Reds Finally Get Their Ace in Mat Latos

The Cincinnati Reds had an abundance of redundant prospects and a big need to upgrade their starting rotation, so their plan for this off-season was obvious to nearly everyone. They needed to combine a group of good young talents who were blocked from playing regularly and turn them into one high quality starting pitcher. After kicking the tires on nearly every available arm on the market, the Reds finally got their wish today, shipping a quartet of good young talents to San Diego in exchange for 24-year-old Mat Latos.

Let’s start with what the Reds are getting in Latos, who is probably the best fit for their team of any pitcher rumored to be available on the market this winter. During his first two years and change in the Majors, Latos has been one of the better pitchers in baseball. For comparison, here are the starters who have thrown at least 350 innings in the last two years and have posted strikeout rates between 23% and 25%.

Name Age IP BB% K% GB% BABIP HR/FB ERA- FIP- xFIP-
Cliff Lee 32 445.0 3.4% 24.0% 44.1% 0.289 7.5% 69 64 71
Felix Hernandez 25 483.1 7.0% 23.1% 52.0% 0.284 9.0% 72 78 77
Zack Greinke 27 391.2 6.1% 23.4% 46.5% 0.311 9.8% 101 79 78
Cole Hamels 27 424.2 6.2% 23.7% 48.9% 0.272 11.2% 74 85 80
Justin Verlander 28 475.1 6.8% 24.8% 40.6% 0.261 7.3% 68 72 81
Yovani Gallardo 25 392.1 8.0% 24.4% 44.9% 0.306 10.2% 95 86 83
Jon Lester 27 399.2 9.5% 24.5% 52.0% 0.288 10.2% 78 81 83
Mat Latos 23 379.0 7.2% 24.2% 43.7% 0.279 7.6% 90 86 86
Jered Weaver 28 460.0 6.0% 23.5% 34.2% 0.262 7.0% 67 77 87
Ubaldo Jimenez 27 410.0 9.9% 23.0% 48.0% 0.292 7.1% 87 79 92

That’s some pretty good company Latos has been keeping. There aren’t that many pitchers in the sport who can miss bats with the frequency that Latos has established while also pounding the strike zone with regularity. Guys who can live in the zone and still avoid contact are generally the best pitchers in the game. This is the one skillset you want in a pitcher more than any other.

In terms of pure upside, Latos is likely going to be the best pitcher to change teams this winter. His command of four pitches gives him the chance of being a true front-line starter, and he’s already shown he can dominate hitters from both sides of the plate, so he’s not a guy who can be neutralized through match-up advantages. So, why were the Padres willing to trade him?

Well, as with any young pitcher, Latos carries a decent amont of risk. The flameout rate for developing arms is still pretty high, and Latos has not established himself as a durable innings eater. In fact, Latos began the 2011 season on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis – never a great thing for a pitcher – and missed a few starts in 2010 after straining his side while holding in a sneeze. That’s not exactly the type of injury you expect to recur, but the fact that he’s only averaged about 3,000 pitchers per season the last two years does mean that he hasn’t yet shown that he can hold up under the types of workloads that contenders hope to get from their aces.

With the Reds gunning for a playoff spot in 2012, the restraints are going to have to come off their prized off-season acquisition, and they’ll be forced to ask him to increase his workload, both in terms of games pitched and how many pitches he throws – he’s only crossed the 110 pitch threshold in four of his 72 career starts – in those games. Can he hold up under the increased workload? The Reds have to hope so, but the unknown in this situation provides some risk that allowed Cincinnati to acquire Latos in the first place. Put simply, if he had already proven to be a workhorse capable of these kinds of performances, the Padres probably wouldn’t have traded him. So, the Reds get the upside of a #1 starter by accepting the risks regarding durability and how well Latos will perform outside of Petco Park.

As we talked about with Heath Bell earlier, there are certainly pitchers who you might want to be careful in taking out of San Diego, but honestly, Latos isn’t really one of those guys. For one, Latos hasn’t been given the Aaron Harang treatment, where the Padres rigged the schedule to maximize his starts in Petco. In his career, he’s actually thrown more innings on the road (244.1) than at home (185.1) and his underlying performances have been nearly identical. While this doesn’t mean that he hasn’t benefited from pitching in Petco, he’s not a guy who relies on HR prevention to succeed, and the ability to run a 3-1 strikeout to walk ratio travels well from one ballpark to another. Latos will likely see his HR rate rise a bit with the move to Great American Ballpark, but even with a slight uptick in home runs allowed, he’ll still profile as one of the better starters in the National League.

