Today, Rising Apple’s Season In Review series focuses on pitcher Jeurys Familia. The recently turned twenty-four year old right-hander out of the Dominican Republic was signed in 2007 as a free agent amateur out of high school. A six year minor league veteran now, he has perhaps been one of the more heralded, yet tantalizing hurlers in the Mets system over the last three years.
Jeurys Familia split the 2011 season between St. Lucie and Binghamton, pitching a combined 124 innings in 23 starts. He posted an overall 5-5 record with a 2.90 ERA, struck out 132, while walking upwards of three batters per game.
May 8, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Familia spent the majority of 2012 playing for Wally Backman in Buffalo, where he posted a 9-9 record, accompanied by a troublesome 4.73 ERA. In 28 starts and 137 innings pitched, Jeurys allowed 145 hits and walked 73 batters for an unsightly 1.591 WHiP, but struck out 128 batters for an 8.4 K/9 average.
On September 4, 2012, Jeurys Familia made his major league debut, with one inning of relief in St. Louis. He stayed with the Mets for the remainder of the season and struggled. In eight games, he posted a 5.84 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched, allowed twelve hits, walked nine and struck out eight.
How He Did On The Mound:
Jeurys Familia made twelve appearances and pitched 13.1 innings during Grapefruit League play, and walked eight batters. He otherwise enjoyed a promising Spring Training by posting a 2-0 record with a 2.03 ERA. He limited batters to eleven hits, while the opposition averaged .224 against him. He kept his rate of strikeouts up with thirteen.
His regular season was spent jockeying back and forth between Flushing and the minors. On April 4th, Familia pitched 1/3 of an inning for the Mets, then was sent to Las Vegas for four games until being recalled to Flushing again on April 18th. He pitched in seven more games for the Mets until being placed on the disabled list on May 9th, with what was originally diagnosed as right bicep tendonitis. He returned to the mound on May 25th, only this time for Port St. Lucie, where he made two appearances before ultimately needing surgery on June 4th to remove a bone spur, and to additionally clean out other free ranging particles in his right elbow.
Terry Collins was noticeably impressed by Familia’s post-operation efforts to get back on the mound before the season ended. On September 9th, Jeurys climbed the hill for Port St. Lucie again, and on September 14th, returned to Flushing for one final appearance versus the San Francisco Giants before getting shut-down.
In eight minor league appearances he made two starts, posted a 0-1 record with a 1.00 ERA. In nine innings pitched he allowed eight hits and walked three for a 1.222 WHiP, and struck out seven. In nine relief appearances for the Mets, he pitched 10.2 innings and posted a 4.22 ERA, allowed twelve hits and walked nine for a ghastly 1.969 WHiP, and struck out eight batters.
Areas To Improve Upon:
Jeurys Familia’s control is an issue. Plainly stated, he walks too many batters. In 2013, he totaled twelve walks in 19.2 innings pitched. Last season at Buffalo he averaged 4.8 W/9, and with the Mets walked another nine batters in 12.1 innings. He owns a 3.9 W/9 average over six minor league seasons.
That said, his fastball, change, slider repertoire makes fans gawk over the possibilities. He throws a fastball in excess of 95mph, and a slider he still has trouble controlling, but his change is the pitch needing most improvement. When he finally learns to harness and command these pitches, the sky will be the limit for him. Young natural ability has gotten him this far. He now needs to learn the finer points of his craft.
He is scheduled to participate in the Arizona Fall League with the Scottsdale Scorpions, but has yet to make an appearance. And contrary to almost everyone’s understanding, Familia does not appear on the Scorpions roster.
Projected Role In 2014:
After making 109 minor league starts between 2008 and 2012, the Mets now seem intent on keeping Jeurys Familia in the bullpen. On the heels of a very good season before undergoing surgery himself, Bobby Parnell should be sliding right back into the closers role next season. Familia could conceivably compete for the ninth inning role, but for now projects to team up with Vic Black to form what could become a formidable late inning fire house. Even with Matt Harvey due to miss most if not all of the 2014 season, it is unlikely the Mets will allow Familia to compete for a starters role.
Contract Status And Trade Rumors:
With just twenty-three innings of major league experience, Jeurys Familia remains in full control of the Mets. He will not become arbitration eligible until the 2016 season. Unless the right deal comes along, I do not believe the Mets harbor any want for trading their promising pitching prospect. His name has so far escaped any rumors.