The youth movement for the New York Mets may soon be underway as manager Terry Collins suggested that Jeurys Familia is inching closer and closer to the ninth-inning role in the bullpen.
The 24-year-old Dominican Republic native, has the most upside in the Mets bullpen, and he has found his stride as of late. In May, Familia has only allowed one earned run in seven appearances, and he has only allowed three hits in that span. Familia has long been one of the Mets’ most talented arms, but his control was his Achilles’ heel.
After walking six batters in nine innings of work in April, he has cut that down to two walks in his six innings of work in May. He has earned his manager’s trust, and he looks to be one of the most reliable arms in an otherwise suspect bullpen.
Jose Valverde proved to be a failed experiment in the closer’s role, and while Kyle Farnsworth has proven to a be a serviceable relief pitcher in Bobby Parnell‘s absence, his career averages prove that he can’t be trusted in that role for an extended period of time. Add on the fact that he is also 38 years old, and the Mets can’t be relying on his arm in the dog days of August because who knows if he will still be effective.
Familia is the Mets’ best option right now. He has a power arm as both his fastball and sinker reach the upper 90s, and when he is able to control it, his changeup is just nasty. His ability isn’t the issue here. He could turn out to be a dominant closer, but it’s all about his control. If he has confidence in his pitching, Familia will succeed in this role.
This could also signify a change for the Mets organization as a whole. By potentially moving Familia to the back end of the bullpen, this could be a sign of a youth movement. How soon will Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard make their major league debuts? It could be sooner than we think, and the Mets need that right now. They are stuck in a slump, and they need to find a way to rejuvenate their team and the fans.
This has become a transition year for the Mets, and it starts with moving Familia to the closer role.