New York Mets News

The back of the Mets bullpen has a chance to be tremendous

By Danny Abriano

With the season nearly a third of the way over, an area that’s been a bit overlooked for the Mets is the bullpen. Since starting out the season poorly and going in and out of rough stretches, the back-end of the Mets bullpen is starting to come together.

May 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) receives a fist bump from second baseman Daniel Murphy (28) in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With Jenrry Mejia closing games, Jeurys Familia setting up, and Vic Black back in the majors, the back of the Mets bullpen has a chance to be as good as it’s been since 2006.

In the middle of that year (prior to Duaner Sanchez‘ taxi accident), the club had Billy Wagner closing games, supported by Sanchez, Aaron Heilman, Chad Bradford, and Pedro Feliciano.

While the 2006 bullpen was made up of primarily established pieces, the 2014 bullpen features younger pitchers coming into their own. In 2015, a healthy Bobby Parnell could make the back of the Mets bullpen a legitimate force.

For now, though, it appears that the club may have two young anchors in Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, and another high upside piece in Vic Black.

Mejia, 24, who was shifted to the bullpen a few weeks ago and has since become the closer, has yet to allow an earned run in 9.1 innings of work out of the bullpen. He’s also overcome the hurdle of pitching back-to-back days, and has embraced his new role.

Familia, 24, whose diving fastball and secondary offerings are a lethal combination when he’s in command (which he has been for the majority of the season), has earned a late-inning role by posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 24 appearances spanning 24.2 innings of work.

Black, 26, has always struggled with his command and will likely always be a bit wild. However, if he’s able to keep his wildness somewhat in check, he can be a very valuable piece. Like Mejia and Familia, Black’s stuff is tremendous, mixing a fastball that can touch 100 MPH with a knee-buckling curve.

As is noted above, if a healthy Bobby Parnell joins Mejia, Familia, and Black in 2015, the Mets could be a force to be reckoned with.

Until then, the Mets can move forward with the best back-end trio they’ve had since 2006, and hope that what they’ve shown lately becomes the norm.