Philip Humber: Does He Deserve His Spot in the Chicago White Sox Rotation?

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIJuly 3, 2012

White Sox pitcher Philip Humber is currently on the DL.
White Sox pitcher Philip Humber is currently on the DL.Jeff Golden/Getty Images

Does Philip Humber deserve to have the fifth spot in the Chicago White Sox starting rotation given to him when he returns from his stint on the 15-day DL with an elbow flexor strain?

The short answer is no.

Kenny Williams and the White Sox would be going against the numbers and what is working for the Sox this year if Humber is given his old spot in the rotation.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Outside of the perfect game he threw against the Seattle Mariners on April 21, Humber has been downright awful.

Following the All-Star break last year, Humber won once with an ERA of 5.01 and a batting average against of .287.  Prior to his stint on the DL this year, he has won one game, owns an ERA that sits a tick above six and has already given up 12 home runs.

Combined, Humber is 4-8 with an ERA over 5.50 since the All-Star break last year.

This is almost a year's worth of statistics, not a stretch of three or four bad outings but 22 starts.

Outside of Humber’s awful numbers, Williams would be going against this year’s formula for success if Humber was given a spot in the rotation upon his return.

Starting pitcher Jose Quintana has been outstanding since his insertion into the rotation.

While some may not have agreed that he had staying power as a starter initially, it is apparent he will be a starter as long as he continues to be as effective as he has been—even after lefty John Danks returns from the DL with a shoulder injury.

Dylan Axelrod pitched on baseball’s biggest stage in New York over the weekend and held up quite well.  He has a chance to stick around for a while, and to relegate him to the bullpen for Humber would be a mistake at this point.

Two young pitchers who are proving they belong at the major league level now and not in a year or two don’t come around very often.  Ride their arms until they prove they are not up to the task anymore.

Pitching coach Don Cooper seems to relish the opportunity to coach up youngsters and that they are taking advantage of the chance to perform.

MLB reporter Scott Merkin wrote on July 1 that Danks is to have further tests done on his shoulder and that White Sox manager Robin Ventura is not overly concerned because of the way that Quintana has been pitching in his stead.

The pitching coach is having fun, and the manager is pleased with the performances of the “fill-ins."  If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.

Now, Danks, fresh off of a new contract, deserves his spot back, which would push Quintana into the fifth spot, but that is not going to happen for a while.

When Humber is ready, throw him into long relief for a while, and if he underperforms in that role as well, then it is off to the waiver wire or dangled as whatever-you-can-get-for-him trade bait for the pitcher from Nacogdoches, Texas.

Are the Sox better with Axelrod or Humber in the rotation? 

Right now, the answer is Axelrod.

William’s recipe of youth and experience is working so far this season for the White Sox; don’t change it for Humber who cannot put back-to-back solid outings together.

This may seem reactionary, but it’s valid.