SF Giants top prospects: No. 23 — RHP Jordan Humphreys
Highest Level: High-A (Mets affiliate)
Acquired: Trade (2020)
Future-Value Grade: 40
It was surprising to see the Giants recoup a prospect of Jordan Humphreys’ caliber in return for a player who clearly wasn’t going to get an opportunity on their big-league roster (Billy Hamilton). I thought Humphreys was still a fringe 35/35+ caliber prospect on the outside looking in of the team’s top 30. However, after talking to one pro scout familiar with Humphreys, I pushed his grade up into the rankings.
Humphreys dominated the lower minor leagues after turning pro out of high school from 2015-17. As just a 21-year old at A-ball, Humphreys struck out 80 batters (against just 9 walks) in 69.2 innings, holding opponents to a 1.42 ERA. A midseason callup to High-A was cut short following the first of many arm injuries that stalled out his career.
After not pitching in 2018 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Humphreys only managed 2 innings with the Mets rookie-ball affiliate last season. Following the end of the minor league season, Humphreys played in the Arizona Fall League, a hotbed of prospect talent. He made 4 appearances and was flashing the prospect potential he’d shown early in his career.
In his limited sample last year, he was sitting 90-93 mph with his fastball and flashed an above-average slider. According to the pro scout who scouted him in Arizona, “he has back-end rotation floor… swing and miss stuff is there. Like the upside and coaches spoke well about his makeup, hard worker.” Most pundits though, see Humphreys more as a back-end piece.
Expectations are that his fastball will improve as he gets back arm strength. Given how little he pitched last season, he showed impressive command and feel on the mound. His changeup was inconsistent and does need to at least be a usable pitch, but it’s reasonable to expect that to come with more consistent reps.
Health remains the impediment to Humphreys’ development. He underwent another minor surgery early in 2019 and this summer, with the Mets summer camp, Humphreys dealt with a hamstring issue that cost him some time. Given how many reps he’s already lost, it’s going to be difficult for him to handle anymore extended time away from the field.
It’s hard to rank players who haven’t played affiliate ball in 2020. It’s even harder with someone who’s basically thrown 13 recorded innings since 2017. With that in mind, it seems hard to envision the Mets parting with someone they thought was close to contributing for Billy Hamilton. At the same time, perhaps that gives Mets brass too much credit. Humphreys has shown the ability to be a big-league starter and has the stuff to do it. The Giants assigned him to their camp in Sacramento, which shows they’re quite high on his prospects.