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Date: Dec 10, 2018
Little Falls, NJ – The New Jersey Jackals announce the signing of former Major League starting pitcher Mat Latos. The 30-year-old Cy Young Award finalist has pitched in the Major Leagues for nine years including highly-accomplished stints with the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds.
"We are very proud to sign a player with Latos' pedigree and caliber," New Jersey Jackals General Manager Joe Redmon said. "He is one of our most prestigious acquisitions in team history and it will certainly energize our passionate fan base."
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Latos was drafted by the San Diego Padres out of Coconut Creek High School (FL) in the 11th round of the 2006 First Year Amateur Draft and signed with the club in 2007. Soaring through the Padres farm system, Mat made his Major League debut in 2009 while being recognized by Baseball America as the best prospect in the Double-A Texas League and featuring the circuit's best fastball. From 2010 through 2013, Mat went on to be one of the most dominating starting pitchers in baseball. Splitting his time with the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds during this stretch, Mat ranked 8th in the ERA (3.27) and was among the best starting pitchers 26 or younger in wins (51, 4th) and strikeouts (785, 2nd).
His best seasons during this stellar run were in 2010 with the Padres and 2013 with the Cincinnati Reds. In 2010 not only did Mat go 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and a .230 opponents batting average (ranking 10th and 5th, respectively in the National League) for San Diego, he set a Major League record by allowing 2 runs or less in 15 straight starts with a minimum of 5 innings pitched each start. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this was the longest streak in modern baseball history (since 1900). Hall of Famer Greg Maddux previously held the record with 14 straight starts.
The Reds acquired Mat from the Padres on December 17, 2011 in a blockbuster four-player trade including current major leaguers Yonder Alonso (Cleveland Indians infielder), Brad Boxberger (Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher), Yasmani Grandal (Los Angeles Dodgers catcher) and Edinson Volquez (Texas Rangers starting pitcher). He authored the best year of his career in 2013 when he went 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA and 210.2 innings pitched while amassing only 58 walks and tallying 187 strikeouts. Best of all, his efforts were recognized by the Baseball Writers' Association of America as he finished eighth in Cy Young Award voting.
Over the next few years Latos career was hampered by an assortment of injuries, most a notably torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee, which has hampered his career over the last five years. Most recently, Mat briefly pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to his stint north of the border, he pitched for the Miami Marlins (2015), Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels (2015) along with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals (2016).
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