Phil Humber Claimed by Oakland Athletics
According to Bob Dutton’s tweet and MLB.com, the Oakland A’s have claimed former Mets prospect Phil Humber off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.
Ironically, Humber was placed on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster after the Royals signed another ex-Met — Jeff Francoeur.
Though Humber came nowhere near fulfilling the promise he showed as an ace pitcher for Rice, I’ve always had a soft spot for him. After leaving the Mets organization in the Johan Santana deal, Humber struggled in two AAA seasons in Twins’ organization — not a good thing for a team as deep in young pitching as Minnesota. He pitched most of last year for the Royals’ AAA team and his numbers don’t look great. But, he did compete in the PCL, which is considered a “hitters’ league”. Indeed, most teams in PCL averaged over 5 runs per game and .780 OPS (to put that in perspective, the average AL team scored a little less than 4 1/2 runs per game and posted a .730 OPS last year). The average PCL pitcher has a 4.78 ERA and Humber’s was 4.47 in 118 IP. Not great, but what stands out is his 1.5 BB/9 IP and 4.0 K/BB percentage.
Personally I haven’t seen him “in the flesh” since he left the Mets so can’t comment on his velocity, command, or anything else about his stuff. But the fact that the Royals were protecting him on their 40-man, combined with the Athletics jumping on him so quickly, suggests that there are people who believe that Humber might still have a chance to contribute in some capacity at the MLB level. And since he’s in the Adulterated League, I feel comfortable wishing him the best of luck.