Three Years Should Outweigh One Pitch for Jeurys Familia, and Mets Fans

With one 96-MPH pitch to Conor Gillaspie, Jeurys Familia saw the 2016 season end for the New York Mets and his reputation change among the fan base forever.

However, Familia does not deserve the sudden status of not being able to perform in the playoffs that is already being saddled on his back by some.

Over the past three seasons, Familia has been an important cog in the Mets bullpen and a key piece on sending the Mets to back-to-back playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history. In 2014, he threw 77.1 innings, ending the season with a 2.21 ERA, 3.07 FIP, a 22.7% strikeout rate, a 9.9% walk rate, and a 0.8 WAR. He also had 23 holds that season. He followed up that campaign with two of the better seasons a reliever can have. He assumed the closer role after Jenrry Mejia was suspended for a second (of three) failed drug test, and he ran with it. He threw 78 innings in 2015, ending the year with a 1.85 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 27.9% strikeout rate, a 6.2% walk rate, 43 saves, and a 1.6 WAR.

Amazingly, he was even better in the 2016 campaign, finishing the season earning a league-leading (and Mets club record) 51 saves, a 2.55 ERA, a 2.39 FIP, a 26.2% K rate, a 9.7% BB rate, and a 2.2 WAR over 77.2 IP. While his ERA went up, his FIP and WAR were better than the previous year; he keeps on getting better and better.

Over that three-year time span, Familia has the ninth-most saves (99) among all qualified relievers, which is impressive considering he was not a closer in 2014. He has the 10th-best ERA (2.20), 17th-best FIP (2.73), and 11th-best WAR (4.7). There are only a handful of relievers in the entire league who are better than Familia has been over the last three years.

Contrary to popular belief, Familia was excellent in the 2015 playoffs as well. In 14.2 IP over all three series, he had 12 strikeouts, a 0.61 ERA, and a 0.477 WHIP. To further that, he did not give up a run in either the NLDS or the NLCS; all of his runs given up came against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, and he still only gave up one earned run, two total, in the entire series.

There is no question that not only was Familia an elite regular season performer, he was an elite postseason performer as well, and the Mets would not have seen the success they have seen without him.

Familia has his name in club history as well, even outside his record setting 51 saves this past season. His 100 saves rank fifth in team history, one behind Billy Wagner. His 2.50 career ERA is second among all qualified relievers. His 2.88 FIP is sixth, his 4.5 WAR is eighth. His 24.6% K rate is sixth. He is one of the best overall relievers, let alone closers, in Mets team history.

Familia is not without his red flags, however, and all of those flags are because of his usage.

As evidenced by Mark Simon’s tweets, Familia was simply overworked, and that overuse by manager Terry Collins ended up affecting Familia, like it would affect anyone. If the Mets tone down his usage going forward, there’s no telling how dominant he can be.

Over the past two seasons, the Mets have won 177 games; Familia has saved 94 of them (53 percent). Simply put, Familia has been one of the most important pieces of the last two seasons.

One pitch decided the 2016 Mets season, but that pitch should not allow fans to forget three years of dominance from Jeurys Familia.

One Response

  1. Pilot Mike

    I don’t think all games can be equally weighted in this assessment. I know the numbers state he is better than most if not all at his position in the game right now but the numbers don’t take into account what the video footage says. I watch this guy and he doesn’t look confident. Like a talented man that isn’t quite 100% certain how it’s happening. Someone that can just cough it up at any moment. That’s just my take from what I see on television. Kind of the same feeling you get watching David Wright throw to first these days. Almost always ready for him to throw one away. I don’t think you can quantify that in statistics but that indeterminant value is real. Watch Asdrubal Cabrera take a grounder and throw to first. He’s a vacuum and won’t raise any extra ticks in your pulse. That intangible is what Familia lacks. Just one man’s opinion. Also, in addition, I’m not a major league pitcher so I can’t really have an informed opinion on this but I don’t understand how you get worn down throwing 20 pitches three times a week for 6 months when you are an athlete in peak physical condition at the prime of your life. I don’t get it.


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