Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/3/12
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It was just two years ago that Mat Latos finished 13th in the league with a 2.92 ERA. That year he struck out over a batter per inning and held opponents to just a .216 average. Last season didn’t go quite as well. Latos finished outside the top 100, but his 3.16 FIP was only marginally worse than the year before. This season Latos finds himself pitching in Cincinnati instead of the spacious Petco Park, and most pundits will tell you this is a bad move for Latos’ fantasy value. When analyzing the impact of moves from one home park to another, xFIP is actually better to use than FIP because xFIP normalizes for league average HR/FB rates. Well, last season Latos had a 3.51 xFIP, and Great American Ballpark is more hitter-friendly than your average ballpark. Perhaps the pundits are right.

Best case scenario: Zack Greinke (MIL)
Similar players: Matt Garza (CHC), Michael Pineda (NYY), Yovani Gallardo (MIL)
Worst case scenario: Anibal Sanchez (MIA)

Strengths

K, WHIP, control. Wins are hard to predict, and it remains to be seen how good the Reds will actually be this year after a disappointing 2011 season. Latos is among the league’s best in terms of strikeout rate, and 2012 will likely be the first time Latos tops 200 innings and threatens 200 Ks. His walk rate is also borderline elite and his worst OBA in the last three years is .228. His WHIP will be very good as well.

Weaknesses

FB%, ballpark. Latos allowed fly balls to 41.1 percent of the batters who made contact last season, which is right around what he’s done in the other two years in the majors. That rate was 16th-highest of the 94 qualifying starters last season, and in Great American Ballpark that could be an issue.

ADP Report (72.2)

Too rich for my blood. I have serious concerns about Latos’ ability to keep an elite ERA in Cincinnati. Perhaps I’m playing too much into the whole “change of ballpark” thing, but there are safer options in the sixth or seventh rounds of your fantasy draft.

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