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Perfect Philip Humber: Yes or No

Philip Humber

Yesterday, White Sox right hander Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history. This demands attention. But is this an abberation or a sign of things to come?

Let’s look at history first.  From 2006 – 2010 Humber had some innings in the bigs, but never more then 21 innings in any of those years.  During that time, he wasn’t that good.  The sampling is too small to really judge him though.  2011 is where things get interesting.  In 2011, Humber started 26 games (163 innings) and had a good 3.75 ERA.  During 2011 he had 116 Ks and 41 BB – not bad, not great.  He had a couple of standout games, a 1 hitter vs. the Yanks and a 2 hitter (which he lost) vs Toronto.  The start before the 2 hitter, he gave up 7 runs in 6 innings vs. Cleveland.  Humber is sporadic.

Humber has had two starts this year.  In Humber’s first start (vs Baltimore) he went 5 innings, 7 Ks, 3 BB, and 1 ER.  The Ks are great, the walks are a little high for 5 innings, but 1 run is good.  His last start (vs Seattle) was perfect – including 9 Ks.  Clearly awesome.

So do you grab him in your fantasy league?  Well, in shallow leagues, yes, absolutely.  In medium leagues, I would also say yes – he is getting good Ks so far and has shown the ability for a good ERA.  Shallow leagues is where he is a gamble.  Grabbing him in a shallow league probably means you are giving up an established pitcher.  We  can’t ignore the perfect game that wasn’t (Armando Galarraga).  Galarraga thew a perfect game (except for a blown call on the last out) but wasn’t really a good pitcher.  Humber has shown more then Galarraga had, but he has shown his ability to be up and down.  If you are a little bit of a gambler, then grab him in shallow leagues.  If you want to play it safe, let someone else roll the dice.

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