Jake Latz
Jake Latz

CLASS OF 2014

LHP

Jake
Latz

Kent State
Lemont (HS) • IL
6-2 • 190LBS • L/L

Rankings

2014 National

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2014 State

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Commitment

2014 DRAFT Blue Jays ROUND 11
2017 DRAFT Rangers ROUND 5
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6.13.17 - Drafted in the 5th round out of Kent State by the Texas Rangers. 

5/31/14 - Ranked No. 6 in Illinois’ 2014 class, No. 20 overall. LSU recruit.  6-foot-2, 190-pound frame.  Room to get stronger, but already a pro build.  Works from third base side of the rubber.  Over the winter, Latz was throwing a bit across his body, with his stride direction falling towards first base, and landing slightly closed at times.  It cut his hips off and affected his command in bullpens, where he would lose pitches to his arm side at times.  On Saturday this was no longer an issue.  He’s cleaned up his delivery and direction towards home.  His delivery out of the windup shows smooth tempo throughout, and cleaning up his lower half seemed to give him even better extension out front, giving him the ability to manipulate the baseball, especially with his off speed. He rocks back over the rubber and loads well on his backside before driving towards home.  His arm action is clean and fluid throughout, showing the ability to overthrow late in the count, but still maintain command.  Latz dominated Lincoln-Way West after giving up his first earned runs of the year in the second inning.  From the fourth to the seventh he struck out 10 of 13 batters faced, allowing only one single.  His fastball sat mostly 89-91 in the first, sprinkling in a few at 87-88.  He came out possibly overthrowing a bit, leaving some pitches up, but after they regained the lead he settled down in the 86-88 range for the duration of the game.  Every inning when he needed it, he reached back for 89-90 especially in two strike counts.  His fastball stays true to his glove side, and shows some run to his arm side, but even when it stays straight at the lower end of his velocity range it has late life and gets on hitters quick.  His curveball improved as the game went along as well.  Early on it was 77-78 and he spiked it a few times.  It actually showed better shape and two-plane break in the later innings at 73-76.  What really set Latz apart today was 78-80 mph changeup.  He hasn’t needed to use it much this year, but after the third he threw it around 8-10 times, inducing weak contact, and a few swings and misses.  The pitch was thrown with identical arm speed as his fastball, and has late arm side run with nasty downward action at times.  With all three pitches working hitter’s didn’t have a chance.  Latz had two three pitch sequences in the sixth that were unfair.  To one hitter he went 89 fastball 77 swing and miss change down, and 90 for the strikeout up.  Another he went 86 fastball, 78 swing and miss change down, 74 down and in curveball to a right handed hitter for the strikeout.  He struck out four in the seventh thanks to a 2-strike curveball bouncing away, and his last fastball of the game registered 89 for his 13th and final strikeout.  He threw 79 of 107 pitches for strikes (74%), and threw first pitch strikes to 20 of 28 hitters.  On pro scouting scale right now, he shows below average to average fastball velocity (possibly closer to average due him being left handed) and two secondary offerings that are above average right now flashing plus.  Two changeups that produced swings and misses had late screwball action that definitely were plus.  The last four frames were the most dominant and impressive pitching performance I’ve witnessed in Illinois this season, it was a pleasure to watch.  His performances of late may leave him with a tough decision after Thursday’s MLB draft.

