Jeurys Familia took on the role of closer for the Mets early on in the season when Jenrry Mejia went down with an elbow injury and then was suspended for 80 games for PED use. Mejia being injured and subsequently suspended has turned out to be a real blessing in disguise for the Mets because Familia has stepped right in to exceed most likely anyone’s expectations. With another perfect inning with 2 strikeouts on Monday to close out the Phillies, Familia now owns a 1.60 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 26 K/4 BB in 21.1 IP while converting 14 of 15 save opportunities. But just who is Jeurys Familia? Let’s take this time to “Familia”-rize ourselves with the 25-year old hard-throwing righty.
Familia has been in the Mets organization since 2008 and through the 2012 season he was brought up as a starting pitcher, but he posted modest numbers in that role (3.85 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 8.62 K/9, 3.95 BB/9). Familia received his first taste of the Majors as a September call up in the 2012 season, but he was very ineffective in 8 relief appearances and one spot start.
Familia was able to break camp on the opening day roster as a reliever for the Mets in 2013, but once again he failed to impress because of extremely poor control, something that he also struggled with as a starting pitcher in the Minors. And also in 2013, he underwent elbow surgery to remove bone spurs and that sidelined him for 4 months before he worked his way back to make one final appearance before the season ended.
For the 2014 season, Familia once again found himself working in the Mets bullpen as that apparently was where they saw him best suited long term. Familia went on to post some quality numbers with a 2.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.50 K/9, and 3.75 BB/9 in 77.1 IP while also chipping in 5 saves filling in at closer when needed. His SIERA at 3.21 was a full run higher than his ERA, but the improvements that he showed all across the board were encouraging.
So that brings us to 2015, where despite a relatively spotty track record, Familia has by no means “lucked” his way into the brilliant performance he has given. His walk rate of 1.72 BB/9 is considerably lower than any rate he has posted in the past, but he is achieving that by getting ahead in the count a lot more often than he has in the past. From 2012-14, Familia’s first pitch strike percentages were 42.3%, 51.9%, and 52.8%, but this year he is all the way up to 58.2% and obviously it is a lot easier to prevent free passes if a pitcher is getting ahead in the count early and often.
And how about that strikeout rate of 10.97 K/9? That is also a much higher number than he’s accustomed to, but the improvement is for real. Familia uses a four-seam fastball, a sinking fastball, and a slider. It is his slider that has really taken his game to the next level this year as he is getting a little bit different movement and greater velocity on the pitch this year. In the past it has been a pitch that averaged 86.1 MPH and has fallen out of the strike zone a lot, often times not getting close to the zone which made it easier for hitters to lay off of it. But this year, he is averaging 88.6 MPH on the pitch and it’s staying higher with a little less horizontal movement, and he is able to effectively throw it in or much closer to the zone to get hitters to swing and miss on it. With a 31.0% swinging strike rate on his slider this year (compared to 26.4% last year), Familia’s slider has become one of the better ones in the game. Overall, Familia has an 18.2% swinging strike rate on all his pitches, which is 5th highest among qualified relievers.
His .191 BABIP is a low mark and he will likely see some regression there, but his overall performance is right in line with what the metric systems suggest it would be, as his 1.71 SIERA is not far off from his 1.60 ERA. So if you were worried about Familia not being able to keep up his amazing performance, this all should ease your worries a bit.
Now let’s take a look at the rest of Memorial Day’s action!
Brett Gardner – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Gardner continues to enjoy a nice season and should go on to maintain a considerable amount of value. He’s hitting .285 with 4 HR, 19 RBI, 29 R, and 12 SB.
Chase Headley – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Headley won’t be blasting 31 HR ever again like he did in 2012, but this season he should be able to better his 2nd best mark of 13 HR. That’s a pretty remarkable difference between a player’s best HR season and his 2nd best HR season. Makes you wonder what he was doing differently in 2012. Headley now has 6 HR on the year with a .255 AVG.
Brian McCann – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K. McCann has hit 20 HR in 7 straight seasons and in 8 of his 9 full seasons. That’s pretty good for a catcher and probably something that many people don’t realize that he’s done. However, gone are the days of posting anything resembling a good AVG because he gets killed by the defensive shift since he pulls the ball nearly half the time that he hits it. I would expect another 20 bombs for McCann this year, but that’ll come with a .230 AVG.
