Jeurys Familia has had a confusing season for the 2021 New York Mets. At least this is the case from a statistical standpoint. After 4.2 innings of work, he owns a 1.93 ERA. Fantastic! Let’s throw a parade and invite him over for dinner.
It couldn’t be more misleading. He has a 1.71 WHIP, has allowed 11.6 hits per nine, and walked nearly four batters per nine—actually below his career average though.
It’s a case of early relief pitcher numbers not really meshing together fully. Only at this point of the year can a guy look great in some areas and so dreadfully bad in others. The only consistency we have seen from Familia’s year is how he has been used. Thus far, he’s pitching when there is little pressure.
Jeurys Familia’s role in the 2021 Mets bullpen
Familia has finished four games for the Mets—twice in victories and twice in a loss. Both victories were non-save situations with the Mets ahead by four runs or more. He did get action in one game to earn a hold and entered another with the team trailing. He’s six games into his season. I’m not about to start handing him save opportunities. I do wonder, though, if we’ll ever see him pitching in more crucial situations.
The way Familia has been used isn’t how an $11+ million reliever is typically are. Originally brought back to work as a setup man, Familia has clearly been demoted to start this year. The Mets brought in Trevor May and Aaron Loup this offseason to handle the closer duties. They’ve put trust in Miguel Castro to also perform in high-leverage situations.
Left behind, Familia isn’t quite a mop-up man nor is he someone we have yet to see with the pressuring weighing down. His role with the 2021 Mets has been quite perfect for him.
Any chance for a bullpen promotion?
If Familia continues to prevent runs from scoring, it’s going to be hard to avoid the temptation to at least not see how he does in a setup role. Only his first game included runners crossing home plate.
Known for the occasional implosion on the mound, the Mets have been cautious and should remain so with Familia. They have pitchers you could argue are worse than he is in the bullpen. Also behind a few guys in terms of ability, Familia is caught somewhere in the middle.
More than any other group of players in baseball, a bullpen needs to remain flexible. Other than closer, roles aren’t really defined too well. We’ve seen Luis Rojas remain pretty strict with who he does and doesn’t trust. Familia, one of those outsiders, does have a resume to suggest he is capable of doing more than finishing blowouts.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
For a promotion, we need to see more than a low ERA. Familia needs to consistently avoid his on-again-off-again relationship with danger. He needs to look more than good. He needs to be masterful. I definitely believe the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to Familia. He’s working well right now. Let’s not toy with anything.