It seems like eons since the Mets were back in Spring Training given all the ups and downs we’ve endured during the first two months of the regular season.
One of the players I was very excited about for the upcoming 2014 season, was starter-turned-reliever, Jeurys Familia.
The hard-throwing 24-year old came into camp fresh off a dominating performance in Winter Ball that had more than one scout raving about his 103 MPH fastball.
Two weeks into Mets camp, I wrote that Familia “was quickly establishing himself as the most lethal weapon the Mets will have in the pen this season.”
When Familia is on the mound and throwing strikes, he is virtually unhittable. And on those few occasions when opposing batters do make contact, his sinker as well as his slider which has a downward motion, keeps most of his batted balls on the ground.
Familia is an imposing presence and when he hurls his 6-foot-4, 230 pound frame towards home plate and that ball flies out of his hand it’s a daunting task for hitters to square up against him.
The Dominican native also possesses a swagger that you want to see in a late-inning reliever. “When I see a hitter step into the batter’s box, it’s time for me to get serious and go after them,.” Familia said back in March.
Given his impressive skill set, his strong build, and that quiet confidence, I predicted that he would eventually become the team’s closer by 2015.
It now looks like he’s evolved much quicker than even I expected.
“He’s getting closer,” Collins told beat writers. “Three days in a row, pounding the strike zone, throwing his breaking ball for strikes, the confidence is really mounting on him. Yeah, he’s real close.”
In his last nine appearances, Familia has allowed only one earned run on four hits, with three walks and 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.
I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is to see how quickly he’s evolved right before our very eyes. He’s become a force to be reckoned with.
Even though he wasn’t used in the first game of the Subway Series on Monday, it would be so cool to see him earn a save during one of the four Subway Series games. If it happens, that sound you’ll hear will be me cheering him on.
(Photo Credit: David Conde/MMN)