Mets are reportedly concerned with Jeurys Familia’s control

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia has been a good reliever for a long time. He is 31 and has spent most of his career with the New York Mets, he went to a World Series with them, and has a 3.20 ERA in 439.1 innings during his nine-year MLB tenure.

Yet the Mets are, at this point in spring training, concerned about the right-hander’s control. Familia has given more than six walks per nine innings in the last two seasons, and it’s worrisome that he can’t throw strikes consistently.

According to’s Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo, the Mets “are concerned enough with Jeurys Familia’s control that they have instructed James McCann and other catchers to have Familia aim for the middle of the plate. They hope that in that fashion, the natural movement on Familia’s pitches — particularly his sinker — will matter more than the precise location of them.”

It sounds like a good strategy. Familia had a decent 3.71 ERA last season, but it won’t last long if he keeps running a 7.76 K/9 and a 6.41 BB/9.

The Mets’ struggling relievers

Talking about Familia and fellow struggling reliever Dellin Betances, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas showed faith in them. “They bring so much — their experience, their demeanor in the clubhouse, their demeanor out there,” he said. “They’re both working on new things.”

Familia delivered 31 pitches on Thursday, and he pitched a scoreless inning despite two walks and a fly ball to the warning track.

Familia said he felt “excellent” and said his plan is to incorporate a four-seamer with more regularity.

“It’s not a new pitch,” Familia said through an interpreter. “But this season, and this Spring Training as well, I’ve been trying to incorporate that more.”

The new pitch mix can help, but if Familia can’t consistently throw strikes, it would be very hard for him to repeat a sub-4.00 ERA in 2021.

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