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.