Latos with the San Diego Padres
|Cincinnati Reds – No. 55|
December 9, 1987 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|July 19, 2009 for the San Diego Padres|
(through June 14, 2014)
|Earned run average||3.32|
|Career highlights and awards|
Mathew Adam Latos (// LAY-tohs; born December 9, 1987) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has pitched for Cincinnati since the 2012 season. He previously played in MLB for the San Diego Padres from 2009 through 2011.
Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Latos' family moved to Florida when he was young. He played baseball at Coconut Creek High School, where he became one of the best high school players in the state. Highly regarded for his talent before the 2006 MLB Draft, he fell to the 11th round due to questions about his maturity. After pitching at Broward College for a season, the San Diego Padres signed him for a $1.25 million bonus. He debuted for the Padres in 2009, and established himself in their starting rotation. The Reds traded four players, including three prospects, to acquire Latos before the 2011 season.
At 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m), Latos throws from a high release point. He throws a four-seam fastball (91 to 96 miles per hour (146 to 154 km/h)), a two-seam fastball (90 to 94 miles per hour (145 to 151 km/h)), a slider (84 to 87 miles per hour (135 to 140 km/h)), a curveball (78 to 82 miles per hour (126 to 132 km/h)), and a changeup (82 to 85 miles per hour (132 to 137 km/h)). He is among the best strikeout pitchers in baseball, although through his first 10 starts in 2014 he's struck out only 5.7 batters per nine innings, a very mediocre total.
Latos is an only child. He is originally from Alexandria, Virginia. When Latos was 12 years old, his grandfather insisted that he play in a baseball tournament rather than stay at his bedside the day he died.
High school and college
Latos attended Coconut Creek High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. He was named the ace of the baseball team's starting rotation as a freshman. That year, he pitched to a 3–4 win–loss record and a 3.68 earned run average (ERA), with 41 strikeouts and 26 walks in 39 2⁄3 innings pitched. His fastball reached 88 to 89 miles per hour (142–143 km/h). He improved his fastball command and velocity as a sophomore, reaching 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) and his statistics improved to a 5–2 record, a 1.23 ERA, 89 strikeouts, and 21 walks in 68 innings.
Heading into his junior year, Latos improved his training regimen and diet. He pitched to a 7–4 record with a 0.76 ERA as a junior with 128 strikeouts and 17 walks in 83 innings. Eleven of his thirteen starts were complete games. Coconut Creek reached the regional quarterfinals, and Latos was named an Aflac All-American and All-Broward County by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald. By his senior year, Latos could throw his fastball as high as 98 miles per hour (158 km/h). He was an honorable mention by the Florida Sports Writers Association for the All-State team. As a senior, Latos had a 7–3 record with 110 strikeouts and a 0.64 ERA in 69 2⁄3 innings pitched. He appeared in the Broward County Athletics Association All-Star Game, and was named South Florida Sun-Sentinel's player of the year.
Latos committed to attend the University of Oklahoma to play college baseball for the Oklahoma Sooners baseball team. However, many scouts expected Latos to be a first-round pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. SchoolSports.com ranked Latos the fifth best high school pitcher available in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. The San Diego Padres selected Latos in the 11th round (333rd overall). He fell in the draft since his personality made him difficult to handle in high school, as he was considered immature, and often yelled at teammates who made errors and reacted poorly when the umpire made a call he disagreed with.
After the draft, Latos demanded a $3 million signing bonus from the Padres. When the Padres did not meet his demands, Latos enrolled at Broward College, a junior college, to pitch for their baseball team. As the Padres retained the right to sign Latos until the start of the 2007 MLB Draft, the Padres sent scout Joe Bochy to observe every start Latos made. Latos had a 10–3 win–loss record and a 2.03 ERA. Feeling that Latos was worth the gamble, the Padres paid Latos $1.25 million a few days before he would have re-entered the draft in 2007.
Latos started his professional career in minor league baseball with the Eugene Emeralds, the Padres' Class A-Short Season affiliate in the Northwest League, in 2007. Pitching in 16 games for Eugene, Latos had a 1–4 record and a 3.83 ERA. In 2008, Latos started the season with the Fort Wayne Wizards of the Class A Midwest League, but missed playing time during the season due to abdominal and shoulder injuries.
The Padres invited Latos to spring training in 2009, but he suffered a minor ankle sprain. He then started the season in Fort Wayne, and allowed only one run in four starts. He was then promoted to the San Antonio Missions of the Class AA Texas League. At San Antonio, Latos had a 5–1 win–loss record, and threw five perfect innings in his last start for San Antonio on July 9. Between Fort Wayne and San Antonio, Latos had an 8–1 record, a 1.38 ERA, 73 strikeouts, and a .168 batting average against (BAA). The Padres named Latos their Padres Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. Latos was selected to play in the 2009 All-Star Futures Game, and threw one scoreless inning.
San Diego Padres
The Padres promoted Latos to make his major league debut on July 19, 2009, against the Colorado Rockies. In his major league debut, Latos pitched four innings, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out four, while throwing 75 pitches. He recorded his first major league win on July 24. Latos became the first pitcher in Padres history to win four of his first five career starts. Latos made ten starts for the Padres in 2009, pitching to a 4–5 record and a 4.68 ERA. Latos irritated his veteran teammates with his "know-it-all" and abrasive personality.
