Former MU athlete heating up in MLB

Michael Boylan, Sports editor

Mercyhurst graduate and Major League Baseball relief pitcher Dan Altavilla has been having a successful season in the majors this year.

The  relief  pitcher  is  currently  in  his  fifth  year  of  his  professional  baseball  career,  playing  the  majority  of  his  time with the Seattle Mariners.

Altavilla  is  the  highest  draft  pick  in  Mercyhurst  pro-gram history, going 141st overall in the fifth round of the 2014 draft to the Mariners. The pitcher was called up to the majors in 2016.

Altavilla  has  made  14  appearances  so  far  this  season,  totaling  16  strikeouts  across  12.2  innings  of  work.  The  pitcher also made his first career save on Aug. 26 against the Los Angeles Angels.

On Aug. 30 of 2020 Altavilla was traded to the Padres, a team currently in contention for the playoffs. Altavilla was traded alongside catcher Austin Nola and relief  pitcher  Austin  Adams.  The  Mariners,  in  return,  received  catcher  Luis  Torrens,  infielder  Ty  France,  out-fielder Taylor Trammel and right-handed pitcher Andres Muñoz.

Altavilla  made  his  Padres  debut  on  Sept.  3,  putting  on a stellar performance against the Los Angeles Angels. Pitching  a  scoreless  relief  inning,  Altavilla  struck  out  both Mike Trout and Justin Upton.

Prior  to  being  drafted,  Altavilla  had  a  very  successful  collegiate career with Mercyhurst.

Mercyhurst  Baseball  coach  Joe  Spano  had  the  opportunity to coach Altavilla and spoke to the work ethic of his former player.

“It’s truly an amazing feeling to see one of our former players succeed in the major leagues. Most importantly, it’s great to see someone work so hard and be rewarded for their hard work.” Coach Spano said.

In  his  2014  season  with  Mercyhurst,  Altavilla  won  nearly every major pitching award in college baseball, in-cluding being named Division II National Pitcher of the Year by the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Altavil-la finished the year with a 1.23 ERA. The pitcher started in all 12 of his appearances, achieving an impressive 9-1 record.

The  Mercyhurst  alum  also  had  a  strong  focus  on  academics, graduating with a degree in Sports Medicine.

“Not  only  was  he  the  national  pitcher  of  the  year  at  Mercyhurst, but he was a national scholar athlete,” said Coach Spano.

With the  Padres  in  contention  for  a  playoff  spot  this  year, Altavilla has the possibility of making his first ever post-season appearance during this 2020 season.

Altavilla has used his platform on social media to not only  spread  the  joy  of  baseball,  but  also  share  support  surrounding  social  justice  issues  he  values.  The  relief  pitcher has also has a reputation for his commitment to making sure fans of the sport get the most of their experience at the ballpark.

“He is the first person to volunteer his time and the last person to leave the stadium because he wants to make sure every fan has an autograph. We are extremely proud of Dan and all of his accomplishments. The greatest re-ward for any coach or teacher is seeing the success of your former students so I feel blessed to have coached him and to call him my friend,” Coach Spano said.