Miami Marlins: Who is the Real Mat Latos?

charlieclarke
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Miami’s one-year, 9.4 million dollar rental showed his value in an outstanding performance in Phoenix last night.

However, in a season full of disappointments, Mat Latos has proven to be one of them. Despite his recent stretch of solid pitching, the righty’s ERA still hovers around 4.50. Latos also possesses just a 1.3 WAR, well below his career average. Prior to Tuesday’s outing, Mat Latos hadn’t pitched a scoreless start all year.

What Miami saw in Latos: The Marlins saw an underrated pitching piece to provide value to a well-rounded starting rotation. Based off of his track record, Miami must have viewed Latos as a high-end number two starter.

Latos in San Diego

[table id=80 /]

This table displays Mat Latos’ two full seasons with the Padres, the first two of his career. In San Diego, Mat Latos was the clear number one in the Padres’ rotation, with the potential to become one of baseball’s aces. Advanced metrics show that Latos was the slightest bit lucky in his first year and relatively unlucky in his second.

Latos in Cincinnati

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Latos continued his success in three seasons with the Reds. 2012 proved to be a year of shared duties with the spotlighted Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati’s rotation, where Latos pitched as one of the best number two starters in the game. He became Cincy’s ace in 2013, but without establishing himself as one of the MLB’s elite pitchers. 2014 saw a pair of DL stints for Latos, whose stock dropped as a result.

What Miami has received from Latos: Clearly, Mat Latos has not been remotely as effective as the Marlins expected. He began the year with an incredibly rough start, allowing seven earned runs his first 0.2 innings as a Marlin, the shortest outing of his career. And while he hasn’t posted those types of numbers again, he has been far from the Latos we’ve seen in the past.

Who’s the real Mat Latos? The real Mat Latos displays a diverse, six pitch arsenal. He primarily uses two fastballs (Four-seamer and Sinker), but mixes in a variety of off-speed pitches (Slider, Curve, Splitter, and Change). His 6’6 stature creates downward movement on pitches and poses as a possible intimidation factor to hitters. To begin 2015 however, Latos proved to be anything but intimidating. Let’s compare his current campaign with his average full season.

[table id=82 /]

Mat Latos will fall far short of his average win total, innings pitched total, and WAR total. The stat which pops out is his current FIP, which stands just .04 points higher than the FIP in his average full season. Advanced metrics suggest that Latos has been incredibly unlucky, as opposed to fellow rotation member Dan Haren.

Judging by his statistics, the 27-year old right hander could still pose as that number two starter he has been during parts of his career. He may possibly just need a change of scenery.

Next: What if the Marlins went after Puig?

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