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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Sidney Crosby

10/2011 Player Profile: Mat Latos

October 31st 2011 15:31
To celebrate Halloween, I have another exclusive Player Profile/Scouting Report of a current MLB player. Appropriately, for the holiday, my shuffled song is currently "Enter Sandman". It would have been plain freaky if I was planning a piece about Mariano Rivera, but I have an equally interesting piece written about a young pitcher on the Padres.

Last season, Mat Latos was a 4 WAR pitcher who was getting a ton of recognition as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His fastball was sizzling as his slider electrifying. This season, his fastball is still relatively effective but is considerably worse. Last season, he was just mowing down hitters. All of his pitches have been worse this season, especially his curveball. Each of his pitches have also been much slower this year, and it is obviously a concern when a pitcher's fastball is ticks below what it was the previous season.

Although his BABIP rose this year, that is negated by a slight decrease in walk rate as well as a decrease in HR/FB ratio. Not only that, but his peripherals were worse in 2011 (9.21 K/9 to 8.57 K/9 and 2.44 BB/9 to 2.87 BB/9). I don't think he has been tired, and I actually think he was struggling from the lingering effects of an injury at the beginning. His FIP got much better as the season wore on. In fact, if you took out the first month, Latos was just as good this year as he was last year in terms of FIP.

Arguably the best stat out there for pitchers, Latos's FIP rose by only 0.16 this season. His WAR went down to 3.2, but he still pitched well this season and should continue to do so. I don't have any concerns for Latos's pitcher at this point, and I think he can continue to do well. While he was certainly nowhere near his 2010 form, Latos wasn't exactly awful this season either.

Watch for a bounce back year
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