Latimer is Lati-more for Red Sox
Written by: Joel Priest
Was it coincidence, or was it destiny?
No matter which, when he was selected by Boston in the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, it couldn’t have come as a complete surprise to Bayfield graduate Will Latimer.
After all, he was already pitching in a Red Sox jersey—of sorts.
Playing for Regina (Saskatchewan) of Canada’s Western Major Baseball League this summer, Latimer was Beantown’s 22nd-round pick—the 684th player taken. He was one of seven left-handers taken by the club, and one of four Coloradans overall. Fellow small-school lefty hurler Scott Cure (Idalia HS) was taken in the 43rd round, #1,259 overall, following an All-State year that included a 5-1 record, 0.95 ERA, and 107 strikeouts.
Latimer was the first Wolverine drafted since the N.Y. Mets took Jake Harrington in 2004.
“I thought I would go higher, but things don’t usually work out the way you expect them to,” Latimer, 21, told the Regina Leader-Post. “I still feel very privileged to get drafted and have the chance to play pro ball.”
He was unavailable for comment during Times attempts earlier this week.
A member of BHS’ Class of 2004 (in which he was both All-IML and All-3A), Latimer wrapped up his second and final season at Trinidad State JC before heading north of the border, and did so in style. Playing for skipper Scott Douglas—also his coach with Regina—Latimer, now 6’3” and 190 pounds, went 7-4 in 2007 for the Trojans who finished 34-26 overall. He was named NJCAA All-Region IX Second Team after also posting a slender 2.03 ERA (allowing zero homers and only 18 earned runs in his 62 innings) during the regular season, and striking out 54. He started 12 of the 13 games he appeared in, completing three.
“Back when I first got him he was just this tall, skinny kid,” recalled BHS head coach Ken Hibbard. “He was afraid to throw his fastball—and that’s because he didn’t have one back then. But now he’s grown a lot, got some meat on him, and now he’s up in the high 80’s [miles per hour] and even gotten up into the low 90’s a couple times. It’s funny what happens in this game!”
Following a mentally-taxing redshirt year, Latimer competed as a freshman in 2006 at TSJC and appeared in a team-high 20 games primarily out of the bullpen, started three, and saved three others.
Fanning 32 batters, he went 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA, while holding his opponents to a paltry .193 batting average, best on the Trojans’ staff.
Having previously committed in April to finish his college ball at Mesa State in Grand Junction, Latimer beat the August 15 signing deadline by a month and a day, and was assigned to the rookie-level GCL Red Sox (2006 Gulf Coast League champs) in Fort Myers, Florida.
He had pulled reliever duty in Regina, recording a 4.50 ERA in four games with eight K’s.
The road to Fenway Park could then stop (or even bypass): in Single-A ball for the Lowell, Mass., Spinners of the New York-Penn League, or in Greenville, South Carolina, for the South Atlantic League’s Drive, or in Lancaster, California, for the California League’s JetHawks; in Double-A for the Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs of the Eastern League; or in Triple-A for the Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Red Sox of the International League.
“There’s thousands, millions—I don’t know exactly—of high school kids that play baseball, and just look at how few of them actually get drafted,” said Hibbard. “I’m so proud of him for following his dream like he’s done, and who knows? He’s a great kid and an outstanding person, and maybe one day that dream of being a major leaguer will come true!”