Nathan Eovaldi – 7 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K with the W. Eovaldi came into Memorial day with the 2nd highest hard hit allowed rate in the Majors at 36.2%, but he was able to escape his start versus the Royals limiting the damage to just 1 run. Perhaps being staked to an 11 run lead after the first inning gave him some extra comfort. I said before that Eovadli has the potential but he needs to show some consistency from start to start before he should be considered for fantasy lineups.
Jeremy Guthrie – 1 IP, 9 H, 11 ER, 3 BB, 1 K with the L. Guthrie in a hitter’s park versus a lineup of 8 lefties/switch hitters = disaster. Nobody should be surprised by this shellacking, not even Guthrie himself.
Greg Holland – 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. A couple weeks ago I told you about Holland and what was going on with him in “Mr. Holland’s Opus Is Not Music to My Ears.” Pitching on Monday just to get some work in, Holland struggled and his fastball velocity continues to sit in the 93-94 MPH range as opposed to the 96+ MPH that he’s used to. Holland still isn’t right and I’m not sure if he ever will get right this season. I would definitely advise to trade him to an unsuspecting owner if you own him before his numbers get so out of control that other people will recognize that he isn’t the same. It also doesn’t help Holland’s case that the Royals have a perfectly viable replacement in Wade Davis.
Charlie Blackmon – 1 for 3, 2 R, 3 SB, 2 BB, 1 K. The 3 SB on Monday give him 10 SB for the year and although Blackmon is not enjoying the same type of first couple of months that he had last season, he’s still producing nicely and is just a little behind pace to match last year’s counting stats. However, the big difference in him so far this year is his strikeout rate is up from 14.8% last year to 21.0% this year, which is preventing him from hitting for a good AVG. The good news though is that his swinging strike rate is right in line with last year’s mark, so I think that he should be able to start trimming that strikeout rate and be a .280 hitter.
Nolan Arenado – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R. Another big day at the plate for Arenado. He’s heating up.
John Axford – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K with the SV. Axford converted another save to remain perfect in save opportunities. With almost as many walks as strikeouts, this is not going to last for Axford so Rafael Betancourt should be on the radar for those looking for saves.
Todd Frazier – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Frazier continues to launch the bombs with his 13th of the season. I didn’t think he would show the same type of power that he did last year, but he is certainly proving me wrong.
Marlon Byrd – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R. Byrd and his swing for the fences approach that he adopted a couple years ago now pretty sneakily has 10 HR on the season. Although the .211 AVG is also a direct result of the swing for the fences approach.
Lucas Duda – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R. Duda showing that he can still hit the righties too as he went yard on Monday. Read “Duda Do Thaaaaat?” for more information on the Mets first baseman.
Michael Cuddyer – 1 for 2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K. After two seasons in a row of hitting for a .330 AVG, there was surely no way that he would be able to come close to that this season after signing with the Mets. Cuddyer is missing Coors Field but he was able to knock one out of Citi Field on Monday. He’s now hitting just .250 with 4 HR, 18 RBI, 22 R, and 0 SB and not a whole lot better should be expected of him.
Wilmer Flores – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Flores flexing his middle infield power again. He’s now got 7 HR on the season and is worth a look at a shallow position in roto leagues. It wouldn’t shock me if he hit 20 HR.
George Springer – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. Springer is now 10 for his last 24 to raise his AVG from .185 to a more respectable .224. He has hit leadoff the last two games now, so he may see some more time there as the Astros look to find some more consistency in their offense. Springer should continue to improve but it would be unwise to expect much more than a .250 AVG. But a 30 HR/30 SB season would more than make up for the bad low AVG.
Preson Tucker – 2 for 4, 1 K. Tucker continues to hit when in the lineup. He’s now batting .341. I do recommend taking a flier on him.
Dallas Keuchel – 8 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the L. A complete game for Keuchel, but he’s handed his first loss of the season. His ERA and WHIP will continue to rise, but he’s the leader of that Astros staff and a fine option for any fantasy squad.
Steve Pearce – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Pearce just can’t seem to get much going as his AVG has dipped back under .200. He did knock a dong on Monday though and it bears repeating that he has gained 2B eligibility and his power at that position can be valuable as long as he starts hitting more to get that AVG up, and to stay in the lineup.
