Jeurys Familia showed me why the Mets organization speaks so highly of him. If you remember, Mets VP for Scouting and Player Development, Paul DePodesta had this to say about the 21-year old Familia:
A guy like (right-hander) Jeurys Familia, he has a chance to be a big-time guy, and probably hasn’t gotten at least that type of attention.
After struggling mightily with his command in 2010, Familia has improved significantly over the last year. His tempo is much smoother and his overall mechanics are much more fluid this year, leading Familia to have much better command of his arsenal. Here are his overall numbers from the past two seasons:
Familia’s improvement has been remarkable, but with that being said he still has a lot of development left to be an effective big league starter.
- Big strong physical body with more room to add bulk (6’3”, 185lbs). Long arms and big hands. Ideal power pitcher’s frame and physique.
- Good mound presence. Very calm demeanor on the mound.
- Fastball: 94-96 with life in the zone and arm side run. When he gets extension, the ball explodes out of his hand. A true plus fastball when it is good.
- Slider: 78-83. When he gets his release point out in front, the slider is really good. Tends to get a little slurvy at times. Good arm speed. When good it has sharp downward bite, swing and miss pitch.
- Change-up: 80-82. Worst offering by far. He babies this pitch, telling me he lacks confidence in it. Key pitch to attack lefties and for his development as a starter.
- High ¾ release point. Could add more velocity with more leg drive and effort.
- Great attitude and work ethic. Very pleasant young man to talk with.
When Familia is on he is very very good, there are still some lingering issues that he needs to improve upon. While his mechanics are much more fluid, there are still a lot of moving parts involved. It is not quite as free flowing a delivery as you would want to see. He still has some rigid movements that can be smoothed out over time. Familia has trouble repeating his mechanics due to the lack of free flowing rhythm. The numbers show that his delivery has improved, but with some more work on tightening his delivery he will be able to have a more consistent release point. In a conversation I had with Familia after the game, he agreed about his mechanics needing work:
” I have been working on throwing my secondary pitches for strikes, and I have been working on my mechanics a lot in the offseason.”
The effectiveness of Familia’s pitches come from a repeatable release point. You can see in the video that when he misses, he misses up and to the glove side. He does not always get his momentum towards the catcher resulting in his front side being very quick, causing his arm to lag behind.
Familia’s change-up still needs a lot of work. The number one thing in throwing a change-up is trusting the grip to do the work. Clearly Familia has not figured that out yet. He slows his arm speed some to try and guide the pitch to the plate, and that is easily recognized by good hitters. The development of Familia’s change-up is a key issue for him becoming a big league starter. This is a weapon that will help him against left-handed hitters. Here are Familia’s splits from AA this season:
I talked to an AL scout in attendance and he sees Familia as a very effective late inning reliever, due to the inconsistencies mentioned. If you remember, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus also shared this sentiment. Should Familia not be able to develop his change-up, I could definitely see him as a dominant late inning relief type guy with his power fastball and slider combination. I would also like to see Familia pitch a little more with some attitude. He did not own the inside part of the plate, and as a hitter, when you see a guy throwing in the upper 90s and pitching inside consistently, it is not a comfortable at-bat.
However, I will not rule out Familia’s chance to be an effective front of the rotation type starter, due to his age and success at the AA level. Familia being called a late inning reliever type should not be frowned upon, as this carries a ton of value to an organization. Either as a late inning reliever or as a top of the rotation type starter, Familia is clearly one of the best arms in the Mets system.