If every pitcher had his ability to pitch anywhere, it would be Petco Park in San Diego. Now, Mat Latos leaves Petco and its friendly confines for Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. How will Latos fare there?
Well, Latos leaves a Padres team that has struggled to score runs to a Cincinnati team that has considerably more pop. According to Park Factors at ESPN, Petco was the 28th friendliest ballpark to score runs. In fact, in its 8 years of existance, Petco has been in the top 5 of pitchers’ parks.
Latos has enjoyed pitching at Petco as much as the other guy. In 2011, Latos was 5-7/3.24/1.15 at home and 4-7/3.68/1.22 on the road. In 2010, Latos’ ERA was 2.59 at home and 3.14 on the road.
He won’t benefit from cavernous Petco in 2012, however. Petco, remember, has a 400 feet deep right-center and measures 382 feet to right field. Great American, by comparison, measures 370 to right-center and 325 to right field, substantially smaller dimensions.
2012 Fantasy Baseball Projection: Mat Latos — Mat Latos will likely see some drop off in his ERA and WHIP with the move to Cincinnati, just as any pitcher would when leaving Petco. He should, however, benefit from the Reds’ stronger hitting: Cincinnati was 7th in runs scored last year versus San Diego’s 28th. As a high strikeout pitcher, the effect of the ballpark move will be lessened. We project Latos to win 15 games with the Reds while sporting a 3.60 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, thus with a fantasy baseball value that is neutral versus 2011.
Yonder Alonso: Slugger Gets His Chance
Acquired in the multi-player deal for the Padres is first baseman Yonder Alonso who was born in Cuba. Alonso was blocked at first base by Joey Votto and will now get his chance to play in San Diego.
The Reds gave up a lot to get the 24-year-old Latos from San Diego. Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger were all sent to sunny San Diego. You don’t give away a 24-year-old front line starter without getting a lot in return. And, Yonder Alonso is the biggest piece of the trade.
Alonso was the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft. And, he looked great in his late season call-up last year before a foul ball off his foot on September 19 move him permanently into a pinch hitting role. In 47 games, Alonso hit .330 and had 5 home runs and 15 RBI in just 88 at bats. Coupled with some strong minor league stats, Alonso will be a consideration for San Diego in 2012.
He will battle Jesus Guzman for the first base job, but at this point, you’d have to think that Guzman is the favorite based on his solid .307/5/44/9 numbers of last season. The Padres are actually stacked at the first base position with Kyle Blanks and Anthony Rizzo as well so perhaps Alonso could make the move to the outfield.
2012 Fantasy Baseball Projection: Yonder Alonso — It’s too early to know what Alonso’s role with the Padres will be in 2012. We are taking a wait and see approach to Alonso, but if he earns even a part-time starting role, Yonder Alonso could be a solid sleeper for the 2012 season.