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!