This week in UNCW sports history: Chris Hatcher

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This week in UNCW sports history: Chris Hatcher

Collin Underwood, Staff Writer

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With spring training starting up at all levels of professional baseball, The Seahawk looks back on the career of the lone UNC Wilmington alum playing in Major League Baseball today.

Since 1960, UNCW has had 108 players be signed or drafted by an MLB team. Of those 108, 77 of them were draft picks. Only nine of those have ever made it to the big leagues, and of them, Chris Hatcher has arguably enjoyed the most successful career of them all.

During his time at UNCW, Hatcher was a three-year starter behind the plate from 2004-2006. His name is all over the record books at UNCW, as he’s listed in the top 30 of 12 different all-time records.

Some of those stats including a career .324 batting average, a .484 slugging percentage and 189 hits to go with his 127 runs scored. In his three years as a catcher, Hatcher lead the Seahawks to two CAA championships and three-straight 40-win seasons.

Hatcher was drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins as a catcher, his natural position. After he broke through to the majors in 2011, the Marlins sent him back to the minors to develop as a pitcher.

Less than a year later, Hatcher made is debut on the mound in a relief appearance for the club. Shortly after his 2014 campaign ended with the rebranded Miami Marlins, the club traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers utilized Hatcher in a way to spare him from the heavy usage the Marlins used him for in 2014. In Los Angeles, Hatcher saw his hits per nine innings pitched and his strikeout-to-walk ratio drop in two and a half seasons before being traded to the Oakland Athletics at last year’s trade deadline.

Hatcher has surprisingly found comfort pitching in the American League, as his earned run average and walks/hits per inning pitched (WHIP) both dropped to 3.52 and 1.30, respectively. In his seven-year career, Hatcher has notched a 9-15 record out of the bullpen with a 4.60 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 236 strikeouts in 229 innings pitched.

Hatcher reported to spring training, along with the other pitchers and catchers, on Feb. 13 for the Oakland A’s.