2011 Fantasy Baseball Profile: Is Mat Latos Underrated?

Feb 28, 2011


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Mat Latos has the 18th highest average draft position according to Mock Draft Central. He is coming off a 14-10 season where he posted a 2.92 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP while striking out 189 batters in 184-2/3 innings. His ERA was the 13th best in the league. His WHIP was 8th best. He ranked 19th in strikeouts. Those do not seem like the numbers of an 18th ranked pitcher, especially one that is just 23 and calls Petco Park home.
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Latos ripped through the San Diego Padres’ farm system, bypassing the Triple-A level along the way. He started 2009 going 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA and 0.51 WHIP for Single-A Fort Wayne. He had little problem at the Double-A level going 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP for the San Antonio Missions. When he jumped up to the Padres, he had some obvious growing pains going 4-5 with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. While he struggled in his cup of coffee with the Pads, he obviously didn’t beat himself up over it. He came back strong.
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There are a few concerns with Latos, which is why I have him ranked 14th among starting pitchers. For starters, the departure of Adrian Gonzalez will likely mean fewer runs for the Padres. Without ample run support, it could be hard for Latos to reach his win total of last year, let alone improve in that category.
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He also struggled down the stretch, going 0-5 with a 8.18 ERA in his last five starts. Up until that horrific finish, he was 14-5 with a 2.21 ERA. With a full season under his belt, I look for a stronger Latos. One that won’t fatigue at the end of the year. With his filthy stuff, he has top ten potential. If his meltdown scared off fantasy owners in your league, take this opportunity to draft one of the best young pitchers in the game.
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