Mat Latos

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Mat Latos
Mat Latos San Diego Padres.jpg
Latos with the San Diego Padres
Cincinnati Reds – No. 55
Pitcher
Born: (1987-12-09) December 9, 1987 (age 26)
Alexandria, Virginia
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
July 19, 2009 for the San Diego Padres
Career statistics
(through June 14, 2014)
Win–loss record 55–40
Earned run average 3.32
Strikeouts 789
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Mathew Adam Latos (/ˈlts/ 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.

Early life[edit]

Latos is an only child.[1] He is originally from Alexandria, Virginia.[2] 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.[3]

High school and college[edit]

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 23 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.[4]

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).[4] He was an honorable mention by the Florida Sports Writers Association for the All-State team.[5] As a senior, Latos had a 7–3 record with 110 strikeouts and a 0.64 ERA in 69 23 innings pitched.[6] He appeared in the Broward County Athletics Association All-Star Game,[7] and was named South Florida Sun-Sentinel's player of the year.[8]

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.[4] 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.[1]

After the draft, Latos demanded a $3 million signing bonus from the Padres.[9] 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.[1] Latos had a 10–3 win–loss record and a 2.03 ERA.[9] 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.[1][10]

Professional career[edit]

Minor leagues[edit]

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.[11] In 2008, Latos started the season with the Fort Wayne Wizards of the Class A Midwest League,[9] but missed playing time during the season due to abdominal and shoulder injuries.[12]

The Padres invited Latos to spring training in 2009,[13] 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.[14] 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.[13] Latos was selected to play in the 2009 All-Star Futures Game,[11] and threw one scoreless inning.[15]

San Diego Padres[edit]

The Padres promoted Latos to make his major league debut on July 19, 2009, against the Colorado Rockies.[13][16] In his major league debut, Latos pitched four innings, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out four, while throwing 75 pitches.[17] He recorded his first major league win on July 24.[18] Latos became the first pitcher in Padres history to win four of his first five career starts.[19] Latos made ten starts for the Padres in 2009,[20] pitching to a 4–5 record and a 4.68 ERA.[11] Latos irritated his veteran teammates with his "know-it-all" and abrasive personality.[3]

Latos on July 21, 2009

Latos changed his attitude by the 2010 season, and became willing to take advice from his teammates.[3] 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).[21] 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.[22] 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 23 innings pitched. He placed eighth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award.[20]

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 23 innings for the season were 66 23 more than he pitched in 2009.[20][23]

Latos started 2011 on the disabled list due to a spring training shoulder injury.[23] 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.[24] Latos had a no-decision in his next start after the bullpen blew a save opportunity, preventing him from earning a win.[25] 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.[26] He ended the 2011 season with a 9–14 record and a 3.47 ERA.[27]

Cincinnati Reds[edit]

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.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30]

The Reds signed Latos to a two-year contract worth $11.5 million for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.[31] Latos had a 21-game streak without a loss, extending from August 2012 to June 2013.[32] He finished the 2013 season with a 14–7 win–loss record and a 3.16 ERA in 210 23 innings pitched.[33] 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.[34] 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.[33][35] The Reds lost the game, ending their season.[36]

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.[37] His knee had not fully recovered in time for Opening Day of the 2014 season,[38] which he started on the disabled list.[39] He began a rehabilitation assignment with the Louisville Bats of the Class AAA International League on May 26,[40][41] and made his 2014 season debut with the Reds on June 14.[42]

Pitching style[edit]

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.[43] The 42% whiff rate on his slider is one of the best among major league starters.[44]

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.[45] 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.[46]

Personal[edit]

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.[47] Mat and Dallas participated in the NOH8 Campaign in 2013.[48] The couple own a cat, named Cat Latos.[49][50] They purchased a home in Indian Hill, Ohio, in 2013.[51]

