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