New York Mets News

Jeurys Familia: Mets Season In Review

By Michael Lecolant

Next up in Rising Apple’s Mets Season in Review series is reliever Jeurys Familia.

Signed in July 2007 as a 17-year old amateur free agent, he was assigned to the GCL Mets in 2008, and spent 5 years ascending the Mets organizational ladder.

Jun 17, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher

Jeurys Familia

(27) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the eighth inning at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Mets 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In the years between 2008-2012, Familia was developed exclusively as a starter.  Over that span he made 132 minor league starts (133 games), pitched 567.2 innings and posted an 8.3 H/9 average, a 4.0 BB/9 average, an 8.6 K/9 average, and an overall 3.85 ERA.

Jeurys Familia then made his MLB debut during the 2012 September call-ups.

But, his 2013 season couldn’t have been more frustrating.

Familia headed north with the club out of Spring Training (as a reliever), but was optioned to Las Vegas after just 1 appearance.  He was recalled on April 17th and pitched through May 8th.  Then on May 12th the Mets placed Jeurys on the 15-day DL with what was then determined to be elbow tendinitis.

Familia returned on May 25th to make pair of rehab appearances with Port St. Lucie.  However, his elbow worsened and on June 5th Jeurys Familia underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs and loose fragments from his right elbow.

On September 1st, Familia returned for 1 appearance with PSL, and then journeyed to Brooklyn for a Sept. 4th appearance.  Finally on September 17th, Jeurys Familia capped off his remarkably quick recovery with 1 final appearance in Flushing before shutting down.

Overall, Jeurys pitched in a total of 9 games for the Mets, and made 8 other minor league appearances.

How he fared in 2014:

Following Familia’s elbow surgery the organization abandoned his development as a starting pitcher and shifted him into the bullpen full time.

The move was an overwhelming success.  As a reliever in 2014 Jeurys potentially pitched himself into contention for the 2014 N.L. Rookie of the Year award.

Familia tied for 3rd in MLB with 76 appearances and tied for 6th among all relievers with 77.1 innings pitched.

  • Jeurys posted a 2-5 record, with 5 saves and a 1.177 WHiP.
  • A fine 2.21 ERA fell well below his career minor league 3.85 ERA as a starter.
  • He allowed 59 hits for a 6.9 H/9 average (vs. 8.3 as a minor league starter).
  • Walked 32 batters for a 3.7 W/9 average (vs. 4.0).
  • Fanned 73 batters for an 8.5 K/9 average (vs. 8.6).
  • He also posted a 57.4 GB percentage, and a 75.5 LOB percentage.

Right-handed hitter’s .377 OPS against Familia was the lowest in baseball.

Right-hand hitters only managed a .134/.216/.161 slash against.  However, left-hand hitters fared much better with a .293/.377/.444 slash against.

Areas to improve upon:

The knock against Familia while still starting games in the minors was his control.  As a reliever he demonstrated considerable improvement in 2014, but must still continue lowering his walks.

In my opinion, Familia also needs to gain more confidence in his seldom used change-up.

Surgery clearly helped improve his velocity however.  In 2012, his fastball averaged 95.6mph.  In 2013, it dropped to 94.8mph.  In 2014, his fastball and sinker averaged 96mph, while his slider improved by 2.6mph since 2012.

Projected role in 2015:

You can pencil Familia into the 8th inning/set-up role again.

Bobby Parnell is scheduled to return next season, and will no doubt attempt to wrestle the closer’s role back from Jenrry Mejia.  However, with Jeurys Familia the Mets appear well insured against any potential setbacks to either, or both their closer candidates.

Contract status and trade rumors:

Jeurys Familia earned just slightly above the 2014 MLB minimum, coming in at $502,550.  He missed the Super-Two cut-off and will earn close to the MLB minimum again in 2015.  Jeurys becomes arbitration eligible in 2016.

With regards to trade rumors, his name has been mentioned only fleetingly.

Familia certainly gained exposure and a measure of notoriety during his first full major league season.  I’m sure GMs around baseball will be monitoring Sandy Alderson’s situation as it pertains to Parnell’s return, and whom, if anyone, becomes expendable.