Killebrew Award Winner: David Hurlbut (Chattanooga)
Image courtesy of Chattanooga Lookouts (at Camp Signal, David Hurlbut in center, Jake Reed on the right)David Hurlbut has been in the Twins organization for a long time, since he signed in 2011 as the team’s 28th round pick in the 2011 draft out of Cal State-Fullerton. The team actually drafted him two years earlier out of junior college. Hurlbut has moved up the Twins ladder slowly, but consistently. He spent a year-and-a-half in the Midwest League and then again in the Florida State League. He pitched out of the bullpen and found much more success as a starter. In 2013, he posted a 2.82 ERA. In 2014, he posted a 2.20 ERA. In 2015 he went 11-7 with a 3.18 ERA, mostly in Chattanooga (though he made one start in Ft. Myers and one start in Rochester).
Hurlbut returned to the Lookouts for the 2016 season. He went 7-7 with a 3.51 ERA. He moved up to Rochester for five late-season starts.
Of his season, he said, “I feel that my season went well. I'm always working on perfecting my craft with the tools I have been given. I'm not satisfied by any means, but I take pride in knowing that I step on the pitcher's mound ready to work every day. I have already started working towards next season, and plan to come into spring training ready to go!”
But Hurlbut was also valuable throughout the season in the community of Chattanooga. He was excited to learn he had been named the Lookouts recipient of the Killebrew Award.
Hurlbut said, ““The award is important to me, but not as important the actual community service. It feels good to be recognized.”
He stayed busy on the days he didn’t pitch. He frequently was involved in team events around the Chattanooga area. “We were able to go children's hospitals and special-needs schools to go spend time with kids. We did our best to put a smile on their faces, and gave out souvenirs to as many kids as we could. The Lookouts did a good job supporting the volunteers with whatever we needed to make sure we could try and make their day a little bit better.”
According to Dan Kopf, the Lookouts Public & Media Relations Manager, the Lookouts did many activities around the community throughout the season. “This year the Lookouts did a variety of events in the community including hospital visits, trips to schools and a visit to a camp for children and adults with disabilities. David participated in several of our trips including our visit to the Erlanger's Children Hospital and the trip to Camp Signal.”
It was at Camp Signal where Hurlbut made a strong a strong impression on many, including Kopf.
“Along with Looie the Lookouts’ mascot and fellow Lookouts players Jake Reed and Ryan Walker, David helped make the Camp Signal appearance one of the best we've had. During that time, David met one of the campers named Ben who loved playing the guitar. Afterwards, the players visited Ben who played some songs on his guitar. Ben sounded great, but the guitar was missing a string. After we left, David went to purchase a brand new guitar for Ben and the camp.”
Hurlbut spent some time in Venezuela last winter. He made four starts and went 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA (1 earned run in 21 innings). This winter, he is staying home to focus on getting into shape for next season.
He will continue to drive toward his goal of pitching in the big leagues. He also will continue to be a leader in the communities in which he lives and works.
“I will continue to volunteer as often as I can, as many of my teammates will do as well. We, as an organization and team, have the ability to go out into the communities we play in and give back. I think it is important to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to help people in any way we can.”