(Sports Town is featuring updates on WPIAL baseball players who are currently playing in the major or minor leagues. The posts were compiled by veteran baseball writer John Perrotto. We will feature two players every day.)
Dan Altavilla does not have the classic right-hander pitcher's build at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds.
However, the Elizabeth Forward High School graduate had such a great career at Mercyhurst College that the Seattle Mariners, whose general manager has Western Pennsylvania roots, couldn't help but notice.
The Mariners drafted Altavilla in the fifth round last month, signed him for $250,000 and assigned him to their short season Everett farm club in the Northwest League. The 21-year-old has started three games and is 0-0 with a 5.79 ERA.
Altavilla had a good feeling about being drafted by the Mariners and GM Jack Zduriencik, who is a New Castle native. They selected Altavilla even after they originally planned to draft him in the third round until he declined to meet take their bonus offer.
"I was really proud of that organization for just sticking with me and being loyal to me, even after I passed them up in the third round," Altavilla said. "I was so excited when I heard my name being called. It's such a proud day for not only myself, but my friends, my family and Mercyhurst baseball."
Altavilla won a slew of awards this year at Mercyhurst when he went 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 12 starts. Tops among them was the inaugural Brett Tomko Award, which goes to the top pitcher in NCAA Division II.
In 2011, Altavilla was the Post-Gazette's Player of the Year following his senior season at Elizabeth Forward. However, he was not drafted that year.