Tag:Phil Humber
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
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Homegrown Team: New York Mets



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.

Lineup

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C

Starting Rotation

1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett

Bullpen

Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman

Notable Bench Players

Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.

What's Good?

I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.

What's Not?

The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.

Next: Cincinnati Reds

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 1:14 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Moore drops jaws against Yankees

Moore

By Evan Brunell

Matt Moore, Rays:  A month ago, Matt Moore wasn't even in the majors. Thursday, he stopped a potential Yankees sweep by punching out 11 pinstripers in five innings, allowing just four hits and showing the world just why he's a top prospect and why the Rays aren't going anywhere any time soon. In his first start, Moore set a record for strikeouts in a debut, with teammate Wade Davis punching out nine in 2009.

Jemile Weeks, Athletics: It was a beautiful day for Weeks, who rapped out a 3-for-3 night while slugging -- used in the weakest terms possible -- his first home run of the year. Weeks isn't known for power, but is hitting .303 with 21 stolen bases on the season. Weeks has been pretty bad defensively and earned Eye on Baseball's tin glove award but has sewn up a starting spot next season.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rockies: When the Rockies picked up Kouzmanoff at the trade deadline, there was a bit of a muted rumbling as people wondered if the failed third baseman could succeed in Colorado. You see, Kouzmanoff had a few solid years in San Diego, flashing power and solid defense. However, he played in a pitcher's park, and Oakland was no better when he was dealt in 2010. Despite hitting 23 homers in 2008, Kouz has sank to .218/.277/.317 this year before Thursday's game where he bashed a homer and collected three hits. It's a blip on the screen for Kouzmanoff, who has failed to impress in Colorado and now looks like he might be washing out entirely.



Jason Motte, Cardinals: Jason Motte prevented the Cardinals from pulling to one game behind the Braves for the NL wild card. OK, it wasn't just Motte, but boy. He walked three of five batters, starting the ninth with a 6-2 edge. After three walks plus an error, a run had scored and then Mark Rzepcynski and Fernando Salas gave up back-to-back hits to tie the game up. An intentional walk and merciful strikeout later, Willie Harris delivered the capping blow with a two-run single. Motte is considered the favorite to close for the Cards next year but isn't helping his cause lately.

Phil Humber, White Sox: Humber was one of the first-half season surprises, but the second half has been about injuries and regression. Humber was torched for seven runs in six innings against the Indians and has now allowed four-plus runs in seven of his last nine starts. His ERA is still good at 3.86, but the White Sox would do well to only consider him a No. 4 starter.

Bartolo Colon, Yankees: Colon and his newfound arm got bombed by the Rays, giving up seven runs (five earned) in three innings.  Colon also gave up seven hits and walked one while striking out just one, and those are numbers that a Yankee fan won't care to see because not only dd Colon have a bad start, he deserved every part of it by giving up eight baserunners even as the Yankees wondered what the brown things on their hands were for, committing four errors in the game. At this point, does Colon even make a start in October?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:03 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kershaw fires gem, Trumbo walks off

Kershaw

By Evan Brunell

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: All of a sudden, Clayton Kershaw is making the NL Cy Young Award race one to watch, as Roy Halladay may not have as firm a grip on the award as might have otherwise been thought. After pumping six strikeouts past the Brewers in eight innings, the lefty lowered his ERA to 2.60 after yet another scoreless outing. Those six strikeouts inched him to one shy of 200 whiffs on the season. Let's compare Kershaw to Halladay, starting with the youngster first: 15-5 in 183 2/3 IP, 2.60 ERA, 199 K, 46 BB. Halladay has a 15-5 record in 184 2/3 IP with a 2.53 ERA, 177 K and 23 BB. I'd still take Halladay, but it's close enough that this is a race.

Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays: The ex-Cardinal didn't get his tenure in Toronto off to a fast start, but if Thursday is any indication of what he can put together on a regular bases, the Blue Jays will be quite pleased. Rasmus went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBI, chipping in three runs as Toronto downed Oakland. It was the center fielder's fifth multi-hit game with Toronto, and his first with three hits. His bat must be heating up in the power department, because it's the second straight game he's driven a home run, sending his total from 13 to 15 in two days, and he's totaled eight RBI in his last three games.

