February 20, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher David Hale (62) poses for a picture during photo day at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

David Hale, Major League Pitcher

Though he now plays for his hometown team, David Hale‘s route to the majors has been a slow and winding road that reached all the way to New Jersey.  On Thursday, the Atlanta Braves promoted 25-year-old David Hale of Marietta, GA to the major league club from AAA Gwinnett.  He was a third round selection, drafted by Atlanta in 2009 out of Princeton University – yes, there is now another major leaguer from the Ivy League (if you recall the TV trivia question from about a week ago).

Hale’s progression through the organization has been decidedly methodical:  exactly one level every year since being drafted.  This year, his AAA work has been the best yet:  3.22 ERA, averaging 6 K/9 innings and just under 3 walks over the course of almost 115 innings. He’s keeping the ball in the park (0.63 HR rate) and is stranding a good number of runners (75%).  The report is that he features a “heavy” fastball in the low-mid 90’s with a good slider.  For those who appreciate “athletes” as pitchers, Hale actually played Center Field while at Princeton – that’s something you don’t see every day.

TomahawkTake had Hale rated as our #16 prospect this year, and of those on the 40-man roster, he was the top-rated player available.  That roster has been wrung out, stretched, and manipulated in several ways lately as the Braves have been hunting for players to give the starting staff – well, pitchers and otherwise – some rest from injury this Summer.

Expect Hale to make a spot start somewhere along the way in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, he might have a bullpen role to get a few innings in.  A good showing should go a long way in getting him a shot at the rotation next Spring.  Regardless, we congratulate him on the promotion and on the year he had to earn it!

Tags: Atlanta Braves David Hale

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