In last night’s 5-1 loss to the Cardinals, Jeurys Familia made his Major League debut in the eighth inning and allowed a hit while striking out one.
“I threw the first strike and felt better,” Familia said. “I was excited because I know [Lance Berkman] is a superstar.”
Familia went 9-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 137 innings with Triple-A Buffalo this season. He allowed 145 hits, 73 walks, but only eight home runs with 128 strikeouts.
Michael Baron, ContributorI know Familia has been a starter all year, but I can get used to what he put on display last night late in games going forward. He gassed Berkman on a fastball up and away to get his first out, gave up a single to Daniel Descalso but then induced an inning ending double play from Matt Carpenter. His fastball is consistently un the upper 90s and, while he only threw one slider last night, it has hard and heavy movement down and in towards the left-handed hitter. His stuff has been filthy all year long, but he is clearly still a bit raw when it comes to how refined that stuff is. That’s indicated by his high walk total in the minors this season – he walked 4.8 batters per nine innings in his 28 starts.
As is the case with Jenrry Mejia, Familia expends a lot of energy per pitch. As a result, Familia also profiles as a reliever in the long-term. It’s not to say he can’t thrive as a starting pitcher, especially since Jenrry Mejia has seemingly found more success as a starter than he has as a reliever. But his mechanics as well as his stuff might make him more suitable to be a dominant, late game reliever, and ultimately give him the most value in the Major Leagues. I would expect Terry Collins to put him in higher leveraged situations this season to see what he’s capable in that role.