MMO Mets Top 20 Prospects – #2 Jeurys Familia, RHP
The Mets signed Jeurys Familia as an IFA in July of 2007, as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. That will go down as a very important signing to the Mets and their fans. Although he is still in need of some consistency regarding his mechanics, and refining his change-up will be crucial for him to remain a starting pitcher, there are very few critics that don’t see him as anything less than a dominant reliever.
Now at age 22, he has a very projectable “pitcher’s body”. At 6’3″ with a strong lower half, long arms and big hands, he will likely continue to add on muscle as he fills out physically, which should enable him to reach a tic or two higher with his fastball. He has the strength and stamina to pitch deep into games, so the first plan should be for him to remain a starter. But like his fellow power-righty in the system, Matt Harvey, his change-up is his weakest offering and the one on which his future path will hinge.
Heading into 2011, Familia started to reap the benefits of a lot of hard work. Before this past season he was a very good prospect, a 6’3″ right-hander who threw hard, but had trouble with his command and had very little in the way of secondary offerings. The trouble was with Familia’s mechanics which were not smooth, and he had trouble repeating his delivery. Because of this he had too many walks, and was rather predictable on the mound.
During the 2011 season it became evident that things had changed with Familia’s delivery. It was tighter, smoother and he was able to repeat it much better. After 6 starts he was moved up to AA Binghamton from St. Lucie, where he started 17 more games for Bingo, and each time out his mechanics improved. Although he still has a ways to go, he made hugh strides in finding a repeatable delivery, and ironing out his motion. This can clearly be seen in his H/9, and his BB/9 from the last two seasons.
In 2010 Familia had a H/9 of 8.7, and a BB/9 of 5.5. In 2011 it improved to a 7.7 H/9 and a 3.1 BB/9. This caused his WHIP to drop to 1.20 in 2011, from the 1.58 it was in 2010. Familia also made hugh strides with his slider, which had been pretty much a non-factor before last year. During this past season he began to show a slider with plus potential. When his mechanics are good, he doesn’t fly open which causes his arm to drag behind the rest of his body. This causes him to leave the fastball up, and keeps him from getting the proper extension to finish off his slider. With his new improved mechanics this year the slider began to show sharp downward bite, and the makings of a solid swing-and-miss pitch.
Familia’s fastball has always been good, but now it’s even better. He had been throwing 89-92 two years ago, but now is working in the 92-96 MPH range, topping out around 97. When his mechanics are on, his long arms, wide shoulders, and big hands enable him to get that extension. This causes his fastball to leave his hand cleanly, and explode through the zone with movement, and arm side run. This is already a plus-plus pitch and it could even get better.
As long as Familia keeps working hard, continues to hone his mechanics, and is able to throw his change enough to get comfortable with it and gain confidence in the pitch, he has a tremendous upside. I expect him to make his major league debut with the Mets at some point this season. However, the worst thing they could do would be to pull a Jenrry Mejia with him and forgo the rest of his very important development in order to stick him in the big league bullpen. He must remain, as a starter at AAA, for at the very minimum the first half of the season before they even consider calling him up.
Jeurys Familia video
Check back on Thursday when we unveil the #1 ranked player on our list!
2012 MMO Top 20 Prospects
2. Jeurys Familia RHP
3. Matt Harvey RHP
4. Jenrry Mejia RHP
5. Brandon Nimmo OF
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis OF
7. Juan Lagares OF
8. Wilmer Flores INF
9. Cesar Puello RF
10. Reese Havens 2B
11. Cory Mazzoni RHP
12. Jordany Valdespin INF
13. Darin Gorski LHP
14. Phillip Evans SS
15. Jefry Marte 3B
16. Collin McHugh RHP
17. Juan Urbina LHP
18. Akeel Morris RHP
19. Michael Fulmer RHP
20. Danny Muno INF
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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