Mets RHP Jeurys Familia is at a similar stage in his career to where Bobby Parnell was when he was finding his way with the Mets in 2009. Back then, Parnell had no choice but to transition from a thrower into a pitcher.
Parnell still struggles with it at times, but he's come a long way from where he was when he only had 23 big-league innings under his belt, which is what Familia enters the season with in 2014.
“I think (Familia) has got as good of stuff as anybody out of the bullpen in the National League,” Dan Warthen recently said (NY Post, Feb. 20). “That’s how good he is. Power, resilience, breaking ball, change-up, sinker. All of it. It’s just a matter of if he’s going to throw the ball across the plate. If he does that, he is going to be good.”
Last year, Familia had a 4.22 ERA in nine appearances before undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
It's always been about command and consistency for Familia, both with his pitch execution and his delivery. Thankfully, he has the raw tools to be an effective closer, which is not an unreasonable expectation given his stuff. He has an electric fastball, a hard slider, and he incorporates a change-up every so-often, although that has always been a work in progress for him.
The Mets will likely endure similar growing pains with Familia this year, as they had to do with Parnell, but I'm OK with that given his potential to contribute in the back-end of the bullpen.