both his fastball and breaking ball grade as well above-average pitches, with his mid-90s fastball drawing plenty of swings and misses, as evidenced by his 25 strikeouts in 17.2 AFL innings. An American League scout said that Chalmers’ curveball may be the best in the league, but that he struggles with pitch selection. Chalmers will also need to improve his command to avoid an eventual move to the bullpen, according to the scout.

Now, then, there is one consideration when you claim and outright a guy successfully: it lines him up to be a free agent after the season. So the Cubs will still ultimately have to make a decision on Chalmers – they can add him to the 40-man at the end of the year if his development merits it, or, if not that, then they get the first crack at re-upping him on a minor league deal. He would be Rule 5-eligible in the latter case, but it seems unlikely that he would develop enough for a team to want to grab him for their 26-man roster, but not enough for the Cubs to want to protect him on their 40-man roster.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

Bad Batted Ball Luck Becoming Extreme, .500 Feeling, Meet the Mets, Arias, and Other Cubs Bullets

Very early game today (12:10pm CT), so be ready. We'll dig into the particulars of Shōta Imanaga's rough night later today, but it definitely stings to see the Cubs lose a game started by Imanaga when they manage to score...

Enhanced Box Score: Brewers 10, Cubs 6 – May 29, 2024

Why did it have to be the Brewers that were the first team to blow him up? It yields an especially sickening feeling. Shōta Imanaga was not sharp (for the first time in his MLB introduction), and the Brewers did...

Cade Horton Leaves His I-Cubs Start With the Athletic Trainer (UPDATE)

[ankin_law] When it's the organization's best pitching prospect - one of the best overall in the sport - and he's at Triple-A, knocking on the door of the big leagues, it is especially difficult not to freak out about any...

Ian Happ’s Hot Streak Continues with Another Blast

We have seen the streakiness with Ian Happ before, and although the production by the end of the year is pretty darn consistent, getting there is a roller coaster. Which means you have to enjoy the good parts as much...

Pre-Gamin’: Cubs at Brewers (6:40 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — Although the Cubs wound up scoring six runs last night, it took then 10 innings to get there, having scored just one run in regulation. They also struck out 14(!) times overall, so I don't think they're...

Jed Hoyer Speaks: Offense, Offense, Offense, Offense

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer headed up to Milwaukee this week to be with the team and spoke with the media. You can see his comments here, here, here, and here, among other places, and also this...

MLBits: Negro League Stats Join MLB Record Books, From Waiver Claim to Record Holder, More

Major League Baseball has finally decided to acknowledge and incorporate Negro Leagues statistics into its records, more than 77 years after Jackie Robinson made history by breaking baseball’s color barrier. More on that decision in today's MLB Notes. MLB Has...

Father-Daughter Dance? Nah … How About a Game of Catch to ‘Go Cubs Go!’

I do not have a daughter. But if I ever do - and if she wants to do this on her wedding day - I will absolutely be here for it. I mean, how many more times can we listen...

Jordan Wicks’ Latest Rehab Start, the Plan Going Forward, and the Impact on Ben Brown

[ankin_law] Although Ben Brown's incredible performance (and general awesomeness) makes this conversation a tiny bit trickier, I don't want to lose sight of how important it is to get Jordan Wicks back in the Chicago Cubs rotation. Not only did...

Ben Brown’s Incredible Night and Incredible Run of Outings

Ben Brown's Major League debut was not successful in any way that you could tell by looking at the box score: 1.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 K. But if you were watching that game against the...

Latest News

Astros vs. Mariners Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Seattle Mariners (31-26) will vie for their fifth straight victory when they host the Houston Astros (24-32) on Thursday at 4:10 PM ET on SCHN. The Astros are listed as -110 favorites to stop the streak, while the Mariners...

Bad Batted Ball Luck Becoming Extreme, .500 Feeling, Meet the Mets, Arias, and Other Cubs Bullets

Very early game today (12:10pm CT), so be ready. We'll dig into the particulars of Shōta Imanaga's rough night later today, but it definitely stings to see the Cubs lose a game started by Imanaga when they manage to score...

Astros vs. Mariners Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Seattle Mariners (31-26) enter a contest against the Houston Astros (24-32) on Thursday following a four-game winning streak. The game is set to start at 4:10 PM ET at T-Mobile Park.This contest's pitching matchup is set, as the Astros...

NHL Playoffs Anytime Goalscorer Bets and Odds Today – May 30

There is only the one Stanley Cup Playoffs Semifinals game on the schedule Thursday, and anytime goal-scorer odds for players from each squad are listed in this article.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Today's Top Anytime Goal OddsSam Reinhart (Panthers) +130 to...

Brewers vs. Cubs Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Milwaukee Brewers (32-23) host the Chicago Cubs (28-28). The contest at American Family Field begins at 1:10 PM ET on Thursday.The Brewers will call on Colin Rea (4-2) against the Cubs and Jameson Taillon (3-2).Brewers vs. Cubs Pitcher Matchup...

Rays vs. Athletics Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Tampa Bay Rays (27-29) have a home game at Tropicana Field against the Oakland Athletics (23-34) at 1:10 PM ET on Thursday.This contest's pitching matchup is set, as the Rays will send Shawn Armstrong (1-1) to the mound, while...

Twins vs. Royals Probable Starting Pitchers – May 30

The Minnesota Twins (30-25) host the Kansas City Royals (35-22) for a home game at Target Field on Thursday. First pitch is at 1:10 PM ET.This contest's pitching matchup is set, as the Twins will send Chris Paddack (4-2) to...

Sky vs Sparks Prediction: Picks, Live Odds & Moneyline – May 30

The Chicago Sky (2-3) battle the Los Angeles Sparks (2-4) on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 8:00 PM ET. The matchup airs on MARQ and SportsNet LA.Sky vs. Sparks Prediction & OddsFavorite: Sky (-4.5)Total: 163.5Sky Moneyline: -185Sparks Moneyline: +154Spread Prediction:...

Brewers vs. Cubs Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Milwaukee Brewers (32-23) are set to take on the Chicago Cubs (28-28) Thursday at 1:10 PM ET, airing on BSWI. The Brewers are listed as -121 favorites by oddsmakers, while the underdog Cubs have +102 odds for the contest.Colin...

Rays vs. Athletics Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Tampa Bay Rays (27-29) are -146 favorites to take Game 3 of th series from the Oakland Athletics (23-34) Thursday at 1:10 PM ET. The teams enter the matchup with the series record tied, and the underdog Athletics are...

more cubs news