Latos has the potential to be exactly what the Reds need, and could improve their 2012 roster enough to push them back into position to be real contenders for the National League Central crown next year. Beyond just his short term value, the Reds retain control of his rights through 2015, so this is a move that offers both near term and long term rewards.

The cost was high – I like all four of the guys they gave up – but the reality was that the Reds had too many players for too few spots. They weren’t going to be able to receive value from both Yonder Alonso and Joey Votto or Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal, so packaging their excess depth with Volquez and Boxberger to get Latos made sense. If Latos does show that he can be a 220 inning ace going forward, they won’t regret this deal even if the players they shipped to San Diego turn out to be stars. The Reds needed to consolidate talent this winter, and they’ve managed to trade quantity for quality at the position they needed most.

Pitching doesn’t come cheap, but credit the Reds for landing a pitcher good enough to make a real difference. This move isn’t without its risks, but Latos has the upside to be worth betting on.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


78 Responses to “Reds Finally Get Their Ace in Mat Latos”

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  1. Colin says:

    Also consider that they are probably losing Votto in two years, so their window to win big is now. They needed to cash in some of those prospect lottery tickets on more of a sure thing, like you said “quantity for quality.”

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  2. Boxkutter says:

    Cinci overpaid by about one player. I would like this deal better for them if they had left either Boxberger or Volquez out of the trade. They gave up what you’d expect them to give up for an Ace. But they aren’t getting an Ace in return.

    Also, where does Alonso play? If he plays 1B, where does Rizzo play? Alonso is Dunn-esque in LF. So moving him to a bigger OF seems like a mistake.

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    • Colin says:

      Except for Boxberger (who probably would’ve won a bullpen spot this spring) all of those guys were surplus for Reds as Dave described. They can still get good LF production from Heisey, and Jocketty has suggested that they have now freed up $ to make another deal. It was a lot, but they aren’t losing a lot of production this year.

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    • redfandan says:

      I would’ve prefered that the Reds kept Box or received a prospect in the deal. But, I really don’t think I can complain that much. If everything goes right Latos should help the Reds in 2012 more than all of the players they gave up combined. And Cincy WANTS to be in the playoffs. This move, despite how steep the price was, will help their chances to get into the playoffs. Also, all of the players that they gave up could be considered bigger question marks than Latos. So, it’s a relatively fair deal, especially considering how much teams were apparently asking for pitching, IF Latos is the ace the Reds obviously think he can be. You might not think he’s an ace but I think most would disagree about that.

      As for Alonso, Rizzo, Blanks, and Guzman the Padres have some trade bait for teams like Tampa or Chicago that want a 1st baseman. Someone like Wade Davis would make some sense for a deal including one of them.

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    • Bob says:

      Cheater/injury-prone Volquez may never be the same, although he may benefit from pitching at Petco, so this is not a big loss for the Reds. Boxberger could be a closer eventually, but a reliever is hardly too much to give up for a potential ace, assuming that starter-shredder Dusty Baker doesn’t kill his arm.

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  3. wiggly says:

    Man, that package looks HUGE to me. Maybe it needed to be, but dang! That just seems like a ton of value for the Reds to give up for one guy, even one as talented as Latos.

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    • Jacob Smith says:

      Latos has 4 years of team control left. So, they were going to have to pay more in order to acquire him.

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    • Graham says:

      TWSS (c’mon, somebody had to)

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    • 44 says:

      Huge win for the Pads. Potential impact 1B, potential impact C, a #2 or 3 starter if they can straighten out Volquez, and a late innings guy. If even two of them work out, it’s still a steal. Not that anyone thinks Latos is an injury risk, but he is a pitcher after all. He’s really good, but he’s still just 1 pitcher.

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  4. Clown Baby says:

    I wonder whether the Padres prefer Alonso or Anthony Rizzo. I doubt that Alonso is capable of covering left field in Petco so my guess is that one of them gets dealt for another pitcher.

