Scouting Report: RHP Philip Humber

The New York Mets drafted Philip Humber in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Rice University. Armed with tremendous stuff, the third overall pick in 2004 pitched in just 15 games last season before needing Tommy John surgery. Here's a scouting report on Philip Humber.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Philip Humber
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: December 21, 1982
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The 2005 season started out with such promise for Philip Humber, the Mets' hot-shot No. 1 draft choice (third overall) out of Rice University.

Signed by the Mets in January to a five-year major league contract (reports indicated the deal had $4.2 million guaranteed, plus a $3 million signing bonus), Humber's future appeared as bright as the afternoon he arrived in Port St. Lucie, fresh off acing his physical in New York and sharing a private flight with Carlos Beltran.

"I was hoping I'd be drafted by a team that would have a chance to win," Humber said then. "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'm just excited to become a part of the tradition that I think we're starting right now."

But, following a taste of big league camp in which Humber got two innings in against the Washington Nationals, boasted one of the better curveballs in the clubhouse and was even mentioned as an outside contender for the major league rotation, Humber was shipped to the far side of the complex and minor league camp.

The rest of Humber's season wasn't to be quite as storybook.

The 22-year-old started his professional career by losing his first five decisions for St. Lucie in the Florida State League. He finally snapped out of the funk on June 11, recording his first victory, and was promoted to Double-A Binghamton less than a month later.

The stats weren't pretty – a 4.99 ERA and a 2-6 record – but Humber had struck out 65 batters in 70.1 innings at St. Lucie, walking just 18.

"He was just starting to find it when he was sent to Double-A," said Andy Wilson, a catcher at St. Lucie. "He was starting to look a little more dominant out there."

But by July 11, Humber's season was unexpectedly over, having been lifted from his first Eastern League start against Norwich after four innings of work: the symptom was nagging elbow pain, and the diagnosis even worse – Tommy John surgery.

"I've been really blessed so far," Humber said. "I haven't had any setbacks and I've been progressing right along with the program. I actually feel like I'm a little ahead of schedule."

It was clear to Humber's St. Lucie teammates that the pitches humming toward Florida State League hitters weren't quite the same offerings that had created such buzz on the complex's back fields two or three months prior, nor the ones that generated 422 strikeouts in three seasons at Rice.

"Everybody chalked it up to a little bit of arm fatigue," Wilson said. "He had a long college season the year before. We knew he wasn't popping the mitt a lot of times with the velocity he's able to throw. A lot of guys were wondering. … We knew he wasn't pitching the way he could pitch."

Yet, Humber at diminished strength was still something to behold, fellow pitcher Evan MacLane noted.

"I would sit in the stands every time he threw," MacLane said. "He was so aggressive with his fastball and he probably has one of the best curveballs I've ever seen. If he can control that curveball, he's unstoppable."

For the record, Humber isn't sure exactly when the pain became more than he could handle, but one would have to surmise Humber's effectiveness became compromised around mid-May.

Though Humber lost his first five decisions for St. Lucie, none were terribly poor efforts; in efforts on May 25 and June 6 against Tampa and Palm Beach, however, Humber allowed seven and eight earned runs, respectively.

"I feel like last year was a rough year, overall," Humber said. "Look at the numbers, and they're not good. That's not the kind of year I'm used to putting up; I'm used to winning. I would like to prove to myself that I deserved to be a first-round pick."

Cleared to begin soft-toss activities just five months after undergoing the July surgery with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Humber won't be involved in this spring's competition around Tradition Field, but he hopes to be back in action by mid-June. The Mets seem content with that recovery period.

"Everything is on track," said Kevin Morgan, the Mets' director of minor league operations. "We're looking at later in the summer sometime, without any setbacks. It's hard to say any date, but we're not going to rush him. We're going to make sure everything goes as planned."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2005

Binghamton

0-1

4.0

4

2

2

6.75

2005

St. Lucie

2-6

70.1

74

18

65

4.99



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Splitter.

Fastball. Humber possesses a Major League fastball that sits in the 90-93 MPH range and topped off at 96-97 MPH in college, but he didn't show that kind of velocity in his first season in the Mets' system before his season ended prematurely with Tommy John surgery. Prior to his early exit in 2005, Humber's fastball sat more in the 88-91 MPH range. Many pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery are able to throw harder than they could before the surgery and Humber and the Mets are hoping he can at least rediscover the velocity he displayed in college. Humber also throws a split-finger fastball that many people inside baseball believes will become his out pitch in the professional ranks and at the Major League level.

