In a way, I'm glad Mat Latos scuffled a little bit when he reached the major leagues last season. It was good for him to experience some rough patches, considering the fact that he'd never really had to deal with adversity since turning pro, and it's also going to make the cost of his acquisition much smaller this season. Latos was an 11th-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2006 draft out of a Miami community college. He was a draft-and-follow who fell due to some maturity issues and signability reasons, but the Padres eventually inked him for $1.25 million. The 22-year-old acquitted himself well in his debut in 2007, recording 74 strikeouts in 56 innings while allowing just one homer in short-season ball, but shoulder and oblique issues (mostly the latter), limited him to just 56 innings in 2008. However, the Padres got aggressive with him last year, promoting him out of high Class A ball in just 25 innings and moving him to a tough pitching environment at Double-A. After only nine starts there, with a 1.91 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and a 46-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Latos was called up to the big leagues, where he posted a 4.62 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 10 starts.
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