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  5. Tim says:

    Just an awful trade for the Reds.

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    • redfandan says:

      I disagree. How is this trade ‘awful’ for the Reds?

      Sure, it was a steep price. But, to get what you want you have to be willing to give up something. And they got a REALLY good player.

      If the Reds were going to make a push for the playoffs 2012 is the year to do it with the Brewers and Cardinals both looking like they’ll have a harder time competing, although I think they’ll still both be good.

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      • Timb says:

        There is a good chance the other Tim is the sort of Reds fan who knows that reds prospects will always work out and that you cannot trade prospects. Lord knows, there are enough of them in Ohio

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  6. Captain Obvious says:

    “Guys who can live in the zone and still avoid contact are generally the best pitchers in the game.”

    Who are the pitchers who do this and are NOT among the best pitchers? Are there any or was this just a rhetorical flourish?

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  7. Luke says:

    If I’m the Padres I keep Rizzo, and find a way to move Alonso and his poor defense on to replace the hole they just created with Latos leaving. Or get a proper SS. Then again, if I’m the Padres we don’t suck and we spend the money we make on building a good ballclub rather than lining my fat pockets with the luxury tax and revenue sharing booty.

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    • NS says:

      Send him to the Rays; they’ve got all kinds of goodies.

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      • Eddy says:

        Yeah, Rizzo or Alonso for Wade Davis makes too much sense not to happen.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        Wade Davis is not a good pitcher. No one should be interested in giving up anything of significant value for him.

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      • Paul Wilson says:

        The Rays have a trading handicap: as soon as they target a player on another team, that team realizes they have been undervaluing their asset.

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      • Liam says:

        Dave, when you use a subjective term like “Not Good” could you either include a more quantifiable value of that player or give us a comparison chart to reference? for instance: “Wade Davis out performed his underlying stats in 2011 and lacks the ability to post consistent X to Y WAR seasons. His peak is a [ below | perfectly | above ] league average starting pitcher, unlike Latos who has demonstrated he can be a 4.0 WAR pitcher if he remains healthy.”

        Its aggravating to have to go back and research every player that you think can’t put up the numbers to fall into your perceived ranges of value.

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  8. Josh_Byrnes says:

    I think I’ve rectified myself from the mistake of trading away CarGo and Andersen now but tricking Walt!!

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    • ValueArb says:

      Don’t beat yourself up, Josh. Cargo stunk for two years before he got good, and Anderson had one good year before Tommy John. Dan Haren turned in two awesome seasons while still cheap, and even has he got more expensive he had so much value your successor was able to trade him for Tyler Skaggs. You still did fine on that trade.

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  9. I’m amazed that the Blue Jays haven’t traded for Votto. That they are often linked to Fielder, I always think that Prince would be blocking them from eventually getting Votto.

    I thought TOR would trade for him and sign him to an extension.

    I wonder if CIN would trade him and stock up on young talent at positions that are not already filled.

    That might also allow CIN to sign Fielder and upgrade their team overall without breaking the bank.

    I can’t keep from shaking the idea that Votto will be a Blue Jay sooner rather than later, with perhaps even Rasmus going to CIN with Jocketty being familiar with Colby.

    I like the acquisition of Latos for CIN.

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    • Jeff in So. Indiana says:

      This wont happen now with Alonso gone. Reds may just have to find the $ to extend Votto if they contend and save dollars.

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    • sc2gg says:

      I’d imagine that there were numerous attempts made to trade for Votto, but Jocketty said he didn’t want to trade him. While in the MLB GM business, this is usually meaningless, this time it seemed like he was being honest.

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    • reillocity says:

      I could easily see a sign and trade of Darvish if he balks at playing half of his games in Canada, assuming of course that the Blue Jays were the high bidder. Perhaps he’d be shipped to Cincinnati with a prospect or two for Votto?

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    • Bob says:

      You can’t trade for a player if he’s not available. Forget the rumors – Cincy isn’t interested in moving Votto at this time.

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    • Franklin Stubbs says:

      If the Reds could sign Fielder, why wouldn’t they just resign Votto? It would be cheaper.

