Humber's rocky journey to perfection


Humber's rocky journey to perfection

Philip Humber was the third-overall pick in the 2004 draft. The Mets believed he had ace potential, selecting him right after Detroit took Justin Verlander and before Anaheim took Jered Weaver.

A standout at Rice, Humber had all the credentials of a top-three pick. He struck out 422 in batters in 353 collegiate innings with a 2.80 ERA, with scouts raving about the movement on his fastball and his tight curveball.

But his pro career got off to a rough start. With A-level St. Lucie, Humber's ERA ballooned to 4.99. Injuries stunted a successful 2006 that saw his ERA fall to 2.83 between rookie ball and Double-A. With those successes in mind, the Mets fast-tracked him to Triple in 2007 despite just seven career starts at the Double-A level and two one-inning appearances in the majors.

It was in New Orleans that Humber hit a wall. His ERA was a mediocre 4.27 and he allowed 21 home runs. Those poor numbers led him to be a mere throw-in when the Twins decided to trade Johan Santana to the Mets, as the two big prizes of the deal for Minnesota were Carlos Gomez and Delois Guerra.

Humber only got worse in the Twins' farm system, as his ERA rose 4.56 in 2008. He allowed another 21 dingers that year, but his walks rose and his strikeouts fell. The same thing happened in 2009, as his strikeout-to-walk ratio fell to 8745 with Triple-A Rochester.

He pitched a total of 20 23 innings in the majors with Minnesota, walking 14 with just 15 stikeouts while allowing five home runs.

The Twins cut him loose after 2009, and Humber landed with Kansas City. He threw 21 23 mediocre innings with the Royals -- nothing that was going to land him a permanent spot on the team. The same team that didn't have much pitching to begin with.

Finally, in 2011, something clicked for Humber. The White Sox took a flier on him, one of those throwaway invites to minor league camp. But with Jake Peavy not ready to return to the Sox rotation until May, Humber finally got his chance -- even if his spring training performances were underwhelming.

Humber's White Sox debut is generally forgotten given how well he pitched last year. But, entering a losing effort against Cleveland in the eighth inning on April 3, Humber failed to record an out, allowing two hits and two runs before he was yanked.

He made his first start six days later, holding the Rays to one run in six innings of work. After back-to-back mediocre starts against Los Angeles and Tampa Bay, Humber finally broke out.

His April 25 start against the Yankees -- in New York, no less -- was the Philip Humber the Mets had waited for and the Twins had hoped they could resurrect. Humber took a no-hitter into the seventh, preventing the Yankees from getting a hit through 6 13 innings. The only hit he allowed broke up his no-hitter.

It was a rare bright spot in a miserable month for the White Sox. And after it, Humber went from rotational afterthought to legitimate All-Star candidate and leading reason why the Sox tinkered with a rare six-man rotation.

Humber didn't make the trip to Arizona with the best players from the American League, but he did everything in his power to make his case. In 15 starts from April 9 through July 2, Humber had a 2.57 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 25 walks.

But it looked like Humber's magic spell on the majors had worn off when August rolled around. The Sox lost his next six starts, with Humber allowing 22 runs in 27 23 innings -- a 7.16 ERA. He was K.O'd right when the Sox needed him most, taking a sharp line drive off his head Aug. 18 against Cleveland.

Humber returned Sept. 5 and made five more starts, although the end product was unimpressive (4.26 ERA, 30 K, 15 BB). He had pitches his way into the 2012 Sox rotation, but his ability to repeat 2011 was in question.

A perfect game, though. No matter what happens to Philip Humber the rest of his career, he'll be able to say he threw a perfect game. He's previously said that he's just happy to have found a steady career in the majors.

Two, three, four years ago, Humber could barely stick in the major leagues. Now, he'll stick in the record books forever.

White Sox claim former top outfield prospect Rymer Liriano off waivers

White Sox claim former top outfield prospect Rymer Liriano off waivers

The White Sox announced on Friday they have claimed outfielder Rymer Liriano off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Liriano, a former Top 50 prospect by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, missed the entire 2016 season after suffering multiple facial fractures when he was hit in the face by a pitch during a spring a spring training game on March 20.

The 25-year-old Liriano had a brief stint in the majors with the San Diego Padres in 2014 in which he had a .220/.289/.266 slash line with one homer, six RBI and four stolen bases in 38 games.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Liriano has a career minor-league slash line of .277/.350/.435 with 68 home runs, 378 RBI and 190 stolen bases in seven seasons. Liriano was named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player in 2011 and earned midseason All-Star honors in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

With the move, the White Sox 40-man roster now stands at 40.

White Sox RF Adam Eaton among finalists for Gold Glove Award

White Sox RF Adam Eaton among finalists for Gold Glove Award

White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton is one of three finalists for a Rawlings Gold Glove.

Eaton, Boston’s Mookie Betts and Houston’s George Springer were named as the American League right field candidates on Thursday.

[SHOP: Buy an Adam Eaton jersey]

A 2014 finalist in center field, Eaton finished second behind Betts in Defensive Runs Saved with 22, according to Eaton also finished with an Ultimate Zone Rating of 23.1 and led all outfielders with 18 assists.

Eaton batted .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBIs and 91 runs scored. He also stole 14 bases and was worth 6.0 Wins Above Replacement.