In all the discussion about next year’s pitching staff, why does no one mention Phil Humber? His resume: high draft choice; mediocre minor league career; solid 2011 season; perfect game; relief disaster (7 runs; 1/3 inning). Having pitched a perfect game is not a ticket to the rotation. The list of pitchers who have done it contain some pitchers who, for their careers, were mediocre. At the same time, the list contains three Hall of Fame pitchers and a couple more who may join the Hall of Fame eventually. Even without any of the Hall of Famers, it would be possible to assemble an impressive pitching staff from that list. Pitching a perfect game is a somewhat random event. Being a good pitcher helps. For a pitcher who retires 80% of the batters he faces, it is more likely that 27 of those outs will fall in a row than it is that a pitcher who retires 70% of the batters he faces will retire 27 in a row. But even a pitcher who retires 50% of the batters he faces will have some probability that 27 will be in a row. The bottom line is that having pitched a perfect game is no perfect indicator of quality but it is an indicator and should cound for something. More important is his 3.1 WAR in 2011. This is comparable to those of other Sox starters, including starters making a lot more money. That should be worth a lot. In a year when TBA was pitching every fifth day, doesn’t Mr. Humber deserve to be part of the discussion? Most of his 2012 was difficult but he still has enough on his resume to deserve a chance.
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