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  10. ryan says:

    Dave, no mention of how the reds could’ve done better with this package??? James shields anyone? And couldn’t Felix have been had with something close to this??? I don’t get why latos Is all these prospects can fetch.

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    • redfandan says:

      Fwiw, Shields is older, closer to free agency, and closer to becoming expensive. So, it’s debatable, imo, whether the same package for Shields really would’ve been better.

      Also, Walt already talk to Tampa about their pitchers. One rumor I’ve heard is that Tampa wanted Mesoraco but Walt didn’t want to give him up. It makes sense that the Reds would rather hold onto Mes than Grandal since Mes will be counted on to help them in 2012 (plus Mes is better).

      I don’t think Seattle is going to move Felix anytime soon.

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    • Eddy says:

      Did you see James Sheilds’ name is in the table of elite pitchers (of whom Latos is one) that Dave included in this article? That’s because Latos is better than Shields. Also, the Reds get 4 years of Latos for cheap. The price was certainly steep, but the return is huge.

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      • Drew says:

        It’s debatable but Shields could have helped in the short term just as much (if not more) than Latos. The only way it would have been a better trade is if they gave up only one of Grandal or Alonso to get him.

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    • Ryan says:

      Latos is BETTER than Shields? I don’t buy that at all. I’m not going to suggest the difference is drastic, but I would assume if you polled 30 baseball execs on the matter, 25 would come back and say that (in a vacuum) theyd prefer Shields. He’s facing VASTLY better competition, in a less favorable home park, and he’s been remarkably durable to boot.

      I can kinda buy into the fact that Latos is younger (though, if cost is such a problem for the Reds, Latos may not be with Cincy for *that* long anyways where the age difference would start to play a bigger role). I also understand Latos is cheaper. However, if the Reds made this move with the onus on contending in say, 2012 and 2013 – when Votto becomes a FA – then Shields would’ve made more sense than Latos. A lot more sense.

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      • chuckb says:

        Shields will make a lot more money more quickly than Latos and has 1 fewer year of team control than Latos. And, as you point out, Latos is younger.

        The additional year of Latos and his relative youth more than makes up for the fact that Shields may be a hair better today.

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    • Ryan says:

      On a side-note, while I love most of Dave’s articles and originally purchased ESPN insider to read one of his over there, that sample has cherry-picked written all over it and in no way is the end-all be-all of elite pitchers in baseball. One of 2011’s CY Young award winners are absent. So are 2011’s AL and NL pitcher WAR leaders. The sample is horribly flawed. Or, I should say, is very misleading.

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      • Steve says:

        I don’t see how the list was flawed. It wasn’t meant to be a be-all, end-all list of the best pitchers in the majors. It was simply pointing out Latos’ strengths and showing whom he’s similar to in those respects: some of the majors’ best pitchers. At least that’s the way I read it.

        And, in fact, looking at the stats, the reason that Kershaw isn’t on that list is because he had a K% of 26.1, higher than the cutoff rate. Halladay just missed being on the list with a K% of 22.7. Sabathia’s K% was 21.8. If you expanded the criteria for the list such that those three pitchers are also included (350 IP and K% of 21.0 to 27.0, for example), does that somehow mean Latos wasn’t still among the best pitchers in the game the past two seasons? I don’t see how it does.

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      • larrybernandez says:

        You’re missing the point of the sample. The goal was to identify pitchers with similar profiles to Latos, all of whom appear to be either elite or very good and would command similar returns. No claim was made that the sample represented all elite pitchers.

        As far as Shields goes I would agree that he does face superior competition within his league as well as division, however way too much emphasis is being put on his 2011 performance. Inning for inning, i would rather have Latos, but I’ll take 250 innings from Shields over 200 from Latos. I would also discourage anyone from thinking that front offices plan to not be competitive 3 or 4 years down the road. Success breeds more success if you’re not a moron or Jeff Loria.

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    • the tourist says:

      Felix may have been had for a package close to this, but since he’s a much better pitcher than Latos, the overpay to pry him away now is going to have to be even more ridiculous.

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    • Bob says:

      How is Shields better than Latos?

