Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190 lbs
Acquired: NDFA ‘07
Born: 10/10/89 (Santo Domingo, DR)
2011 Rank: #10
Why Ranked Here: Familia has the best fastball in the Mets system in the upper minors. In the summer of 2011, he was throwing 94-96 mph, and hit 97 mph. The guys who throw hardest are hardest to hit. As Mike said, when he saw him in August, in addition to good armside run, “When he gets extension, the ball explodes out of his hand.” Familia fanned almost a quarter of the batters he faced in double-A.
Early in the season, an American League scout who had been watching Familia for years, noted that his delivery was more fluid, and he was noticeably athletic. This helps explain his improved command over a year ago. His walk rate dropped from 13% in St. Lucie in 2010, to 6% in 2011, and then rose back up to 9% in double-A.
His slider too, has a chance to be a consistently above average and can be a swing and miss pitch.
His changeup is a very distant third pitch, and led to left-handers hitting him very hard in double-A. For him to remain a starter, he will need to find some way to attack lefties.
If Familia does not figure out a way to combat lefties, and continue to improve his command, the bullpen might well be his final destination. However, given a strong season in double-A, ruling out his chance to start seems rash. His manager, Wally Backman, a man who knows something about championship baseball, thought he could start on a playoff team.
2011: Familia dominated the Florida State League for six starts in April. By May, he was in double-A. There were a pair of red flags in Familia’s 2011: trouble versus left-handers and recurring arm soreness.
Now, about those lefties. In 55 PA versus lefthanders, in the Florida State League, Familia allowed just a .170/.245/.277 line. However that jumped to an obscene .331/.401/.551 in 153 PA in the Eastern League. Righties did not hit Familia anywhere (.171/.213/.263 in the FSL and .194/.288/.257 in the EL).
Dr. Pangloss Says: #2 starter on a playoff team
Debbie Downer Says: A reliever (but potentially a good one)
Projected 2012 Start: AA Binghamton. Earlier in the off-season, AAA Buffalo seemed like the liklier call, given that Familia had 17 good starts at AA to his credit and seemingly had little to prove at the lower level. However, even Wally Backman expects him to start at double-A.
MLB Arrival: 2012
How About Some Strikeouts?