What does a career 5.26 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and 1.46 K/BB mean when you “randomly” post a sensational 3.27 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 2.61 K/BB in a single season? It usually is the sign of a fluke. In the case of Chicago White Sox’s pitcher Philip Humber, he appears to be the definition of such. However, despite his unflattering journey with five franchises in five years, Humber could still be on a very fine career path starting at age 28.
Humber was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. The New York Mets were high on the 22 year old righty out of Rice University–and so were scouts. Baseball America ranked the pitcher as the #50 prospect in baseball in their pre-2005 rankings despite a mediocre debut in 2005 (5.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.35 K/BB). In 2006, Humber turned things around, to the tune of a 2.83 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 3.95 K/BB. The righty reached as high as Double-A in ’06, posting a 2.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 3.60 K/BB in 38 innings.
The prized prospect was promoted to Triple-A in 2007, but he saw his numbers slip a bit. He owned a 4.27 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 2.73 K/BB. Still solid stats, but the drop in strikeouts and spike in HR/9 (from 0.9 the year before to 1.4) was worrisome. Potential red flags aside, Humber was shipped off to the Minnesota Twins with Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, and Kevin Mulvey in exchange for ace pitcher Johan Santana. Knowing the Mets luck, people assumed Humber would instantly become the stud he was groomed to be. However, his “stud” status didn’t come so quickly. Continue reading