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  11. Jason says:

    This is a good deal for Cincy, until proven otherwise. Even if the the players they gave up turn out great, they just had too many at the same position. Latos has great lifetime numbers against Hou, Pitt, CHC, and with Pujols gone (and Fielder possibly) he should do just fine in the light hitting Central.

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  12. Michael_F says:

    Wow, this is a bit of a stunner.

    Latos is probably my favorite pitcher in baseball, non Strasburg division, with his unique wind-up, high-strikeout rates, and frankly because he blew through the minors essentially within one year (not his first year in the minors, but it took him one year to move through all the ranks).

    I have to like this trade for both teams, though, and I’m not sure any other team than the Reds could pull it off. They had the necessary surplus and were thus able to give away great talent that offered little marginal advantage to their team.

    The Padres gave away a potential ace, but it’s easier for them to find pitching than most other teams in baseball. I’m not really worried about an Alonso/Rizzo/Blanks/Guzman controversy, because the Padres simply need offense wherever they can get, and for the most part whatever they are able to muster up from wherever they are able to muster it from is a huge contribution.

    Again, stunning deal, but I think everyone wins in it.

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  13. mister_rob says:

    I love trying to follow “Cameron Logic”

    Last year according to Dave, the Cubs greatly overpaid for 3 years worth of control of a pitcher who Dave compared to Aaron Harang. THe Cubs great overpay was a real good looking SS prospect and a good SP prospect (neither of whom were close to ready), and 3 guys with very small odds of ever being difference makers of any kind
    This year according to Dave, the REds bought well in buying 4 years (1 more than cubs got) of control of a pitcher who (FIP be damned) actually was teammates of Aaron Harang and as far as stats that show on the scoreboard wasnt too much different. For this good deal, they gave up a major league ready starting 1b, a major league ready starting catcher, a major league ready reliever, and a SP that (like every SP that goes to Petco) will probably have a decent year)
    Now, maybe its because the Reds are in win now mode while the cubs should have realized they had no chance. Of course the Reds werent very good last year. They still dont have a good SPer that anyone would mistake for a workhorse. They have untested players at SS, C, and LF. They have Dusty. Rolen is always one big sneeze away from missing a month or two. So alot can go wrong in a hurry for them
    After 1 year, the garza trade analysis already looks foolish. I predict next winter this analysis will too

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    • the face says:

      That’s probably because Latos isn’t being compared to a guy like Aaron harang. Latos is a LOT better than him and at the top of the article is compared favourably to Jered Weaver and Yovani Gallardo. Plus Garza gets paid a tonne more ($6 million vs $460,000). I don’t see how you can compare the two articles and/or trades just becuase you don’t like Dave Cameron? I’m not his biggest fan, but it doesn’t change the fact that Latos is a very good young pitcher who will prove to be a shrewd acquisition for the Reds.

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      • Shrewd, if the Reds got Latos minder and wet nurse in the deal. He’s psychologically fragile and a tad too emotiona for NL East bandboxesl. In any case, Dusty will work his magic, and grind that arm up in a year or so.

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      • www.thehotteststove.com says:

        I keep hearing this…. Is it true? If so… the transition from Petco to Great American Ballpark might be rocky when some of those lazy fly balls carry out of the yard. That’s gotta be a tough transition for any young pitcher, even if he has swing-and-miss stuff. I’m very intrigued to see how this one turns out over the course of about 4-5 years.

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    • Colin says:

      If by stats on the scoreboard you mean wins, then may God have mercy on your soul.

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    • Shauntell says:

      Well, first of all, what you need to understand, is that analysing a trade is basically projecting the value the players are most likely to return in the next few years.

      Garza’s performance this past year stands out remarkably from his career stats, as he’s posted FIPs over 4 in all of his seasons playing for the Rays.
      Yes, he did outperform his FIP by a reasonable amount, but the Rays’ defense was probably responsible for this.
      So it made sense at the time to assume that the Cubs’ defense and ballpark would nullify any gains Garza would make by pitching in a weaker league.

      Garza was a completely different pitcher last year, relying a lot less on his fastball in favor of his slider, which produced a huge amount of value in 2011.
      I don’t think anyone could have predicted this to happen.

      As for the Latos trade, well Mat Latos has proved in the minor leagues and in the majors that he can pitch at a near-elite level and has the necessary skills to be elite.

