Key Stats: Petco Park was the third best park to pitch in last year according to ESPN park factors, but Mat Latos didn’t benefit all that much from pitching in Petco last year. His HR:FB% was actually kinder away from Petco last year which is why Chris Cwik of RotoGraphs thinks that Latos to Cincinnati doesn’t really move his value at all. He’ll be pitching for a better team in a tougher environment for a pitcher.
Skeptics Say: For the record his ERA and WHIP were both better at home last year. Virtually everyone who knows anything about fantasy baseball will be forecasting that Latos will go over his 3.47 ERA and 1.18 WHIP next season.
Peer Comparison: The free agent class for starting pitching this off-season was very weak, so when Latos and Michael Pineda were moved it added some excitement and some work to anyone trying to analyze it from a fantasy perspective. The three biggest starting pitchers to change addresses this off-season are probably C.J. Wilson, Latos, and Pineda. Among the three, Latos might be the one who’s ADP changes the least.
Wilson is going from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park. He is not changing leagues, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be any change in terms of hitters adjusting to him. And while the wins typically would go down as he moves from the two-time AL champions to a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs the last two years, that team happened to sign the best player of the last decade this off-season. Wilson’s stock is on the rise as a result of this change.
Pineda’s stock is also on the rise. That’s not saying he’s going to be better than he was before he was playing for the Yankees. Seattle is a better place to pitch, so while a year of experience and the opportunity to move from the AL’s worst offense to one of the best will help, this could be another move that doesn’t change his value too much. Due to the fact that he’s moving to New York though, the hype machine will change his preseason value more than it would for Latos moving from one quiet market to another quiet market.
Team Outlook: The Padres had the 28th best offense in baseball last year while the Reds had the 7th best. They had a difference of 142 runs or virtually one per game. So while his ERA and WHIP are going to come up, the nine wins he had last year are also going to come up.
Projection: Latos had a great second half and a great month of September to close last season. So while the beginning of his season may have seemed like a Verducci Effect peeking it’s head out, Latos actually looked more like the guy he was in 2010 when he was the 31st best player in fantasy.
16 wins 3.52 ERA 1.19 WHIP 181 K in 202 innings