Philip Humber Exclusive Q&A

No. 1 pick Philip Humber joined Inside Pitch for an exclusive interview in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, one day after the Rice righthander signed a $4.2 million contract with the Mets.

You're finally able to put that Mets jersey and cap on, after a long and drawn out negotiations process. How does it feel today being here?

Finally is right. I mean, it seems like it's been two years since I picked up a baseball and got out there and actually played. But it's exciting – how could you not be excited, I'm joining a team that's had so many great signings over the winter. I really feel like it's a really good time to be a Met.

Are you getting closer to seeing yourself standing on the mound in a Mets uniform?

I can envision it. I can see myself standing on a major league mound. But I've got to work hard, pitch within myself and hopefully get there as soon as possible.

You missed out on a chance to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this season. Were you disappointed?

Yeah, I would have loved to have gotten out last year, but I don't know that I lost that much other than getting my feet wet, especially with the rotation the Mets have. I mean, those are five solid guys. It looks like I'll be learning some things in spring training and soaking in all I can from Pedro [Martinez] and [Tom] Glavine and all those guys. I've got a long camp ahead of me and I'm ready to get started.

If you were writing a scouting report on yourself, how would you start?

Well, I think of myself as a power guy. Throughout my college career, I was always a guy who had good stuff so I'm going to get a lot of guys out, get a lot of punch-outs. I respect major league hitters and minor league hitters, but I'm not scared of any hitter. I'll go right after them and hopefully my stuff is good enough.

What about your stuff? What do you usually use on the mound?

I think any power pitcher throws mostly 91 – 94 [MPH] fastballs, and 97 maybe. So I pitch off my fastball, but any time I want to I'll snap that breaking ball off. I've been successful with that, and then I have a change-up that I didn't use much in college because it doesn't really work as well with aluminum bats as it does with wood bats. I throw a split-finger fastball as well, so [I have] good stuff. The biggest part of my game is going after and attacking hitters. You can't strike a guy out if you don't throw strikes, so I'm going to come right at you.

Tell us a little more about your breaking pitch.

It's a curveball, and it's probably what you'd call 11-to-5. It's not a true 12-to-6, but it's a hard 11-to-5 curveball. I'll throw that in the low 80s.

Is there a major league pitcher you can envision yourself as comparing to?

It's hard to compare to a guy in the major leagues. Any of the top guys, they have one thing in common – they have go right after guys and they step up in big games. They all have different stuff but it has to be good stuff in order to get major league hitters out. All of these guys on the Mets have good stuff and go after and attack guys, and I'm going to try and learn a lot from a guy like Pedro. I'm a little bigger than Pedro and I think we have different styles, but he's a great guy to take things from as far as how he goes about his business. There's a guy I'd like to be.

Did you expect to be drafted by the Mets, or were you looking at other teams?

Well, the day of the draft, my agent told me to expect anywhere from No. 2 to No. 6. So I didn't really know who it was going to be, but I was hoping I'd be drafted by a team that would have a chance to win. I wound up with the Mets and you know that it's going to be possible, because they're able to go out and get free agents. I was totally thrilled when I heard my name called, and I'm just excited to become a part of the tradition that I think we're starting right now.

What did you do to keep in shape during the long negotiations layoff?

The only thing I really couldn't do was go out on the mound and throw a whole lot, for fear of hurting myself. With that, it's tough to go out and compete against live competition. Other than that, I did everything that I've always done, so I feel that going into spring training I'll be right up to speed with the other guys.

Is there a location in the Mets system that you, in your mind, see yourself being assigned to?

The weather here [in St. Lucie] is pretty nice right now (Humber laughs). Wherever they have me, I'm just ready to go out there and play baseball. It wouldn't matter to me if it was on a sandlot right now. I'm chomping at the bit because it's been so long. I'm just ready to get started and get going.

You were in New York on Tuesday to take your physical, then traveled down here to Florida with Carlos Beltran. What was that like?

Oh, Carlos is a great guy. Man, he was so friendly and down to earth. I'm real happy the Mets were able to work that out – I'm a Houston Astros fan, so I was a little bit torn. Of course I wanted to have him on my team, but if the Mets weren't going to get him, I was hoping the Astros would. I think everybody was a little surprised. But obviously you want that guy on your team.

Bryan Hoch is a regular contributor to

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