      You cannot rely on the ERA of 2 pitchers in any given season to come to a significant conclusion (just look and see if Jeff Karstens can repeat his in 2012),

      It should be obvious to everyone that Harang is most probably not going to perform anywhere near Latos’ level. Harang is older, has posted FIPs over 4 the past few years (like Garza) and is 4 years removed from being a very good pitcher.

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      • mister_rob says:

        Look at the Rays rotation. They all pretty much always outpitch their FIP.
        Dont care what FIP said. I looked at Garza as someone who had put up like 3 or 4 straight years of high 3 era in the ALEast. Common sense told me he would likely be a low 3 era guy in the NLC. and yet all the braniacs act all surprised when it happens.He must be a different pitcher. Its a surprise. No. He is facing Paul Maholm instead of David Ortiz. He is facing weaker lineups each time out.
        You can be shocked all you want about FIPs and SIERAs, but seriously……common sense should have told you Garza would have had “traditional” stats where they ended up. Can you name the last established ALE SP who went to the NLC and regressed? How about the last NLC SP who got better moving in the ALE. COMMON SENSE

        It is obvious to me Harang isnt near Latos level. It wasnt obvious to DAve that He wasnt near Garza either. Thats my point

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      • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

        mr rob,

        So pitching in the NL central against Pujols, Fielder, Braun, and Votto is somehow easier than the AL east mashers?

        I get what you’re saying, we know the NL is a weaker league, but I don’t think you can reasonably expect that kind of a performance improvement just by league switching. As it was pointed out above, Garza changed his approach to pitching. Whether that’s a Cubs coach noticing something and teaching Garza a new trick or Garza himself gaining more confidence in pitching rather than throwing is not something you predict when projecting future performance. A lot of folks do that at times, like when any pitcher went to a team that had Leo Mazzone (remember him?) as pitching coach, but generally you don’t assume it.

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      • mister_rob says:

        check the years before and after the move of any SPer you can think of when they went from the ALE to the NLC and see if ANY of them saw their ERAs go up.
        Arroyo. Clemens. Pettite. Lilly. Carpenter. Marcum. Garza. etc?? NO
        Now how about SP going from the NLC back to the ALE. Any of their ERAs go down?
        Sabathia. Clemens. Pettite. Clement?? NO

        So out of the 11 instances I can think of, the common sense prevails all 11 times

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    • Bob says:

      The big difference is at SS. A SS prospect is probably worth more than any other position, and the Cubs inclusion of Hak-Ju Lee may have been why Dave didn’t like the deal. But Archer and Lee in hindsight is a fair return for Garza, so I agree now that the trade made sense. Fuld can’t hit and Chirinos can’t catch.

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    • chuckb says:

      Is it even worth mentioning that Latos is younger and better than Garza?

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  14. YazInLeft8 says:

    mat latos salaries so small, he couldn’t afford a second T.

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  15. Ender says:

    I fully expect Latos to fall apart in a hitters park, I’m not seeing an Ace here at all.

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    • xrayxtals says:

      another comment with no statistical backing… disappointed in you

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    • Drew says:

      By WAR over the last two years he ranks about 28th, which is a lower-tier ace, if you want to call it that. Also, since he’s 24, there is room for improvement. Big wildcard is will his arm hold up. The padres were probably betting on it not holding up.

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  16. Bip says:

    Maybe the Padres are counting on the fact that every pitcher pitches like an ace in Petco, so they don’t actually need one? See: 2010 Padres rotation.

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  17. johnnycomelately9 says:

    In 2010 their staff was led by Latos and Stauffer (former 4th overall pick) and the best pen in baseball. People get all geeked up on Petco that they don’t realize the pads have the most underrated pitching (coaching) staff in baseball. They harp fastball command, using a slider or breaking ball, and pitching down and away, The staff and Ballsey tutelage are reasons why teams like the Marlins chase the pads developed fodder. If Volquez kills it everyone will say Petco, Petco, Petco; but Balsey and Bud Black working with him is what will make him have a dominant approach. If he becomes good or great it will be because they will fix his mechanics when he goes to the stretch; and the pads will call significantly better games.

