“Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game.”
- Ted Williams
I do the photography for the Eugene Emeralds, Eugene's minor league pro baseball club. The Ems are the San Diego Padres' single A short season team. This is the team that the young guys come to, usually straight out of college (or sooner if they're top talents) or coming in from out of country.
One of the best pure talents for the Emeralds was a young man named Mat Latos. Mat is a tall kid and heaves a fastball that clocks up to 98 mph. And he controls it. He made the Padres' starting pitching rotation and will take the mound this Saturday (April 10) against the Colorado Rockies.
Denis Savage from the Padres scouting crew posted an article over at MadFriars.com the other day and here is his view on Latos:
Latos has ace stuff. His maturity, a question mark in the minors, has taken a significant leap forward. He has the plus fastball, a nasty slider and has made strides with his changeup.
Denis also notes that Mat's ERA in spring training games was an outstanding 1.59 and he won 3 games and lost 0. Mat is now 22. He actually did play 10 games for Padres last season (2009) going 4-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 10 starts. In a game last month against the San Francisco Giants, Latos only let one run cross the plate, only allowed three hits in four innings and struck out three and walked two.
I know that Mat was a hit with the fans here. When he pitched, fans' expectations rose and so did the volume of their cheers when Mat would blow strikes by the batters.
At about 6'6" and 225 pounds Mat Latos is no small pitcher. He has determination, and a talent. It's nice for me to see Mat's making the Big Leagues and I wish him the best in his just beginning career.
I didn't realize when I started shooting for the Ems that someday I would have the rookie photos of big time baseball pros. I think this guy will be one.
I hope your career is long and fruitful Mat - and profitable.
(More on the Emeralds can be found at my Eugene Emeralds Photo blog)
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
- Calvin Coolidge