Other Pitches. Humber throws a plus curveball, one of the better ones in the Mets' farm system. Not the traditional 12-6 curveball, Humber's is more of an 11-5 power curveball with a hard break that he throws in the 75-81 MPH range. It was his out pitch in college and while it is a very good pitch for him, many believe it won't be his strikeout pitch at the Major League level. He compliments his repertoire with a developing changeup, a pitch that he didn't throw much in college. The premature ending to his inaugural season hurt the development of his changeup which is the pitch that Humbers needs the most work on as he makes his way towards Shea Stadium.

Pitching. Humber is a bulldog pitcher on the mound that attacks opposing batters and challenges them. He has very good control of his pitches and he despises allowing the free pass. He has very good makeup on the mound and seems un-phased in the face of adversity, a trait that was developed while winning a College World Series with Rice University. Despite the high expectations of being a top pick in the draft and confident in his game, one of Humber's greatest traits is his willingness to listen to coaches and his insatiable desire to improve his craft. He is so stubborn and steadfast in his goals that many inside the Mets' organization are not worried about a full recovery. Humber's work ethic separates him from most other pitching prospects and that characteristic will serve him well in the future.

Projection. How Humber recovers from his Tommy John surgery will be the tell-tale sign of how he projects at the Major League level. While possessing a strong arm, Humber doesn't have the electric stuff to be an ace in the big leagues. But with a very good fastball, a plus curveball, and a solid splitter, Humber will be a solid addition in the middle of the Mets' rotation in the future. The development of his changeup, a pitch that he hasn't been able to work on too much thus far, will also have a significant impact on his future success. Humber projects to be a Kris Benson type once he returns from the injury and makes his way to Shea Stadium.

ETA. 2008. Chances are that Humber won't be ready for game action by the start of the 2006 season. In fact, the early word for his return is not until May or June, at the earliest. Once he does return, he'll likely begin pitching for the St. Lucie Mets so Mets' officials can keep a close eye on him before making his way back to AA-Binghamton. 2006 will be more of slow return for Humber, which is why he'll most likely need all of 2007 to get some serious work done. Humber's injury has pushed his Major League ETA back until 2008 most likely.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Philip Humber
\r\nPosition: Starting Pitcher
\r\nDOB: December 21, 1982
\r\nHeight: 6'4\"
\r\nWeight: 220
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nThe 2005 season started out with such promise for Philip Humber, the Mets' hot-shot No. 1 draft choice (third overall) out of Rice University.
\r\n
\r\nSigned by the Mets in January to a five-year major league contract (reports indicated the deal had $4.2 million guaranteed, plus a $3 million signing bonus), Humber's future appeared as bright as the afternoon he arrived in Port St. Lucie, fresh off acing his physical in New York and sharing a private flight with Carlos Beltran.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was hoping I'd be drafted by a team that would have a chance to win,\" Humber said then. \"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'm just excited to become a part of the tradition that I think we're starting right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut, following a taste of big league camp in which Humber got two innings in against the Washington Nationals, boasted one of the better curveballs in the clubhouse and was even mentioned as an outside contender for the major league rotation, Humber was shipped to the far side of the complex and minor league camp.
\r\n
\r\nThe rest of Humber's season wasn't to be quite as storybook.
\r\n
\r\nThe 22-year-old started his professional career by losing his first five decisions for St. Lucie in the Florida State League. He finally snapped out of the funk on June 11, recording his first victory, and was promoted to Double-A Binghamton less than a month later.
\r\n
\r\nThe stats weren't pretty – a 4.99 ERA and a 2-6 record – but Humber had struck out 65 batters in 70.1 innings at St. Lucie, walking just 18.
\r\n
\r\n\"He was just starting to find it when he was sent to Double-A,\" said Andy Wilson, a catcher at St. Lucie. \"He was starting to look a little more dominant out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut by July 11, Humber's season was unexpectedly over, having been lifted from his first Eastern League start against Norwich after four innings of work: the symptom was nagging elbow pain, and the diagnosis even worse – Tommy John surgery.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been really blessed so far,\" Humber said. \"I haven't had any setbacks and I've been progressing right along with the program. I actually feel like I'm a little ahead of schedule.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt was clear to Humber's St. Lucie teammates that the pitches humming toward Florida State League hitters weren't quite the same offerings that had created such buzz on the complex's back fields two or three months prior, nor the ones that generated 422 strikeouts in three seasons at Rice.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everybody chalked it up to a little bit of arm fatigue,\" Wilson said. \"He had a long college season the year before. We knew he wasn't popping the mitt a lot of times with the velocity he's able to throw. A lot of guys were wondering. … We knew he wasn't pitching the way he could pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nYet, Humber at diminished strength was still something to behold, fellow pitcher Evan MacLane noted.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would sit in the stands every time he threw,\" MacLane said. \"He was so aggressive with his fastball and he probably has one of the best curveballs I've ever seen. If he can control that curveball, he's unstoppable.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor the record, Humber isn't sure exactly when the pain became more than he could handle, but one would have to surmise Humber's effectiveness became compromised around mid-May.
\r\n
\r\nThough Humber lost his first five decisions for St. Lucie, none were terribly poor efforts; in efforts on May 25 and June 6 against Tampa and Palm Beach, however, Humber allowed seven and eight earned runs, respectively.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like last year was a rough year, overall,\" Humber said. \"Look at the numbers, and they're not good. That's not the kind of year I'm used to putting up; I'm used to winning. I would like to prove to myself that I deserved to be a first-round pick.\"
\r\n
\r\nCleared to begin soft-toss activities just five months after undergoing the July surgery with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Humber won't be involved in this spring's competition around Tradition Field, but he hopes to be back in action by mid-June. The Mets seem content with that recovery period.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything is on track,\" said Kevin Morgan, the Mets' director of minor league operations. \"We're looking at later in the summer sometime, without any setbacks. It's hard to say any date, but we're not going to rush him. We're going to make sure everything goes as planned.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Binghamton

