New York Mets pitching prospect Jeurys Familia is not making things easy for the team’s decision makers that will ultimately pick the Mets opening-day roster. Familia pitched out of the Mets bullpen last September and came to spring training with a chance to earn a roster spot in that same role. After the Mets signed a multitude of veteran relief pitchers this offseason like Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, and Pedro Feliciano, the chances of Familia making the team out of spring training took a big hit, but he has pitched well enough to stay in the conversation for a bullpen spot on the opening-day roster.
Familia’s biggest issue during his time in the minor leagues has been his control, but that’s been an area where Famila has shown noticeable improvement this spring. He has cut down on his walks this spring, and is therefore not hurting himself and getting into trouble. When he’s able to find the strike zone Familia has an electric fastball and a devastating slider; both of which can be considered plus pitches that create swings and misses. Although he has been a starter throughout his career, Familia has the perfect repertoire for a relief pitcher, with two quality pitches, which get even better when he’s able to throw them for strikes.
Familia is just 22 years old, but he has a full year at AAA under his belt and he has started to figure things out this spring, pitching like a guy that belongs in the big leagues. His performance has taken him from the outside looking in to being a serious contender to break camp with the Mets. As well as he has pitched this spring and as strong a case as he has made to be included on the Mets opening-day roster, Familia is still likely to get left off and return to AAA to start the season. However, the Mets have taken notice of him this spring, and he has made great strides towards being a finished product as a late-inning reliever in the major leagues. So even if he’s left off the roster to start the season, it won’t be long until he becomes a big part of the Mets bullpen.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.