BY ROB SHAW
One of the top stories for the White Sox last season was the breakout season by former first round pick Philip Humber. Selected by the Mets with the third pick of the 2004 draft, Humber dealt with injuries and never met expectations when he was traded for Johan Santana in 2008. The trade did not exactly work out for the Twins, as Humber moved to the White Sox and aside from him the only other key contributor is their former centerfielder Carlos Gomez, who proved to be a part-time player.
Last season, Humber finally got a crack at sticking in the Big Leagues. He made 26 starts and 28 appearances. Though his record was just 9-9, more impressive was his 3.75 ERA and 1.18 WHIP despite pitching in a hitter’s ballpark. What separates Humber from most pitchers is his devastating curveball. In fact, he ranked fourth in Major League Baseball last season with a .159 opposing average against his curveball.
If there is an area for Humber to improve, it’s his stamina. In his first full season in the Big Leagues, Humber experienced a major drop off after the fifth inning, as his ERA spiked from 2.96 to 6.34. At that point, his control fell a bit and his opposing average spiked to .305. Of course, the increased workload may explain the trend.
Humber has a dream week in fantasy baseball, as he opens with a start against an overzealous Orioles offense that lacks much plate discipline. He aced that test, allowing just one run to score in 5.1 innings of work, while fanning 7 batters. Next, he hurls in Seattle’s cavernous Safeco Field, against a mediocre Mariners offense.
Fantasy managers should plug Humber for both starts this week. For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.