Latos changed his attitude by the 2010 season, and became willing to take advice from his teammates. On May 13, 2010, Latos threw a complete game shutout against the division foe San Francisco Giants. The only hit he allowed was an infield single. The Padres won the game 1–0. After posting a 5.47 ERA through May 1, Latos lowered his ERA down to 2.45 right before the All Star Break, also leading the league in BAA and WHIP (.193 and 0.97 respectively). On September 7, 2010, Latos set a major league record with a seven–inning, 10–strikeout performance in a win against the Dodgers. The victory was Latos' 15th consecutive start logging at least five innings and allowing two or fewer earned runs, the longest streak in modern baseball history (since 1900) according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Previously the mark had been set by Greg Maddux (1993–94) and Mike Scott (1986), who had such streaks lasting 14 starts. On the season, Latos pitched to a 14–10 win–loss record in 31 games started, with a 2.92 (ERA), 1.08 walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP), and 189 strikeouts in 184 2⁄3 innings pitched. He placed eighth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award.
However, Latos lost his last five starts of the 2010 season, culminating with a 3–0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on October 3 that, combined with an Atlanta Braves win, eliminated the Padres from playoff contention. The San Diego Union–Tribune attributed his struggles at the end of the year to fatigue, as his 189 2⁄3 innings for the season were 66 2⁄3 more than he pitched in 2009.
Latos started 2011 on the disabled list due to a spring training shoulder injury. He lost his first four starts of the season, extending his losing streak to nine consecutive starts dating back to 2010. The streak tied the longest streak in Padres history, held by Andy Benes and Dennis Rasmussen. Latos had a no-decision in his next start after the bullpen blew a save opportunity, preventing him from earning a win. He lost another decision for a 10-game losing streak that was one less than the club record held by Gary Ross. Latos won on May 15 against the Colorado Rockies to end his losing streak. He ended the 2011 season with a 9–14 record and a 3.47 ERA.
After the 2011 season, the Cincinnati Reds were looking for another frontline starter to pair with Johnny Cueto in their starting rotation. On December 17, 2011, the Padres traded Latos to the Reds in exchange for prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger, along with veteran starting pitcher Edinson Volquez.
In the last week of June 2012, Latos pitched two complete games. He was named the National League Player of the Week for the week ending July 1. Latos finished the 2012 season with a 14–4 win–loss record a 3.48 ERA. The Reds reached the playoffs, and faced the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 National League Division Series (NLDS). On October 11, 2012, Latos gave up a grand slam to Buster Posey in a 6-run top of the fifth inning in the elimination game of the NLDS. Latos took the loss in this game, as the Reds were eliminated.
The Reds signed Latos to a two-year contract worth $11.5 million for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Latos had a 21-game streak without a loss, extending from August 2012 to June 2013. He finished the 2013 season with a 14–7 win–loss record and a 3.16 ERA in 210 2⁄3 innings pitched. Though he suffered an abdominal strain on June 30, he continued to pitch without missing any starts. He revealed the injury after a poor outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in September. The Reds reached the 2013 National League Wild Card Game, opposing Pittsburgh. Reds' manager Dusty Baker wanted to start Latos for that game, but a bone spur in his elbow prevented him from being available. Baker chose Cueto as his starter. The Reds lost the game, ending their season.
Latos had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow during the offseason. During spring training in 2014, Latos tore cartilage in his left knee, which was repaired with surgery. His knee had not fully recovered in time for Opening Day of the 2014 season, which he started on the disabled list. He began a rehabilitation assignment with the Louisville Bats of the Class AAA International League on May 26, and made his 2014 season debut with the Reds on June 14.
Latos throws five pitches. He throws a four-seam fastball (91 to 96 miles per hour (146 to 154 km/h)), a two-seam fastball (90 to 94 miles per hour (145 to 151 km/h)), a slider (84 to 87 miles per hour (135 to 140 km/h)), a curveball (78 to 82 miles per hour (126 to 132 km/h)), and a changeup (82 to 85 miles per hour (132 to 137 km/h)). He mostly relies on his four-seamer and slider against right-handed hitters while adding considerable variety against lefties. The 42% whiff rate on his slider is one of the best among major league starters.
Latos is 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and uses an over-the-top delivery. Latos has one of the highest delivery points in baseball. Latos has compiled good strikeout totals in his career as a starter, finishing in the NL's top 10 in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched rate twice.
Latos married in 2010. He and his wife, Dallas, met through her then-roommate and Mat's friend, a minor league baseball player, who were dating. Mat and Dallas participated in the NOH8 Campaign in 2013. The couple own a cat, named Cat Latos. They purchased a home in Indian Hill, Ohio, in 2013.
Latos honors his grandfather by writing his initials on the pitching mound and with a tattoo of his grandfather's initials. He enjoys drawing, especially airbrushing, and stated a desire to work on tattoos. Latos has many tattoos, and was described by Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune as "the righthanded tattoo canvas."
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- Erardi, John (January 27, 2012). "Five questions with ... Dallas Latos". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- "MLB's Matt Cain, Mat Latos, Yovani Gallardo Join Gay Marriage Group NOH8 Campaign". On Top Magazine. June 19, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Ley, Tom (September 11, 2012). "Mat Latos Has A Cat And Its Name Is Cat Latos". Deadspin.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "Mat Latos Owns Adorable Kitten Named ‘Cat Latos’ Which Has Already Spawned T-Shirts, Parody Twitter Account". NESN.com. October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "Reds pitcher Mat Latos plants roots in Cincinnati". Cincinnati Business Courier. Bizjournals.com. July 9, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
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