UPDATE July 24:
The interview was conducted prior to Jordan being placed on the disabled list on July 7. The article itself was then written just a few days after it was announced that he was placed on the 7-day disabled list, and still with very little information on the specific injury.
In a text with Jordan, he revealed that he did have a small, small tear in his UCL, and ended up getting a shot in his pitching elbow to help speed up the process. He stated that he’ll be throwing again in 13 days.
Right-hander Jordan Humphreys wasn’t a splashy first-round draft pick in 2015. Selected in the 18th round by the New York Mets out of Crystal River, FL, Humphreys was a kid who didn’t light up the radar guns, however, he displayed good control of the strike zone and was athletic with a strong build.
After pitching seven games in relief with the Gulf Coast League Mets in ’15, Humphreys made 13 starts between Brooklyn and Kingsport in ’16, posting a 3.58 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP over 75.1 innings. He led the Appalachian League in strikeouts (76), and was fourth in WHIP (1.15) while with Kingsport.
As the calendar turned to 2017, Humphreys made a few minor adjustments in his tempo and delivery, along with a growing confidence in his changeup and curveball. The results have been impressive: a 10-1 record, 1.79 ERA, 2 CG, 1 SHO, .197 AVG, and 0.87 WHIP between the Columbia Fireflies and St. Lucie Mets. Among the Mets farm system, Humphreys is tied for first in wins, in a four-way tie for first in complete games, and second in strikeouts (83). *(As of 7/14)*
Unfortunately, Humphreys has made just two starts with St. Lucie since his promotion, as he was placed on the 7-day disabled list on July 7 due to soreness in his pitching elbow. In the two starts in his hometown state, Humphreys struggled in his debut, allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits, however, bounced back with seven shutout innings six days later.
As fans turn to the minor league system to offer glimpses of potential and hope for the future, Humphreys is certainly a burgeoning starting pitcher to keep an eye on as he advances throughout the ranks.
I had the privilege of speaking with the 21-year-old a few weeks back, where we discussed the Mets drafting him in ’15, the differences in his game compared to last season, and his perspective on teammate Tim Tebow.
MMO: Talk to me about when the Mets drafted you in the 18th round in 2015. What was the Draft like for you, and did you have prior knowledge that the Mets were interested in selecting you?
Jordan: Yeah, I wasn’t a huge top prospect but I had a scout come and he talked to me and he liked what he saw. I didn’t have overpowering stuff; I threw a lot of strikes and that was kind of it. I was excited to get picked and it’s going good so far.
MMO: At what age did you start pitching exclusively?
Jordan: I was a two-way guy going to college. I would say my junior summer of high school is when I really started out and I started throwing a little bit harder and scouts saw me at some of the big tournaments and that’s where it all kind of started.
MMO: Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Jordan: I always watched Mike Hampton growing up, he’s a hometown guy. Evan Longoria was one of them also. Chipper Jones; Chipper Jones is probably my top guy.
MMO: You pitched extremely well in your ’16 season, however, ’17 has been a breakout year for you. What can you explain as the difference in your rising ascent, and how you’ve been so dominant on the mound this year?
Jordan: I feel like I’m more of a pitcher now. When I was drafted I wasn’t really a pitcher, I was just a thrower. I didn’t really know what to do, what was going on and how to really pitch. I made a few adjustments and went into spring training and learned a few things from a couple different people and just took it all in. Got a couple of pitches now, I can throw a changeup and curveball for a strike and it goes a long way.
MMO: Was it mainly mechanical stuff you worked on?
Jordan: Not a ton of mechanical stuff, just a couple of tweaks last year in spring training with a little bit of my tempo and my delivery.
MMO: I’ve noticed with many of your starts that your pitch counts are relatively low, allowing you to pitch deeper into games. Is that something you’re cognizant of on the mound and game plan for?
Jordan: I try. I try to get contact a lot of the time, just to keep my pitch count low. As long as I can stay in the game the better it is, just to try and help my team out.
MMO: What parts of your game are you still trying to work on and improve in would you say?
Jordan: Just everything to get better. Being more consistent, I mean I don’t think that can ever end right there. Being more consistent with my pitches and just being down in the zone. I want to work on getting more ground balls than fly balls.
MMO: You had one start in Brooklyn in 2016, but besides that, have you visited New York prior? What are you thoughts on the city and one day hopefully pitching in Queens?
Jordan: That was the first time I’d been to New York (Laughs). But I had a good time! I didn’t get to visit much, I was only there for five days, but I had a good time.
MMO: I read an article back in early June stating that you’ve worn the same socks every single start. Is that a superstitious thing, and have you continued wearing the same socks in St. Lucie?
Jordan: Actually after that interview I lost the socks. I think he (reporter) might’ve jinxed me, but I did lose those socks.
MMO: Was wearing the socks every start a superstitious act you did though?
Jordan: It was just a kind of thing I had. He had brought it up, it wasn’t really a huge thing. I always wash them obviously. He had asked me if I had any superstitions and I was like I wear the same socks (Laughs).
MMO: You were named to the South Atlantic League All Star Game this season, and even though you didn’t pitch, what was the experience like for you getting to partake in such an event?
Jordan: Yeah I thought it was really cool man, to go in there and see all these other guys do their thing and go about their baseball life. To meet these other guys, it was a pretty cool experience! The activities and stuff were awesome and obviously having it in Columbia, it was an awesome time. But I think the biggest part was just meeting the other guys and having a couple of words with them and getting to know some guys.
MMO: For fans that might not have a ton of knowledge on you, can you give me a brief scouting report on yourself? What do you consider your best pitch?
Jordan: I throw a fastball, changeup, and curveball. Curveball and changeup still need a little bit of work, but I think my fastball’s just about ready as it can get. I’d say (my) fastball needs to be a little bit more down in the zone, but that’s what I have.
MMO: You’ve had an up close and personal look at the Tim Tebow frenzy. What’s he like behind the scenes as a teammate, and what do you think of his efforts to make it as a big leaguer?
Jordan: He’s an awesome guy, an awesome teammate. It’s kind of cool to have somebody like him in the clubhouse, and he can push guys. He’s been through similar situations; I mean he’s kind of been through the grind like we have. But it’s nice having him in the locker room and just having a guy like that around us to push us and just whatever we need.
MMO: Your teammate with Columbia and now with St. Lucie, Merandy Gonzalez, has had a phenomenal season as well. Do you guys feed off each other when one has a good start? Is there any type of friendly competition between you two?
Jordan: (Laughs) I wouldn’t really say it’s a competition. We really encourage each other and are behind each other the whole way, and it’s pretty cool. He’s a good kid and a good guy.
MMO: When you were promoted from Columbia to St. Lucie, were there things that took you by surprise going from the South Atlantic League to the Florida State League that you needed to adjust to?
Jordan: For sure. I thought I got a little better in Columbia and I moved up and these guys are better and more talented and they’re getting to know the game of baseball a lot better. I kind of figured that out and I made a few adjustments my second start and bounced back from my first one.
MMO: Thank you for your time today Jordan, all the best the rest of the year.
Jordan: Alright man, I appreciate it, take care.
Follow Jordan on Twitter, @itshumpday24