Mat Latos: A Really, Really Good Pitcher Worth Noticing

After the rosters for this season's All Star Game were announced, there was the unusual array of whining and hand-wringing about how the system for determining the rosters is flawed and the results of the system constantly leave something to be desired.

And frankly, all of this confuses me, because it seems abundantly clear that MLB can't possibly satisfy everyone without a 60-man roster or something. Some people want the league leader in WAR, while a whole lot of people are clamoring for the guys with top-notch RBI and ERA marks. And then there's Omar Infante; I don't really know what to say about him.

But through all of this, I still don't understand how Mat Latos isn't an All-Star. Not only has he been one of the best pitchers in the NL this season, but he's doing on the league's best pitching staff for a division-leading team, both his traditional and metric statistics are fantastic, and he's a fun guy to watch with a mid-90's heater and a slider that sits 84-86. 

The old-school statistics? How about a 10-4 win-loss record, 2.45 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Those ten wins are tied for third-highest amount in the NL with Roy Halladay and Mike Pelfrey, behind only Ubaldo Jimenez and Adam Wainwright. His ERA is the seventh-best in the NL among starters, and only Josh Johnson has a better WHIP than Latos right now.

And how about the good ol' metrics? They're pretty awesome: 8.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.54 K/BB, 47% groundball rate. Put it all together, and he's got an FIP of 3.21 on the year along with a 3.53 xFIP. His K/BB ratio, xFIP and FIP are all in the top-8 in the NL.

Where's Latos' candidacy lacking? The Padres aren't a bottom-feeder or anything, their 50-35 record is tied for the best in the National League. Latos isn't some no-name journeyman, he was regarded as one of San Diego's best prospects for the majority of his professional career leading up to his debut last season. And it's not like San Diego is sending pitcher after pitcher to the game; the Padres didn't even have an All Star pitcher until closer Heath Bell was announced as an injury replacement. 

Latos has already gotten some attention as a snub from some around the game, such as AOL FanHouse's Jeff Fletcher, but it really boggles my mind how little attention this guy has gotten given how integral he's been to San Diego's surprise season. The All Star Game rosters disappointed me for a lot of reasons (I don't need to harp on Joey Votto, right?), and the exclusion of Mat Latos is near the top of the list. 

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