Mark Trumbo, Angels: And just like that, the Angels snapped their five-game losing streak, stopped Texas from winning seven straight and closed the AL West deficit to a still-imposing six games. How did that happen? At the hands of Mark Trumbo, who delivered a two-run walk-off home run off of Mike Adams in the bottom of the ninth to turn a dispiriting 1-0 loss into a wild 4-0 victory. This was a game L.A. desperately needed, especially given that the Rangers run had come off of the bat of Mike Napoli with a homer. Trumbo had one other hit in the game, but his OBP is still under .300 for the year.



Phil Humber, White Sox: Phil Humber received a nasty scare on Thursday when a Kosuke Fukudome liner found the area just above his right eye, sending Humber sprawling on the mound. He was able to get up right away, though, and lobbied to stay in the game. The ChiSox weren't having any of it, so the righty left the game having pitched just 1 1/3 innings, giving up three hits, no walks or runs and punching out three. "I told them I was good, I felt like I could still pitch and wanted to be out there," Humber told the Chicago Tribune. "But at the same time, they got a job to do and take every precaution that there wasn’t anything serious going on.”

Travis Hafner, Indians:  After a three-hit game against the Red Sox on Aug. 4, Hafner was enjoying a .300/.386/.491 season. That was a step below his .347/.428/.567 line on July 7, but it was inevitable for Hafner to come back to earth. Well, that three-hit day didn't stave off the decline. While Hafner's still stayed reasonably productive, that line continues to drop, and now after striking out three times in five plate appearances on Thursday when he went hitless with an intentional walk, Hafner is at .288/.368/.461. He also struck out to end the sixth with the bases loaded and two runs already in. The Indians still won the game 4-2, but Hafner could have broke it open.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Last season, Trevor Cahill was an All-Star and received Cy Young Award votes. He wasn't named to the All-Star team this season, although that wasn't indicative of a bad season, as his 3.92 ERA was still solid. Well, it was. A seven-run outburst by tje Blue Jays knocked Cahill out of the game after 5 1/3 innings, sending his ERA skittering up to 4.17. Cahill allowed nine hits and two walks, while striking out two. Cahill has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde (mostly Jekyll) pitcher since the beginning of June, with a 5.83 ERA to show for it.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:50 pm
 

On Deck: Angels need Weaver to play stopper

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

WeaverCy Watch
: Jered Weaver allowed eight earned runs his last time out against the Blue Jays in his worst start on the year by far. That shot his ERA up to 2.13 from 1.78 and is quickly losing ground to Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race. Not only for that race does Weaver need to show up, but the Angels desperately need some help. Los Angeles is taking a five-game losing streak up against six straight for Texas, with Thursday night wrapping up a four-game series that has seen L.A. slip to seven games back. If the Angels want any hope of staying in the AL West race, a win tonight would be a good place to start. Colby Lewis goes for Texas. Rangers vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

ArizonaPhilliesTop dogs: The Phillies are 8 1/2 up against the Braves, with a 79-42 record good enough for first place in the division and in baseball. It's not as if the Braves are any slouches with 72 wins and the NL Wild Card race in hand, but Arizona is also in first place out in the NL West... with 69 victories. 'Zona goes up against Philadelphia looking to take the rubber game of the series and an outright win in the season series. Ian Kennedy has won seven consecutive starts and is after his 16th victory, which would lead the game. Vance Worley, meanwhile, is hoping to match Kennedy's run as he's won six straight -- but gave up six runs in four innings last time out. Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

MastersonBattling out in the AL Central: This has already become a common refrain and figures to continue being one down the stretch, but there's a good battle set up between AL Central opponents. The Indians, two games behind the Tigers for the division lead, are attempting to fend off the White Sox, who are 3 1/2 behind Detroit. Cleveland has ace Justin Masterson lined up for battle against Phil Humber, who recently became a permanent member of the Sox's five-man rotation after the six-man rotation finally ended when Zach Stewart was moved to the bullpen. This is the rubber game of the three-game series, with eight games to come in September. "I know that every game means a lot because we're playing the White Sox and we're going to play Detroit, but there are so many games left that if we go day-by-day paying attention to that I'm going to get a heart attack," manager Manny Acta told the Associated Press. Indians vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: August 6, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Sale to stay in bullpen, Humber spot in jeopardy?

