(Waldorf, MD, March 8th, 2022) The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs announced the signing of the past two Atlantic League Relievers of the Year on Tuesday afternoon. Mat Latos, the Crabs’ closer, and Endrys Briceno, the setup man, combine for a 1.85 ERA in 151 innings of work dating back to 2019.
Returning for his third year with the Blue Crabs, Mat Latos has solidified his status among the most feared arms in the Atlantic League. In his first year with the Crabs, the six-foot-six closer was named the 2019 Atlantic League Reliever of the Year thanks to a 1.06 ERA to accompany a 0.65 WHIP on the season. Latos was nearly untouchable in 2019, stringing together nine straight perfect innings, 14 consecutive hitless innings, and 20 straight scoreless innings. In 2021, the nine-year MLB veteran was 24 for 25 in save opportunities, and picked up three saves in under 24 hours to clinch a playoff spot for Southern Maryland. The 2010 NL Cy Young candidate was an 11th round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2006 MLB Draft and played for eight teams at the MLB level before transitioning to the Atlantic League. The Alexandria, Virginia native brings MLB-proven security to a Crabs’ bullpen that already has vast experience.
Endrys Briceno comes back to the Blue Crabs fresh off the best season of his career. The Venezuelan born setup man appeared in 51 games in 2021, the second most in the league. Even with the heavy workload, Briceno posted a miniscule 1.87 ERA despite the average ERA being above 6.00 in the league in 2021. In September of 2021, the 30-year-old struck out 26 batters in 13 innings, including a five strikeout performance in just 1 1/3 innings pitched on September 4th. The reigning Atlantic League Reliever of The Year is entering his second season with Southern Maryland after spending a decade in the Detroit Tigers organization.
“Mat Latos and Endrys Briceno were arguably the best two relievers in the Atlantic League in 2021. No one in the Atlantic League has a bullpen that can shorten the game like we do. If we have a lead going into the eighth inning and can turn to Briceno and Latos, we like our chances,” said Blue Crabs General Manager, Courtney Knichel.