    On a side note: People who think the AL teams are better are dumb. All pitchers will gain an advantage from being in the NL and facing the pitcher spot 2-5 times. It gets them out of early jams; and often leads to additional K’s every start. But NL pitchers are often limited in their inning count because they are pulled in the 6th-8th in rbi opportunities.

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  18. mattsd says:

    Nice article.

    I’m not sure what the purpose of setting a cap for the graph in this part was, though: “For comparison, here are the starters who have thrown at least 350 innings in the last two years and have posted strikeout rates between 23% and 25%. ”

    There are only 3 pitchers above the 25% mark. It’s not like we’re ignoring a big group of people who are far from Latos’ mark by setting a cap at 25%. Lincecum at 25.1% is closer to Latos’ mark than a few of the guys on the list. I think it illustrates the point better to say “here are the starters who have thrown at least 350 innings in the last two years and have posted strikeout rates of at least 23%.”

    The way it was constructed it seemed as if there might be another group of elite strikeout artists who far surpass Latos, but the reality is with just a couple exceptions, the chart you posted IS the list.

    Not a big deal. Just kind of curious.

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  19. In looking at Latos, one thing that stands out is his IP.

    He has similar rate stats, but he’s also being compared to guys with 20-100 more IP and in some cases these are “fatigue” innings where the other guys are facing a lineup for the 3rd and 4th times all the way through.

    If Latos pitches these extra innings, there are good chances that his rate stats drop quite a bit.

    But there’s also a chance that his WAR goes up from the IP.

    I don’t think someone can really be considered an ace until they’re putting up 200+ IP seasons consistently.

    Latos has been very effective and he had great arm action, which really helps his changeup and deception of changing speeds. But we really need to see how he handles ace workloads.

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  20. Re: Trading Votto versus Signing Fielder

    As I said, by trading Votto maybe CIN gets 2-3 players they can start that are under team control for multiple years, while signing Fielder to replace Votto’s production.

    So, overall you get more overall team WAR for less money than you’d spend on the open market.

    Now a trade for Votto might include players like Lawrie, Rasmus, etc that might make the trade not as attractive for TOR than just signing Fielder.

    Extending Votto doesn’t make you better at other positions. That’s the difference.

    You only trade Votto if you can get young MLB talent in return. You’d basically be counting on TOR really wanting a Canadian kid to be the face of the franchise to the point that they’d be willing to give up an Escobar or Lawrie or Rasmus, etc. I don’t know that TOR is willing to do that. I think TOR is in a position where signing Fielder makes more sense than giving up good team-controlled players that are productive.

    If I’m TOR, I don’t give up Lawrie or Escobar, but if Votto could be had for Rasmus, Drabek or Romero, and possibly another player with some hope like Lind or Snider (which I don’t think other teams value), then I think it’s worth exploring.

    I think, at this point, TOR probably wouldn’t be highly interested in that option due to what they might have to give up, and that they could sign Fielder. I think CIN would likely ask for players that TOR would rather keep than have Votto.

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  21. jpg says:

    I’m not loving this deal from the Reds side. Pitching like an ace and BEING an ace are two different things. Latos has pitched like an ace for TWO years. That’s great, but there are a ton of pitchers through the decades that have small samples of greatness only to flame out at some point for one reason or another. Latos is an up and comer, a guy who shows ace pontential but can we take it easy. He has question marks surrounding durability, is going from pitching PETCO to Great American and now has Dusty Baker as his manager. For this guy to be worth the enormous package the Reds just surrendered, he has to give them major surplus value through his cost controlled years. Unless they dump Dusty, I wouldn’t be so confident that Latos will be still be pitching like an ace in 2015. Lastly, I know all of those guys were either blocked at their positions or or named. Volquez, but man that was a huge package.

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  22. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Latos is a talented pitcher, but he will have to mature emotionally before he becomes an ace. There will be a lot of pressure on him to perform for the price the Reds paid for him, I’m thinking he will have problems thrust into the #1 pitcher role.

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  23. spartan says:

    The Red’s biggest surplus of players is at middle infield.
    Would rather have had CIN move one of them in the package instead of Boxberger. Wonder if Padres were discussing Cozart at any point?

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