||Born: February 3, 1989
Height: 5′ 10″
Drafted: 4th Round, 128th Overall, 2007
How Acquired: Draft
High School: Middle Creek (Apex, NC)
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|At the time he was drafted, Baseball America characterized Latimore as very athletic, with good but not great speed. Despite not being a big guy, he takes a big cut at the plate and looks to drive the ball. He tends to swing at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone. He’s probably limited to the corners in the outfield and doesn’t have great range even there. He’s had pretty high error totals for left field, which is where he’s played the last several years. His arm is decent. Latimore had a commitment to North Carolina State but signed quickly.
Held his own in the GCL, stealing bases, showing some power and a decent eye, and keeping the Ks within reason.
Latimore’s plate discipline disappeared at State College. In June and July, he drew three walks and fanned 30 times. He batted only .184 in June, then hit 316/341/494 in July before slumping again in August. He had a large platoon split: .978 against LHPs and .576 against RHPs. He played mostly left, with five games in center.
Latimore played mainly left for West Virginia, with a few games in right and one in center. He committed fourteen errors, an awful lot for a corner outfielder, although he did throw out a dozen runners. He had an odd season, starting very slowly, getting hot in the middle part, then finishing in a bad slump. His monthly OPS was as follows:
It’s possible he wore down late in the season. It’s also possible pitchers took advantage of his poor plate discipline. He had a reverse platoon split: .662 against LHPs and .721 against RHPs.
The inconsistency continued at Bradenton. Latimore started off hot, slumped, then finished hot. Monthly OPS this time:
Latimore’s plate discipline remained poor. He drove in 100 runs, but Brad Corley a had 100-RBI season, too; by itself it’s not a repeatable skill, as Corley showed. In fact, Corley is an interesting analogy, because he was remarkably similar to Latimore. Corley, of course, hit a wall at AA due to his poor strike zone judgment. Latimore had no meaningful platoon split, but like many Bradenton players had a big home/road split: .889 vs. .652.
At Altoona, Latimore continued in the same vein. He put up his usual low average, low OBP and decent slugging average. He also continued to swing at many pitches out of the strike zone, leading to a career-high in strikeouts and not many walks. The inconsistency also continued:
He had a large platoon split, .863 against LHPs and .657 against RHPs.
Latimore returned to Altoona and got off to a very bad start, hitting 179/225/254 in April. He hit consistently well the rest of the year, with an OPS between .790 and .842 every month for a 266/338/468 line after April. Overall, he increased his walk rate and cut his K rate from nearly one every three ABs to about one every four. He continued to have a large platoon split, although not nearly as large as the previous year, at .822 against LHPs and .719 against RHPs.
The Pirates’ minor league staff is known to like Latimore. He has some of the best power in the system despite not being a big guy, but his strike zone judgment has always held him back. It wasn’t good in 2012, but after April it was decent. His post-April numbers were more solid than outstanding, but he should move up to Indianapolis in 2013. He’ll play the season at age 24, which isn’t that old, so another step forward could conceivably get him a shot at the majors. He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft again, but wasn’t added to the roster and isn’t likely to be selected.
|2013: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $220,000
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2011
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2007: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round, 128th overall pick; signed on June 18.|