Mets: Jeurys Familia back among the best closers in MLB

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 09: Jeurys Familia
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 09: Jeurys Familia /

New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia missed almost all of the 2017 season with a blood clot in his throwing shoulder. Through the early part of 2018, he looks to be back on track amongst the game’s top relief pitchers.

Two years ago, New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia was among the game’s top relief pitchers. The right-hander finished the 2016 season first in saves with 51, eighth in WAR at 2.2, and fourth in GB% with an absurd 63.3%.

To put it bluntly, Familia was excellent and a major reason why the Mets reached the postseason in both 2015 and 2016.

The 2017 season was not as kind to Familia as he suffered through a blood clot in his right shoulder in early May. This landed him on the disabled list and derailed much of his season. The club’s bullpen was a disaster thereafter, finishing with an ERA of 4.82.

Just how bad was the bullpen? The ERA was second worst in MLB. Missing Familia certainly played a major part in that.

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Fast forward to this season and the Mets closer has been dominant early on. Familia has yet to allow an earned run in 10 innings pitched and has struck out 13 of the men he has faced.

It appeared that Manager Mickey Callaway was prepared to use Familia in unconventional ways this season. However, it looks as though a pecking order has been formed as Familia has clearly been the guy to get the most save chances this year.

As the season continues, it will be interesting to see if Callaway holds true to his word. Will he stick with what he said in the preseason, suggesting that he would use Familia in high leverage situations prior to the ninth inning more often?

Once that begins to happen Familia’s value will only become larger. Until then, expect Familia to get the ball for the final out as often as possible.

The Mets bullpen ranks first in MLB in ERA heading into action Tuesday night at 1.51. It has been a total group effort with excellent performances coming from nearly everyone. Having a healthy Familia at the back end is the real difference maker.

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If the team wants to go far this season, the bullpen will have to continue to be a strength. Having Jeurys Familia regain his place along the top relief pitchers in the game should continue that trend. The result could help the Mets rebound from their one-year playoff hiatus.