White Sox

By Evan Brunell

Any hope for Chris Sale fans that he might collect a few starts before the end of the season has now completely vanished, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

‘‘I think [general manager] Kenny [Williams] wants him to be a starter next year, but I don’t think we should [start him this year],’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said of Sale, who was drafted in 2010 and made the majors the same year as a reliever. ‘‘I want to win a couple more games. I don’t care if I’m in last place or not, I’m going to play every day to win. I might see one guy here or there, but my job is to win games."

The White Sox have lost seven of their last 10 and has slipped to 6 1/2 games out of first place. Still not insurmountable, especially if the club catches fire in a weak division, but the days are growing shorter. Still, Guillen isn't prepared to give up chasing the postseason, and Sale, at least for 2011, is best utilized in relief. He's gone thre innings a few times, so his endurance hasn't waned. In 51 innings, he's struck out 53 and walked 19, registering a 2.82 ERA and three saves. Yet, Guillen didn't completely discount starting Sale, even if he opened up the discussion by discounting it.

‘‘Obviously, if we get to that position [where we’re out of it], I’ll give the kids a chance. In the meanwhile, I’m not going to go out there and throw everything away. I don’t know what exactly they have planned next year for this kid. I think we should prepare him in spring training and the offseason.’’

Sale is expected to be a member of a rotation in 2012 that could have as many as three new members. One member whose spot could be in danger is Phil Humber, the unheralded minor-league free agent signing and former trade chip in the Johan Santana deal. Humber broke through this season for pitching coach Don Cooper and the ChiSox after flailing in Minnesota and Kansas City. In a new AL Central town, Humber forced his way into the rotation as a permanent member by posting a 2.69 ERA over 103 2/3 innings. He made the White Sox arrange their rotation into six members once Jake Peavy was healthy, then greased the skids for an Edwin Jackson trade. Yet, over his last four starts, he has a 7.97 ERA. Is it ineffectiveness or hitting a wall, with a major-league high 124 innings? He has reached139 innings as a minor-league high and at least 118 a season down on the farm over the last four years, so one might think he should have more endurance than this.

‘‘Minor-league innings, that is [crap],’’ Guillen said. ‘‘That is nothing. Minor-league innings compared to here [in the big leagues], I think it’s double because you have to grind it out every pitch. In the minor leagues, you get away with two, three, four guys in the lineup, and you mess around. In the big leagues, every pitch, you got to be on it.

‘‘But he threw the ball good [Thursday], especially the way those guys were hitting. The last time [against the Boston Red Sox], he hit the wall [after holding the Sox to one hit through four innings]. [Thursday], he threw the ball pretty good.’’

The White Sox will give Humber every chance to snap out of his slump to see if he can be a legitimate option for next season, but if the White Sox fall out of the race and Humber continues to skid, Sale may yet make it into the rotation.

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Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:14 am
 

Jackson willing to move to bullpen for White Sox

By Evan Brunell

JacksonThe White Sox's six-man rotation will come to an end shortly, but no one knows who will be removed from the rotation.

“I don’t know one starter who would say he’d be happy,’’ starting pitcher Edwin Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But it’s one of those things where you do what you have to do.’’

Mark Buerhle, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd are going nowhere. John Danks may be 0-8, but that speaks more to the fallacy of relying on a win-loss record as Danks has been a fine pitcher and has a strong history of performance. That leaves either Jackson, free agent to be, or Phil Humber, who is the latest benefit of pitching coach Don Cooper's magic elixir.

Jackson is making $8.35 million on the year and has a history of success in the rotation while everyone is waiting for Humber's wheels to fall off. Not an easy call, but Jackson for his part says he'll accept a shift to the bullpen if needed, although it won't be his preference.