5/3/14 Ranked No. 6 in Illinois’ 2014 class, No. 20 overall. LSU recruit. Although Latz didn’t make his first start until April 10, the left-hander continues to see his draft stock climb with each passing start. Latz has been lights out in all four starts this season; helping his cause is the scarcity of left-handed prospects in the Midwest. Latz is pitching with an enhanced level of polish this spring, working with a measured purpose, not always trying to light up the gun, but adding and subtracting on his fastball, and grabbing more velocity when he wants it, even in later innings. Everyone always talk about velocity, but Latz’s curveball is a true separator from his peers. For a high school pitcher, he commands his curveball as well as I’ve seen in recent years. It’s a true 12/6 breaking ball with sharp, late break. He throws the pitch with conviction – and more firmly than a year ago – now in the 74-76 range. On Saturday against No. 9 Lincoln-Way West, Latz was in complete control from the start. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder cruised to a four-hit complete game with 13 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batsman. Lincoln-Way West only reached second base once, in the second inning, before Latz struck out the next two batters. Latz finished with gusto, too, striking out three in the seventh, along with issuing his only walk of the game. In regards to his fastball velocity, he opened the game at 87-88, and pitched the rest of the way at 85-88, sitting mostly at 86. However, in the sixth and seventh innings, when he wanted a little more giddy-up, he bumped a few 89s. His velocity was consistent out of the windup and stretch, and his fastball had significant arm-side run with late life. Personally, what I found so refreshing about Latz’s outing was he worked off his fastball. Most times, when a high school pitcher has a dominant secondary pitch, he will throw it way too much. And although he has shown good feel for a changeup in the past, he only threw it three times (to my unofficial count), two of which came in the seventh inning. Why? Because he didn’t need it … and an 80-81 mph changeup looks like an average high school fastball to high school hitters. He also threw a boatload of strikes and works fast, which resulted in a 90-minute game … which I reallyappreciate.

4/18/14 - LSU commit, ranked No. 6 in the state, No. 20 overall. Latz is a high interest LHP prospect who has ready stuff with some polish and projection. Typical lean athletic build, 6-foot-2, 190-pounds. Delivery is compact and works online, shows athleticism, out of the windup leg lift has some coil, squared foot strike. Lower half is modified from the stretch, doesn’t get same coil, leg lift is straight up, premeditated pick move, going forward will need to improve to control run game better. Arm action is clean and desirable, high ¾ slot, clean separation and loose finish, little effort. Fastball finishes well, shows arm side run, showed the ability to pitch to both sides of the plate, at times looked aggressive going in on right handed hitters, sat at 87-88 mph in the first inning touching 89 mph. Dialed down to 84-86 mph for most of the middle innings with occasional spikes of 88 mph when needed. Showed high level competitiveness/moxy in the seventh with possibly his best stuff of the game, fastball sat back at 87-88 mph, with tight sharp curveball topping at 77 mph. Overall curveball has advanced attributes, has feel with tight spin, also showed the ability to expand the zone down with swing and miss action, ranged 73-76 mph and worked mostly on 1/7 plane. Used changeup sparingly at 80-81 mph, flashed sink with slight action to arm side, potential to be on par with breaking ball as he uses it more. In Latz’s second outing of the year he impressed with ability to store velocity for later in the game, although velocity declined through middle innings his ability to retrieve it later shows his ability to be a starter and add velocity down the road.
5/25/13 - LSU recruit, currently ranked No. 4 in Illinois’ 2014 class; No. 11 overall. Easy to see why the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Latz will be one of the focal points with Midwest pro scouts next year. His delivery is extremely athletic, repeats, arm is quick and loose. Most importantly, though, he has big-time stuff. His 70-74 mph curveball is a plus pitch already. He throws it with confidence and for strikes. Curveball has excellent depth, with late 11/5 break. In the early innings, his fastball ranged between 84-88 mph. In the fourth inning, when Joliet Catholic’s dugout got especially chirpy, Latz dialed up several 90s and 89s. As the game progressed, Latz’s fastball had significant arm-side run, and wasn’t afraid to start it in on right-handers and run it back. Sprinkled in occasional changeup. For the game, Latz struck out 12 and walked three. He yielded four hits, all coming in the first three innings.

6/12/12 Latz is an advanced 6-foot-2, 170-pound left-handed pitcher who impressed with his sound mechanics and command of three pitches.  Latz’s throws from a high 3/4 slot and creates good rhythm on the mound.  His fastball was consistent in the mid to high 80’s, touching an event best 87 mph, with ease multiple times.  Latz’s curveball, which sat at 71-73 mph, displayed a sharp 2/8 movement with tight spin.  Latz also throws a 71-74 mph changeup with solid arm side run and sink.
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