Caleb Joseph – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. Joseph has been filling in nicely for Matt Wieters as catcher for the Orioles as he now has a .270 AVG, 4 HR, 18 RBI, and 16 R. Joseph has hit as many as 22 HR in a season as recently as 2013 in AA, so he certainly does have some pop in that bat. Wieters may be back within a couple of weeks though, so Joseph’s time as a starter should be coming to an end soon.
Trevor Plouffe – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 2 K. With another HR on Monday, Plouffe may be headed toward a career best season at the age of 28.
Joe Kelly – 1.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K with the L. You have to love the confidence in Joe Kelly when he said that he was going to win the AL Cy Young Award this season, but this is just funny the way he is getting knocked around after such a proclamation. He has a 6.24 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.
Nori Aoki – 4 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB. Big game for Aoki against his former team. He’s an underrated player but he’s been a great signing for the Giants. He’s nice for points leagues where walks cancel out the strikeouts.
Hunter Pence – 3 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 BB. Pence is now hitting .342 with 1 HR, 9 RBI, 9 R, and 1 SB in 10 games since returning from the DL. He’s been one of the most consistent performers since breaking into the league in 2007 and that isn’t going to change this year.
Khris Davis – 3 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 K. Davis has scuffled most of the season, but he’s turning it up a notch as of late. He now has 5 HR on the season and is capable of hitting 25 if he can get hot at some point.
Ryan Braun – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 K. Braun is still hot! That’s all.
Adam Lind – 0 for 4. For as hot as Braun is, that’s as cold as Lind has gotten. Lind is just 1 for his last 19 and has seen his AVG dip from .295 to .264 during that span. He’s a good hitter versus righties, but right now he’s not a good hitter versus anyone. He should be able to turn it around soon though.
Kyle Lohse – 5.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K with the L. This finally looks like the year that Lohse stops out performing his projections. For the last 4 years he has somehow managed to post healthy ERA’s and WHIP’s, but never in his career has he had a SIERA under 4.00.
Wily Peralta – Peralta hit the DL with a strained oblique and will be out 4-6 weeks. He had a decent season last year, but he wasn’t that great of a bet to repeat or improve this year anyway. Leave him for the waiver wire.
Kris Bryant – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Bryant has a 12-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but he started a new streak on Monday by going yard for the 6th time this season. He’s aiiiight.
Tsuyoshi Wada – 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Wada had a big strikeout performance last game but couldn’t qualify for the win, and he followed it up on Monday by having another nice start. He’s not a huge strikeout pitcher so this is a bit of a surprise, but he could definitely maintain a rate around 7.50 K/9 and be a quality fantasy option. I wouldn’t mind giving him a try if he’s available.
Tanner Roark – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K with the W. Roark pitched nicely in his first start since moving into the rotation this year, but as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t get too excited about him. The low strikeout rate is unappealing to me, but he can post quality ERA and WHIP numbers.
Drew Storen – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. Storen has been very dominant closing out games this season and after never having posted a strikeout rate above 9.00 K/9, he is up to 11.51 K/9 on the season thanks to getting a lot more horizontal movement on his slider this year. The K’s are for real and at just age 27, Storen should go on to be one of the better closers for the next several seasons if he can keep getting that type of movement on his slider.
Carlos Martinez – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Martinez is on a roll right now as he now has a 4-2 record with a 3.54 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 56 K/24 BB in 53.1 IP. But I would still be concerned long term with a possible innings limit on him this season. For now, it’s safe to roll him out versus right-handed heavy lineups and/or lineups that don’t walk a whole lot.
Prince Fielder – 3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 K. Simply en fuego.
Josh Hamilton – 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Hamilton’s triumphant return to a Rangers uniform didn’t go over very well. That line resembles about 80% of the lines he posted while with the Angels. He hit 5th in the lineup and played left field, while Delino DeShields played center field and still hit leadoff. It was Leonys Martin who was the odd man out and it’ll be interesting to see if that continues or if the Rangers mix and match.
Shawn Tolleson – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV. That’s 4 clean saves in a row for Tolleson. Meanwhile, Neftali Feliz went on the DL on Monday. This will be the last time that I say Tolleson is the man and that I told you so.