Jackson currently has a 4.63 ERA in 11 starts, posting a 3.3 BB/9 ratio along with a 7.8 K/BB ratio, better than his career numbers. His 3.36 xFIP shows that he has pitched better than his ERA indicates. Humber, meanwhile, has a 3.06 ERA and 4.08 xFIP. The advanced metrics certainly bolsters Jackson's case, but much of the game still focuses on ERA as a barometer of success. If it is indeed Jackson that heads to the bullpen, he'll at least have a modicum of experience to draw from, as he relieved in 22 games for the Rays back in 2006 before his first full season as starter. He also has relief experience from the two years prior in Los Angeles.

“It’s a game of adjustments,’’ Jackson said. “I mean, what can you do if you have to go to the pen? There’s nobody who wants to go to the pen. I’ve done both. I’ve been in the pen. I like starting and see myself as a starter, but a lot of starters have had both roles.

“At the end of the day, it wouldn’t necessarily be about me. It would be about the team. I would like to stay starting­ ­— I’m comfortable starting — but if I have to go to the pen, I’d just go down and deal with it.’’

Jackson certainly has the right idea here -- as a free agent next year, he can dictate his next destination and can ensure he lands somewhere as a starter. In the meantime, he can bolster his image in the game by accepting a move without complaint.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 3:23 pm
 

White Sox stick with six, Astros say no

By Matt Snyder

The White Sox expanded their rotation to include six pitchers when Jake Peavy came off the disabled list and Phil Humber emerged as one of their more effective starting pitchers. Six pitchers in the rotation is certainly unconventional and many around baseball scoffed at the notion. But the experiment has worked well enough that the White Sox will continue to stick with six.

Meanwhile, top Astros prospect Jordan Lyles sparkled in his debut Tuesday night against the Cubs and ace Wandy Rodriguez is due back soon from the disabled list. After seeing the White Sox pull off the maneuver with relative success, some reporters asked Astros manager Brad Mills about employing the same tactic. He said that's not an option.

"It’s awful hard because you’ve taken a guy out of your bullpen now to do that," Mills said. "I just think that’s really difficult to do. You’re changing a whole process of what these guys have done their whole career. It’s almost like you’re trying to reinvent the wheel to an extent." (Ultimate Astros)

The White Sox aren't planning on sticking with the alignment for the entire season, as the Chicago Tribune reports a transition back to a traditional five-man rotation will take place "no later than the second half of the season because of days off on July 21 and 28."

In the meantime, the White Sox have pushed back struggling John Danks a day and will use Jake Peavy Sunday against the Tigers.

As for the Astros, they'll have a decision to make if Lyles has a solid second start Sunday against the light-hitting Padres. You know Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris and Brett Myers aren't going anywhere. It would be awfully tough to demote Lyles after seeing his promise -- again, assuming a good outing Sunday -- and that leaves Aneury Rodriguez. Being a Rule 5 pick, Rodriguez cannot be optioned to the minors without being returned to his former team (Rays), so the Astros would instead have to move him to the bullpen and option someone else.

The situations are both interesting in that it's good to have guys step into the rotation and perform well, but there are also veterans like Myers and Danks underperforming, which compounds the issue. With all the money and options and every other complication, it's nowhere near a simple meritocracy.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Pepper: Phillies symbol of Latin transformation

By Evan Brunell

LATIN Phillies: When Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel played for the Phillies in the late 80s, he was lucky if he had one teammate of fellow Latin descent. There were years when he was the lone one. Those were the memories Samuel recalled all these years later, even as Philadelphia has changed its fortunes with eight Latin representatives on the active roster.

"When I came to spring training, I'm like, 'We have our own little neighborhood over here,' " Samuel said earlier in the season. "I was joking with Danys Baez and Carlos Ruiz in spring training. I called that end of the clubhouse the barrio. 'Let me go to the barrio and talk to the guys.' "

Most of that increase comes with the explosion in the game of Latin players, which has increased the level of talent and given these players more teammates to identify with. That's important to these players.

"Every organization has a signed a lot of players from Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, everywhere," reliever Danys Baez said. "So most of the time there are a lot of guys to talk to and share experiences from when you were a younger age.