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

\r\n 4.0

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 6.75

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n St. Lucie

\r\n

\r\n 2-6

\r\n

\r\n 70.1

\r\n

\r\n 74

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 65

\r\n

\r\n 4.99


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Splitter.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Humber possesses a Major League fastball that sits in the 90-93 MPH range and topped off at 96-97 MPH in college, but he didn't show that kind of velocity in his first season in the Mets' system before his season ended prematurely with Tommy John surgery. Prior to his early exit in 2005, Humber's fastball sat more in the 88-91 MPH range. Many pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery are able to throw harder than they could before the surgery and Humber and the Mets are hoping he can at least rediscover the velocity he displayed in college. Humber also throws a split-finger fastball that many people inside baseball believes will become his out pitch in the professional ranks and at the Major League level.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Humber throws a plus curveball, one of the better ones in the Mets' farm system. Not the traditional 12-6 curveball, Humber's is more of an 11-5 power curveball with a hard break that he throws in the 75-81 MPH range. It was his out pitch in college and while it is a very good pitch for him, many believe it won't be his strikeout pitch at the Major League level. He compliments his repertoire with a developing changeup, a pitch that he didn't throw much in college. The premature ending to his inaugural season hurt the development of his changeup which is the pitch that Humbers needs the most work on as he makes his way towards Shea Stadium.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Humber is a bulldog pitcher on the mound that attacks opposing batters and challenges them. He has very good control of his pitches and he despises allowing the free pass. He has very good makeup on the mound and seems un-phased in the face of adversity, a trait that was developed while winning a College World Series with Rice University. Despite the high expectations of being a top pick in the draft and confident in his game, one of Humber's greatest traits is his willingness to listen to coaches and his insatiable desire to improve his craft. He is so stubborn and steadfast in his goals that many inside the Mets' organization are not worried about a full recovery. Humber's work ethic separates him from most other pitching prospects and that characteristic will serve him well in the future.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. How Humber recovers from his Tommy John surgery will be the tell-tale sign of how he projects at the Major League level. While possessing a strong arm, Humber doesn't have the electric stuff to be an ace in the big leagues. But with a very good fastball, a plus curveball, and a solid splitter, Humber will be a solid addition in the middle of the Mets' rotation in the future. The development of his changeup, a pitch that he hasn't been able to work on too much thus far, will also have a significant impact on his future success. Humber projects to be a Kris Benson type once he returns from the injury and makes his way to Shea Stadium.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2008. Chances are that Humber won't be ready for game action by the start of the 2006 season. In fact, the early word for his return is not until May or June, at the earliest. Once he does return, he'll likely begin pitching for the St. Lucie Mets so Mets' officials can keep a close eye on him before making his way back to AA-Binghamton. 2006 will be more of slow return for Humber, which is why he'll most likely need all of 2007 to get some serious work done. Humber's injury has pushed his Major League ETA back until 2008 most likely.
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