Jesse Hahn – 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with the W. I’m not going to say that I thought he would pitch a CGSO, but I did think that this was going to be a pretty good opportunity for him to have a nice start since the Tigers had Miguel Cabrera on the bench on Monday. I did start Hahn in DFS, but stupidly I also started Joe Kelly. You win some, you lose some. The strikeouts aren’t there for Hahn this year, which is a bit odd considering that he is enjoying a 1.7 MPH increase on his two-seam fastball. But the walks are down for Hahn, so that is helping to make up a bit for those lost strikeouts. It’s hard to say if those strikeouts will return, but if they do then Hahn is going to be a nice pitcher to own. Hahn is now 2-4 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 36 K/12 BB in 53.2 IP.
Ben Zobrist – Zobrist was activated from the DL on Monday but didn’t start. He should find his way back into the starting lineup soon enough though. I was down on him coming into the year, but he was spending all his time as the A’s #3 hitter before he got injured. So if he returns to that role then he can surely carve out some value.
Giancarlo Stanton – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K. Mike drop. It wasn’t a big time bomb, but it did show off his opposite field power. A friend of mine said it best: “He looks ripped even through his jersey.”
Francisco Cervelli – 2 for 2, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. It was Cevelli’s first HR of the season, but despite the .304 AVG he is not showing many significant signs of any sort of breakout. He’s not worth a starting catcher spot in fantasy except in deep or two catcher leagues.
Charlie Morton – 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K with the W. Morton made his first start of the season in his return from the DL and he right away showed some classic Morton stuff by inducing a ton of ground balls but with limited strikeouts. Last year he did have 7.21 K/9, but it would probably be a stretch to expect a number like that from him again. In the right matchups he is a fine streamer.
Josh Donaldson – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB. Dong-aldson. With Jose Reyes back in the lineup hitting leadoff, Donaldson should find a little more value as the team’s regular #2 hitter, but his value was already pretty high anyway.
Drew Hutchison – 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K with the W. A masterful game from Hutchison who has battled some early season struggles. However, it did come against the White Sox offense that made guys like Trevor May and Kyle Gibson look really awesome in their previous two games. But it was an encouraging start nonetheless and Hutchison was hitting his spots and was really efficient with his pitches. He struggled versus lefties last year, but so far he has reversed the trend this year and it is righties that are getting to him. If he really has figured out lefties then it should just be a matter of time for his numbers against righties to improve and he could go on to have a pretty nice season.
Jose Bautista – Bautista received a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Monday as he took a day of rest. Bautista has been playing with a hurt shoulder for a while now, but only as a DH. The pain in the shoulder hasn’t seem to have had an adverse effect on his offense a whole lot, which is all that the fantasy world really cares about.
Fernando Rodney – 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the SV. Rodney escaped with the save in this one, but I still find it hard to trust him for the long run. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me too much if he turned things around.
Jake Odorizzi – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K with the L. Another strong start from Odorizzi as he continues his productive ways as a transformed pitcher with his new cutter and improved splitter. He is now 3-5 with a 2.31 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 53 K/12 BB in 66.1 IP.
Andre Ethier – 2 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB. Hitting .313 with 6 HR and 17 RBI, Ethier is rolling along in the absence of Yasiel Puig. He is a strong start versus lefties in any fantasy league.
Alex Guerrero – 1 for 1, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R. I’d still like to see what Guerrero could do if he was an everyday starter. Right now he is receiving semi-regular playing time, but in Monday’s game he came in as a pinch-hitter to swat his 8th HR of the year.
Williams Perez – 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Perez posted his 2nd straight 7 K start making him an intriguing option to stream. He is a ground ball machine, so he could have some value here, but I would like to see more from him first before recommending him.
Tyson Ross – 6 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. More of the same from Ross that I outlined in “Are Tyson’s Punch Outs Enough?” Lots of strikeouts, but a lot of hits + walks, and another 3 stolen bases that he allowed. He has now allowed 18 SB (in 22 attempts) in 10 starts. That is a pretty ridiculous pace.
Jered Weaver – 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Weaver is on a roll right now and he almost has his ERA below 4.00, but I said earlier this season that I would be pretty shocked if he finished the season with an ERA under 4.00. My stance on that still holds as I just don’t see how he can be successful with the extremely diminished velocity.