A Baseball Weblog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Notes on Humber

The White Sox make their first visit to Yankee Stadium tonight, and on the mound will be Philip Humber.  Humber was part of the Mets' package in exchange for Johan Santana, and I think it would be fair to say that his career hasn't panned out exactly as many would have hoped.  He's had several stints in the big leagues dating back to 2006, and he hasn't had a whole lot of success.  After being taken third overall in the 2004 amateur draft, he posted good numbers in the Mets' minor league system; following the trade in January of 2008, Humber saw his strikeouts decrease and his walks increase, and after the 2009 season he was let go by the Twins.  He was picked up by the Royals and had a pretty good season for Triple A Omaha last year with much improved control (4.9% BBHBP rate, the best mark of his professional career).  Despite his improvements, the Royals released him and he was signed by the White Sox in January.  He's now in the rotation after starting the year as the team's long reliever, and he's expected to stay where he is until Jake Peavy returns from his arm injury.  

  • Humber has worked mainly with four pitches this year.  He throws a four-seam fastball that's typically around 90-91, a curveball around 80, a changeup in the mid-80s, and a mid-80s cutter that he learned this winter.  The cutter looked more like a traditional slider in his most recent start.  Humber may also throw a few two-seam sinkers, but not many.
  • He's about average in terms of getting ground balls (44% for his career, 43% this year).
  • He gives up plenty of contact (16% whiff rate so far this year).  The four pitches I've ID'd are all below average at getting swings-and-misses.
  • His control has been pretty good so far (fewer than 3 base-on-balls per 9 innings).  His career mark is 3.6.
Humber's track record isn't terribly impressive, but this chance with the White Sox might be what he needs to rejuvenate his career. 

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