Latos honors his grandfather by writing his initials on the pitching mound and with a tattoo of his grandfather's initials.[3] He enjoys drawing, especially airbrushing, and stated a desire to work on tattoos.[4] Latos has many tattoos, and was described by Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune as "the righthanded tattoo canvas."[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Henson, Steve (September 11, 2010). "Latos belongs in the NL Cy Young discussion". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Latos, Rodriguez help Padres end five-game skid". USA Today. July 25, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gardner, David (August 8, 2010). "Hard lessons led to Latos' breakout season". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Mahoney, Jon (June 5, 2006). "Fla. ace Mat Latos has mastered the craft of pitching". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Gorten, Steve (June 17, 2005). "Six Players Named 1st Team All-state". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ Luciano, Joe (May 31, 2006). "Mat Latos: Creek Ace Completes Four-year Career Spectacularly. The Amateur Draft Awaits". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ "If You Go". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. October 29, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ Brousseau, Dave (June 7, 2006). "Colorado Snags Douglas Of Christensen". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c West, Nick (April 24, 2008). "Wizards ‘ain't got that swing': Talented Padres pitching prospect didn't get assistance". Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Hicklin, Stacy (June 8, 2007). "Local players wait for call". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Paskal, Eddie (April 24, 2013). "Latos Going Strong Long After Eugene". MiLB.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ Sickels, John (February 3, 2010). "Not a Rookie: Mat Latos". Minor League Ball. Vox Media. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c "Padres select RHP Mat Latos; designate RHP Josh Banks for assignment" (Press release). Major League Baseball. July 18, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Burgin, Sandy (July 18, 2009). "Latos excited for Major League debut: San Diego (37–54) vs. Colorado (49–42), 1:05 p.m. PT". MLB.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  15. ^ Brock, Corey (May 24, 2013). "Latos will make Sunday's start for Padres". MLB.com. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ Brock, Corey (July 18, 2009). "Latos will make Sunday's start for Padres". MLB.com. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  17. ^ Burgin, Sandy (July 19, 2009). "Latos' big league debut spoiled by Rox: Righty allows just three hits; Lobaton notches first hit in loss". MLB.com. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Latos, Rodriguez help Padres end five–game skid". USA Today. Associated Press. July 25, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ Fallstrom, R.B. (August 15, 2009). "Cardinals whip Padres 9–2 behind Wainwright". USA Today. Retrieved May 16, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c "Mat Latos poised to repeat 2010's campaign despite lack of run support". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. March 22, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  21. ^ Feeney, Darren (July 7, 2010). "Padres pitchers among most notable All-Star afterthoughts". KFMB. San Diego, California. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Mat Latos K's 10 in return from flu as Padres maintain lead in NL West". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 7, 2010. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b Norcross, Don (April 26, 2011). "Latos fighting to right slow start". The San Diego Union–Tribune. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. 
  24. ^ Wilson, Bernie (April 27, 2011). "Padres ace Mat Latos loses 9th straight start". yahoo.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. 
  25. ^ Center, Bill (May 3, 2011). "Padres battle back to grab win from Pirates on Johnson’s blast". The San Diego Union–Tribune. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. 
  26. ^ Norcross, Don (May 15, 2011). "Latos stops winless streak in Denver". The San Diego Union–Tribune. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Reds relying on newcomer Mat Latos to be ace". USA Today. March 18, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Reds acquire Latos in five-player deal". Fox Sports. December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds named National League Player of the Week". MLB.com (Press release). Major League Baseball. May 24, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  30. ^ McCalvy, Adam (May 24, 2013). "Latos takes the blame in series-ending loss". MLB.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  31. ^ Danneman, Joe (February 12, 2013). "Cincinnati reds and Mat Latos agree on contract". NBC12.com. Richmond, Virginia. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Pirates end Mat Latos' 21-game streak without a loss, beat Reds 4–0". Star Tribune. June 18, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b Sheldon, Mark (May 24, 2013). "Latos dealing with bone spur in right elbow". MLB.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  34. ^ Fay, John (September 23, 2013). "Latos says he’s been pitching with an abdominal strain since June 30". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  35. ^ Wagner, James (October 1, 2013). "Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds in NL wild-card game". Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  36. ^ Verducci, Tom (August 15, 2012). "Reds didn't choke, Pirates and Liriano were just better". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Mat Latos undergoes knee surgery". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 14, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Cincinnati Reds expect Mat Latos (knee) won't be ready for start of season - ESPN". Espn.go.com. March 21, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Reds place left-handers Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall, right-hander Mat Latos and catcher Devin Mesoraco on 15-day disabled list | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. March 30, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Latos to start rehab Sunday". Cincinnati.com. May 23, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  41. ^ Fox Sports (May 25, 2013). "Latos sharp in Louisville rehab start | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  42. ^ Bauman, Mike (June 15, 2014). "Latos' return signals better days ahead for Reds: Despite loss to Brewers, solid performance an indicator of positive direction". MLB.com. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool – Player Card: Mat Latos". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  44. ^ "PitchFX Leaderboards". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  45. ^ Sullivan, Jeff (July 13, 2012). "Mat Latos And Deliveries". Baseball Nation. SBNation.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Mat Latos Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  47. ^ a b Erardi, John (January 27, 2012). "Five questions with ... Dallas Latos". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  48. ^ "MLB's Matt Cain, Mat Latos, Yovani Gallardo Join Gay Marriage Group NOH8 Campaign". On Top Magazine. June 19, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  49. ^ Ley, Tom (September 11, 2012). "Mat Latos Has A Cat And Its Name Is Cat Latos". Deadspin.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  50. ^ "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. 
  51. ^ "Reds pitcher Mat Latos plants roots in Cincinnati". Cincinnati Business Courier. Bizjournals.com. July 9, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]