Who Is The Mariners Young Reliever Dan Altavilla?
One of the biggest reasons the Mariners came so close to the playoffs last season was because of the bullpen. The ‘pen combined for a 2.50 ERA in September, including multiple scoreless appearances by Evan Scribner(11) and Steve Cishek(12). Nick Vincent also had a 2.92 ERA in 12 games and Edwin Diaz locked down 7 saves. One pitcher who was a big part of the success was the late-August call-up, Dan Altavilla.
The Mercyhurst College alumni was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Mariners.
Before getting called up from AA Jackson, Altavilla had a sub-2 ERA in 43 games, striking out 65 batters. He saved 16 games as a closer for the Generals.
It was easy to see why he was with the Mariners by the end of the season, and his transition to the big league bullpen went fairly smooth.
He was lockdown pitcher for the Mariners in the last few months of the season, not allowing an earned run in September or October.
In his 15 major league appearances, he threw 12.1 innings ending with a 0.73 ERA while surrendering 11 hits and striking out 10. He only walked 1 batter; opposing batters hit .244 against him.
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In his major league debut, Altavilla sailed through a 1-2-3 8th inning against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
After getting weak groundouts from Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, he struck out Todd Frazier on a slider. He also touched 100mph on the radar gun.
A fastball in the upper 90’s often touching the 100-mark and a great slider is hard to find.
To have that at the back of the bullpen before Diaz enters the game and is a priceless commodity to have, and when I asked the Mariners broadcaster, Dave Sims, he agreed:
"Great Fastball. Fearless… He can be a dependable eighth inning set-up guy for Edwin Diaz."
Even though he has very little experience at the major league level, a 0.73 ERA is definitely something that catches eyes around the league.
If he continues his spring training the way he ended 2016, Dan can call that eighth inning spot his on Opening Day. With his wipeout slider, the sky is the limit for the 24-year-old flamethrower.
Next: Yovani Gallardo, The Mariners New Project
With his wipeout slider and a menacing fastball, the sky’s the limit for the 24-year-old flamethrower.