Back in Spring Training, the San Diego Padres had a great battle for the fifth spot in their rotation. Sean Gallagher, Tim Stauffer and Mat Latos all pitched phenomenally, but when push came to shove, the Friars went with the 22-year-old Latos. The organization has been richly rewarded for the faith it has showed in its top prospect.
During the Padres 8-2 win Tuesday night Latos rolled through the Toronto Blue Jays to earn yet another win. In 6.2 innings, the 11th round pick from the 2006 MLB Draft allowed two runs on just four hits and one walk, while striking out seven. Latos also retired the first 11 batters he faced on the night.
The kid is now 7-4 on the season with a 3.19 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. His WHIP is second in the National League behind Ubaldo Jimenez’s 0.97. Not bad for a guy in his first full season.
Latos has always had the stuff, but somehow he’s figured out how to work hitters now. Credit Padres catcher Yorvit Torrealba and Nick Hundley for keeping the 6’6, 225-pound right hander’s emotions in check and teaching him the proper way to set hitters up. And pitching coach Darren Balsley’s involvement can’t be overstated. Balsley’s shown an uncanny ability to take young pitchers to the next level, Latos is just the latest example.
Latos has also shown great control this season, striking out 71 while walking just 21. He has also given up just 57 hits in 79 innings. He’s keeping opponents off the bases at an incredible rate.
Latos is having a sensational 2010. He’s a big reason why the Padres have the National League’s best record in mid-June.