- Full name Philip Gregory Humber
- Born 12/21/1982 in Nacogdoches, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Rice
- Debut 09/24/2006
Drafted in the 1st round (3rd overall) by the New York Mets in 2004 (signed for $3,000,000).
View Draft ReportHumber, who won the 2003 College World Series clincher against Stanford with a complete game five-hitter, might be the safest pick among the three Rice aces. He was the first to join the Owls' weekend rotation, doing so a month into his freshman season, and has been the most consistent. An 11-game winner for the third straight year, Humber ranked among NCAA Division I leaders in victories, ERA (1.80), strikeout-walk ratio (141-33 in 105 innings) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.1) in mid-May. He does it with three plus pitches: a 90-94 mph fastball that scrapes 97, a true 12-6 curveball, and a splitter that he uses as a changeup. The run on his fastball is inconsistent and the pitch flattens out at times, but his curveball is a big-time strikeout pitch and his splitter keeps batters off balance. Strong and durable at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he has been injury-free and has the most resilient arm of the Rice first-rounders. There's a little recoil in his delivery but it's not a huge issue. It will be an upset if Humber doesn't go in the first six picks of the draft.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The third overall choice in the 2004 draft and recipient of a $3 million bonus, Humber had an opportunity after the Mets included him in the Johan Santana trade. He pitched well in spring training, striking out nine and giving up just two runs in 14 innings in big league camp. However, he didn't make Minnesota's staff and didn't pitch well at chilly Rochester. He was demoted to the bullpen twice but finally got hot in late July, winning six of his last seven decisions, and he pitched well in relief during a September callup. While he hasn't had No. 3 overall pick stuff since Tommy John surgery in 2005, Humber still runs his 88-91 mph fastball up to 93-94 in shorter stints, and when he's right, he drives the ball downhill. His curveball remains a plus pitch, thrown with power in the upper 80s. He throws a solid changeup with some sink, but his fastball and change flatten out when he elevates them, leaving him vulnerable to home runs. Humber is out of options, which could help his cause in trying to earn a long-relief role in Minnesota in 2009.
Humber won the championship game of the 2003 College World Series and went third overall in the 2004 draft. He made just 15 pro starts before needing Tommy John surgery in July 2005, and he hasn't been the same pitcher since. He made his first big league start in September, giving up five runs in four innings. Humber still has the best curveball in the organization, and he has learned to shorten it up a bit and throw it for quality strikes. He's learning to spot his fastball better down in the zone, where it has more life. His changeup, which he has used since junking the splitter he had in college, has developed into an average pitch. At times Humber still tries to pitch up in the strike zone, and he doesn't have that kind of velocity anymore. His fastball ranges from 87-91 mph after he used to touch 94-95 at Rice. He's still refining his command two years after his elbow reconstruction. Humber is likely ready for on-the-job training in the majors, but he'll have to earn the spot in spring training. He now projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
The winning pitcher in the championship game of the 2003 College World Series, Humber went third overall in the 2004 draft and signed the following January. His big league deal included a $3 million bonus and $4.2 million guarantee. Tommy John surgery in July 2005 cut his pro debut short, but he was on the field one year later and quickly returned to his previous form. Humber's curveball is one of the best in the minors. Thrown at 74-78 mph, it has tight rotation with a powerful downward action. His fastball sits at 90-94 mph. He also features a developing low-80s changeup with late sink. He throws strikes with all three pitches. Humber has a tendency to overthrow, which tires him out and costs him his command. It also hurts his changeup, which loses its effectiveness when it climbs to 86-87 mph. As good as his curveball is, he could do a better job of throwing it for strikes because big league hitters will be less likely to chase it. Though his Arizona Fall League stint ended with a sore shoulder, an MRI revealed no damage and Humber is primed for his first full-season workload. Though his stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues, Humber will probably be better served with a full season in Triple- A to improve his endurance. He profiles as a No. 2 or 3 starter.
Humber won the final game of the 2003 College World Series and was one of three Rice pitchers to go in the first eight picks in 2004. Considered the safest bet among pitchers in that draft, Humber proved anything but after blowing out his elbow 15 starts into his pro career and had Tommy John surgery in July. Never fully healthy in his pro debut, Humber showed flashes of why he was a No. 3 overall pick. He has two plus pitches, a 12-to-6 curveball and a 91-94 mph fastball. He can vary the break on his curve so it runs in on lefthanders. His changeup eventually could give him a third above-average pitch. The biggest question is how he'll return from reconstructive elbow surgery. He fills the strike zone with all three of his pitches, but his command isn't at the same level of his control. He got hit hard when he left his fastball and changeup up and over the plate. The Mets hope Humber, like many Tommy John survivors, will come back stronger than before. He's scheduled to return to the mound in the second half of 2006.
One of three Rice righthanders to go in the top eight picks of the 2004 draft, Humber was the first selected and the first to sign. He waited until early January to come to terms, inking a five-year major league contract that includes a club-record $3 million bonus and $4.2 million in guaranteed money. Humber didn't have the highest ceiling in the draft, but he could make a case for being the safest choice. He has three potential plus pitches, starting with a 12-to-6 curveball the Mets rated as the best breaking ball in the entire draft. He also has a 90-94 mph fastball that has touched 97, and a splitter he uses as a changeup. He has clean mechanics, a sturdy frame and a resilient arm. Humber also has a long track record of success, going 35-8, 2.80 in three years at Rice and winning the College World Series-clinching game in 2003. His fastball can straighten out at times and there's a little recoil in his delivery, but neither is a major concern. Intense and introverted, Humber likely will begin his pro career in the warm weather of St. Lucie. With his pedigree and ability, he should reach Double-A quickly and may not need much more than a season in the minors before he pushes for a big league job.
Minor League Top Prospects
Humber showed glimpses of the talent that made him the third overall pick in 2004, but he also struggled with his command before being shut down in July after one start in Double-A. He had problems early on with an abdominal strain early on, then his elbow gave out in midsummer, necessitating Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Humber has a 90-94 mph fastball and an above-average 12-6 curveball. It's hard to say how long his elbow was bothering him and how much it contributed to his struggles. He had a knack for making the wrong pitch at the wrong time, prolonging innings rather than getting out of jams.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the New York Mets in 2008
- Rated Best Curveball in the New York Mets in 2007
- Rated Best Curveball in the New York Mets in 2006