"It's very important. Sometimes it's good even when you're supposed to talk in English. When you're learning, it's important to have somebody to talk to. Again, you can tell them about how it was when you were younger and how things were in your country. What it's like. Because every [Latin] country is different. So it's good to have somebody to share that kind of experience with."

The increasing globalization of the game is a good thing. Hispanic players now are a healthy percentage, but there is still much work to be done. Japanese players are coming to the states with increasing frequency, but the decline of African-Americans is concerning. MLB is to be commended for its efforts so far to reverse that trend, though, and are also making significant in-roads in European markets. (Philadelphia Daily News)

WHIZ KID: Growing up a Red Sox fan, I'm not a fan of Sports Illustrated covers because of its featuring of Nomar Garciaparra in the famous (at least, it's famous locally) "A Cut Above" cover; that cover ran around the time Nomar's career took a permanent turn for the worse after being hit by a pitch on the wrist. SI also predicted a World Series victory in 2000 for Boston with yet another cover... except it would take four more years for that ring. (And yes, I remember both covers well.) Ah, the Sports Illustrated jinx... well, anyways, SI.com is touting Starlin Castro on its next cover. Manager Mike Quade was quick to speculate on whether the dreaded jinx applied to Castro.

"How many do you have to deal with?" Quade said. "You have the sophomore [jinx], the S.I. [jinx]. If there's two jinxes, do they cancel each other out?" (MLB.com)

HEART-ATTACK ROBBERY: This is a disgusting story to write, but here goes: in early April, a Pirates usher was found dead in the middle of the street with only a superficial head injury. Turns out he was suffering a heart attack in the car. Along comes a 17-year-old who pulled the usher out of his car -- not to help, but to rob him of his wallet and car, leave the usher dying in the street. That 17-year-old was just arrested for the robbery, although he will not be charged with homicide. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

EMPTY SEATS: Low attendance is starting to scare some in the game, and several St. Louis reporters write about what the 3 percent dropoff at Busch Stadium thus far might mean. Here's the thing: it's just too early. Once school comes out and the weather warms up, one will be able to better evaluate the numbers. It seems as if every April we have this discussion, although gas prices and a housing market that many predict has hit rock-bottom may prove a tipping point. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SIX-MAN ROTATION: Rotations these days are growing, even if there isn't any clear evidence that a five-man rotation is any better than a fourth. The White Sox may try their hand at a six-man rotation when Jake Peavy returns, both to ease him back into game action and to keep an impressive Phil Humber in the rotation. (Chicago Tribune)

BANGED-UP Twins: The Twins placed DH Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night and recalled shortstop Trevor Plouffe, who will handle short until Tsuyoshi Nishioka returns. Incumbent shortstop Alexi Casilla is being shifted to second where he indicates he is more comfortable. But it doesn't stop there -- manager Ron Gardenhire said that outfielder Jason Repko is probably headed to the DL with Ben Revere being recalled. (Star Tribune)

BELT'S BACK: Or rather, he will be eventually. Belt is tearing up Triple-A and with the injuries the Giants have been hit with lately, Belt could be back in the majors sooner rather than later. The only problem is who the team kicks off the squad in the outfield -- Nate Schierholtz is already going to be dumped for Andres Torres once Torres returns from the DL. It's too bad Belt can't play shortstop.

LIFE IN SEATTLE: The Mariners were 4-11 before embarking on a 5-1 streak that ended with a loss Sunday to the Red Sox, but there's life in Seattle once more. Peter Gammons has more. (MLB.com)

RETURNING MARINERS: Life in Seattle will only get better once the team is back at full strength. The nearing return of closer David Aardsma and progress of center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, then, are things to be celebrated. (Seattle Times)

PAY ATTENTION: The Royals are stepping up warning fans of the danger of batted balls and bats after a four-year-old suffered a fractured skull after being hit with a foul ball. There's some discussion in the article of expanding the netting behind home plate all the way to the foul poles. Sounds awful, right? Is it more awful than a four-year-old's shattered skull? (Kansas City Star)

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