Philip Humber Fantasy: Perfect Game Makes Pitcher a No-Brainer Pickup

Tim KeeneyContributor IApril 21, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 21:  (ALTERNATE CROP) Starting pitcher Philip Humber #41 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the seventh inning of a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 21, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. This was the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Philip Humber joined a very exclusive club on Saturday when he threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners.

We're still checking as to whether or not a perfect game against the Mariners actually counts as a real perfect game, but it was an impressive feat nonetheless and serves as Humber's second solid start of the season.

OK, this one was a little bit more than solid, but don't automatically dismiss this outing as a fluke. The Humber Games put together a 3.75 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 26 starts last season. He has some good value. 

But is Humber, who is owned in just 1.7 percent of ESPN leagues and 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, worth a pickup?

In deeper leagues, yes. In shallow leagues, maybe.

The 29-year-old Humber has never been a spectacular strikeout pitcher who has the ability to blow everyone away. He only K'd 116 batters in 163 innings last season, but he's off to a terrific start this year as he struck out seven against Baltimore and nine today against Seattle.

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 21:  Starting pitcher Philip Humber #41 (R) of the Chicago White Sox is congratulated after throwing a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 21, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. This was the 21st perfect game i
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

His slider—and all of his off-speed stuff, really—is working really well. If he can continue to mix up his pitches effectively, there's no question he'll increase that strikeout rate.

What Humber has always been good at, however, is his ability to limit walks and just pitch effectively and intelligently. Last season, he only walked 41 batters, and that's why his WHIP was so low at 1.18.

I'm a sucker for pitchers with who have a low WHIP, because it usually means they are smart, and most importantly, know how to pitch. They don't need over-powering stuff, and neither does Humber. He'll paint the strike zone, so even on bad nights he won't be terrible.

Essentially, he has a low ceiling but a high floor. 

What you need to be careful with, however, is the fact that Humber doesn't get a ton of ground balls. His GB/FB ratio last season was 0.89, which means he'll have his games where he gives up a home run or two. 

Nonetheless, Humber has clearly had good stuff this year and serves as a speculative pickup. Best-case scenario, he'll keep the ball down, increase his strikeouts and put up an ERA in the low threes.

Worst-case scenario, he gives up a good amount of home runs and his ERA gets in the fours, but his WHIP stays low.

He's worth it.