Wednesday, March 21, 2012

RBI (70) A controversial 365 TTM from Spring Training...

Well I'm not sure how much actual controversy there is about this, but I did find it interesting to get a pretty awesome reply from Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mat Latos.

Latos was taken in the 11th round of the 2006 draft by the Padres after falling significantly due to maturity concerns. He attended college for a year before signing with the Padres days before he would have re-entered the 2007 having been deemed matured. The time paid off as Latos breezed through the minors reaching the MLB in 2009 for the Padres.

His call up resulted in making the rotation in 2010 for a breakout year where he solidified himself as a front of the rotation pitcher with ace potential. 2011 was a slight regression year for him, but there was still excellent top of the league stuff. So much so that the Reds paid a minor fortune for him in Edison Volquez, and top prospect Yonder Alonso among others.

In 3 seasons in the MLB Latos has supplied himself a 27-29 record, 3.37 ERA, and 413 Strikeouts. In both full seasons he appeared in he made a strong 31 starts, marking himself as a reliable workhorse in the rotation.

As many of you know there was a recent blog post on Reds' pitcher Mat Latos' wife's blog regarding the autograph collecting hobby. It's been discussed at length by the autograph community so I won't really get into that. Interestingly enough don't you know I had actually mailed Mat a TTM request just prior to the now infamous post.

It was a success. Not only was it a success, it was a really cool success. Not only did Mat send his autograph, but also took the time to answer the letter I mailed him. Why's this awesome? Because it's the first time a current player responded to my letter, let alone while at Spring Training:

During your 15 game streak of 5 innings and 2 or less runs did you feel added pressure or feel comfortable?
Showing the ice cold blood in his veins that made the Reds pay a king's ransom for the ace he responded, "Comfortable!"

What was it like to get your first Win?
Even though he debuted the week before, the Virginia native was able to top the local Washington Nationals in 2009 for his first win, "Felt good. Was in my hometown."

What did you see to the key to your 1 hitter of the Giants?
Even though he was only in his first full season in the Majors, he was able to display his stuff against the eventual World Series winners with a 1 hitter supported by him "Hitting my spots."

What was it like to play in the 2009 All Star Futures Game?
I'm a big fan of the game as it highlights the prospects coming up and recognizes their hard work pushing themselves through the minors to get to the show. I'm sure many of the guys who make it agree with his sentiment that "It was Great."
I had sent the 2011 Gypsy Queen as the card I'd like signed and included the 2012 Topps mini with a sticky note that said he could keep it. The Gypsy Queen smeared, but Latos didn't keep the 2012 mini and instead autographed it clean and sent it back to me after only 29 days c/o the Reds at Spring Training.

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