#6: Jeurys Familia Scouting Report

Familia has some of the system's best arm strength

In 2010, Jenrry Mejia received much of the recognition when it came to young, power arms in the organization. While Mejia pitched under the New York spotlight, Jeurys Familia took many important strides under the comparative shadow of his Dominican peer. The right-hander could take even bigger strides in 2011. Look inside to find out how he can make that happen.

Vital Statistics
Name: Jeurys Familia
DOB: October 10, 1989
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 185
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (7/13/2007)

In 2010, Jenrry Mejia received much of the recognition when it came to young, power arms in the organization. While Mejia pitched under the New York spotlight, Jeurys Familia took many important strides under the comparative shadow of his Dominican peer. The Mets' inked Familia in the summer of 2007 – three months after Mejia – and though he hasn't rocketed up the system with similar speed, Familia is a high upside arm that should command greater attention in 2011.

Familia, 21, spent the entire season in St. Lucie where he battled both a new league and an oil fire (which forced him to miss time in May with burns on his pitching hand and wrist), but in the end he showed the promising growth that cemented him as one of the organization's best pitching prospects.

One glance at Familia's stat sheet and one would not see that development. A 6-9 record, 5.58 ERA and 74 walks in 121 innings are hardly the numbers of a sixth ranked prospect, though he did strikeout 137. However, with many young pitchers all it can take is one consistent, powerful stretch. The right-hander had that stretch last summer during which he demonstrated improvements with his secondary pitches and posted a 4-1 record, 3.44 ERA and a 51/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his final six starts.

"The coaches are very happy with me and are happy about my control and delivery," Familia told Inside Pitch late in the season. "They want me to realize the difference from how I was pitching before and how I'm pitch now. I think everything is going really good right now."

"He took some big steps during the summer," former Mets pitching coordinator Rick Waits added in a late-season interview. "He had a rough go of it during the early part of the season, but we had him working on his changeup and focusing on how he finishes he pitches and we really saw the difference down the stretch."

The peripheral numbers were strong for Familia. He averaged 1.61 ground balls for every fly ball, the opposition hit under .260 against him, he allowed seven home runs allowed in 121 innings and posted 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. The numbers speak to a pitcher that has the stuff to be success beyond what his final stat sheet said.

Now expectations are for Familia to make the jump next season when he moves up to Double-A Binghamton. Unpolished? Yes. However, coaches saw no reason why Familia can't assert himself as the potential heir to Mejia's top pitching prospect status.

"He's still a bit raw and he's still got work to do, but I think you've got to be excited about the growth he had this year," Waits said. "He's got a big arm and he's really started to put the rest of his pitches together. I think he's pitcher with a very bright future."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2010

St. Lucie

6-9

0

121.0

117

74

137

5.58

2009

Savannah

10-6

0

134.0

109

46

109

2.69

2008

GCL

2-2

0

34.0

46

13

38

2.79



Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball: It is not often that a player experiences such a dramatic rise in fastball velocity, but Familia has and it paid off big time for his stock. Familia sat 91-93 MPH last season, topping out at 94 MPH. In 2010, however, Familia repeatedly reached 97-98 MPH while pitching around 93-94 MPH. That is significant for a big right-hander with durable upper body strength. He generates excellent tail on his two-seam fastball, improving on the downward movement he started creating after a tweak to his two-seam grip. His four-seam fastball flashes some cutting action, but the most important factor is that his fastball has natural movement. He still has a tendency to overthrow which saps some of his command, but maturity and a better understanding that he can pitch more effectively at lower velocities should allow for corrections.

Other Pitches: Familia's slider is his top secondary pitch. Thrown in the high-70s to low-80s, it flashes good, late bite but still requires some polish before it can become a truly effective put away pitch. However, he made strides with it during the second half of the season which was one reason for the dramatic increase in his strikeout ratio. He has a tendency to overthrow it too which forces it to stay up. When he develops more consistency down in the zone, it will become a plus pitch. Familia made positive gains with his low-80s changeup this year, moving in the direction of it becoming a viable third pitch. He showed better arm tempo, and command in and around the strike zone later in the year. When on, the changeup gets good drop and can be a reliable strikeout pitch.

Pitching: Familia has a well-timed leg kick and keeps his body in sync and did a better job of driving toward the plate this year. In previous seasons, he relied much more on arm strength which caused his arm and elbow to drag. He cleaned that up this year and is now getting better finish on his pitches, particularly his secondary pitches. Familia is a confident pitcher, one who trusts his stuff and is improving his pitchability and situational understanding. Now, it is just a matter of fine-tuning mechanics and getting better feel for his changeup. Familia will pitch inside without hesitation and showed the willingness to use any pitch in any count.

Projection: Familia is still a bit a raw, but took important strides with his secondary pitches last season. Whether he develops into a starter at the big league level will be contingent on his changeup and command. He boasts a very exciting live arm, but still has work to do becoming more consistent in the strike zone. If he can do that and his changeup continues to make progress, he will have tools to pitch in the front half of the rotation. If the changeup does not progress, he projects as an overpowering bullpen arm. Pitching in Double-A next season will be the barometer for which path he takes.

ETA: 2012. As mentioned, Familia should open next season in Double-A. With a shift in organizational philosophy, he will likely spend the entire season in Binghamton. From there, he should have a shot at cracking the Mets roster during the 2012 season as a reliever or possibly late in the year for his first big league starts.

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