Jeurys Familia and Matt Harvey: A Comparison

By Unknown author

Jeurys Familia and Matt Harvey: get used to saying those two names in the same sentence.  Along with Jenrry Mejia and Zack Wheeler, these two hard throwing righties are two of the top arms in the Mets farm system.  They are similar in age (Familia will turn 22 in October while Harvey’s 22nd birthday was in March), points in their development and both finished the season with double-A Binghamton.  And hopefully, they will both anchor the Mets rotation in the coming years.

Given that the timeline to reach the Majors is similar for both of these prospects (figure sometime in late 2012), some comparisons can be drawn between the two right-handers.  Of course, there are some important differences.  Familia was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 and started pitching for the organization at the age of 18 in the Gulf Coast League.  Harvey was the seventh pick in the 2010 draft and didn’t throw a professional pitch until this season.  Familia spent all of last year struggling in St. Lucie before finally figuring it out this season and moving along, while Harvey dominated the Florida St. League this year and was quickly promoted to Binghamton.  Other than that, there are a lot of similarities between the two.  According to Wally Backman, both throw heaters in the mid-90s, have solid sliders (Backman thought Familia’s was more of a breaking ball, by which I assume he meant a curve) and are working hard to develop their changeups (Harvey also mixes in a cutter).  It’s worthwhile to compare their numbers at each level to see just how similar the two really are.  Below are the numbers from their time at St. Lucie in 2011:

As the numbers illustrate, both Familia and Harvey were dominant during each one’s time spent in the FSL this season.  It was nice to see Familia dominate so thoroughly after his 2010 struggles, allowing very few hits while striking out about a batter per inning.  Harvey, meanwhile, had a better K/9 than Familia in his first taste of pro baseball.  What was most impressive were the low walk totals for each, leading to stellar K/BB ratios.  Unsurprisingly, both pitchers were called up to Binghamton, where each faced new challenges:

Also unsurprisingly, Familia and Harvey both had a little difficulty adjusting to Binghamton, but eventually, both adjusted well.  They allowed more hits and saw their WHIPs rose to nearly identical figures, as well as seeing a jump in their BB/9 totals (Familia also struggled with wild pitches and hit batsmen in addition to giving up a higher percentage of home runs).  However, both maintained very good strikeout rates (the fact that Familia’s increased by one batter per nine innings was great, the fact that Harvey’s decreased by about the same margin is nothing to be concerned about since a 9.7 K/9 is still excellent) and thus, very respectable K/BB ratios.  Finally, here is a look at the combined 2011 numbers for each pitcher across both St. Lucie and Binghamton:

What’s amazing is how similar the stats came out to be.  In a similar sample size, Famillia and Harvey have identical walk rates, nearly identical WHIPs and strikeout to walk ratios, and very similar strikeout and hit rates.  That’s not to suggest that they are exactly same pitcher, but the similarities are there, and it will be interesting to see if Familia and Harvey feed off of each other as they continue their development.

If both continue at their current pace, both Familia and Harvey will be with the Mets in late 2012, paving the way for them to enter the rotation full time in 2013.  They both possess the raw talent, a good work ethic and can miss bats, while both are working on refining their secondary pitches as they continue to advance through the system.  Familia and Harvey: two important pieces to the New York Mets future.