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Jeurys Familia earns the rare Condor Win May 28, 2016

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I thought the story of last night’s game would be Julio Urias, but I was wrong.

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

May 27 was the worst outing Jeurys Familia has had since 2012. He came into a non-save situation – four runs up, but he hadn’t worked in a few days – and promptly allowed singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick before striking out Joc Pederson. Yasiel Puig singled, followed by Yasmani Grandal walking to force in a run. Trayce Thompson struck out, but Chase Utley squeaked a two-out double to clear the bases. With the game now tied, Familia struck out Corey Seager to end the inning. (Fortunately, Curtis Granderson picked him up with a home run.)

I’ve heard some people describing Jeurys’ win last night as a ‘vulture win,’ but I disagree. A vulture win is granted when a pitcher blows the save but wins the game anyway. Familia didn’t blow the save – he blew a non-save situation. That’s much bigger than a vulture win – it’s a condor win.

The lore around Familia has become that he’s a high-pressure worker – that he pitches well in save situations, but that he can’t manage to bring it home when he just comes in to stay busy. I’m not so sure that’s true.

First, this year’s numbers: Jeurys has had 16 save oppportunities in 2016, over which he’s had 60 plate appearances, held opposing batters to a .207/.233/.224 slash line, and walked 2 batters while striking out 12 for a 6.00 KBB. In 2015, there were only eight relievers (who pitched in 40 games or more and relieved 95% of their games) to keep a KBB above 6; that number will likely come down a bit, although Familia’s pitching style means it’s likely to stay above average. (A list of last year’s relievers sorted by KBB is here.) Meanwhile, in his 8 non-save situations this year, Jeurys has allowed a .371/.421/.486 slash line over 38 plate appearances with 9 strikeouts but 3 walks. Hm – not closer stuff, definitely, but keep in mind that Jeurys’ defense tends to help him out more in save situations. His BAbip in save situations this year has been .261 – below the league average, which hovers around .300, by a bit – but in non-saves it’s been considerably worse, at an even .500. This could indicate that the defense behind Jeurys plays a role in those results.

In fact, last year’s numbers bear out a significantly similar trend:

in Sv Situ 49 199 185 12 37 5 12 55 4.58 .200 .247 .314 .561 .254
in non-Sv 27 109 100 4 22 1 7 31 4.43 .220 .284 .300 .584 .309
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/28/2016.

The results are similar, with a slight nudge upward in non-save situations, but Jeurys gets significantly ‘luckier’ with BAbip when he’s in for the save.


Quickie – Jeurys Familia’s warmup song October 19, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Every time I’m at the park, I hear people asking what Jeurys Familia‘s warmup song is. Jeurys jogs out to Don Omar’s Danza Kuduro, which was covered by Lucenzo and Pitbull in English as “Throw Your Hands Up.”

This page from Happy Hour Spanish seems to be a solid translation of the lyrics.

Once he reaches the mound, Jeurys warms up to Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”

Though Jeurys allowed his first hit of the postseason last night, he’s got four saves in 6 1/3 innings pitched. (He saved games 1 and 5 of the NLDS as well as game 1 of the NLCS; Familia definitely saved last night’s game, coming into a 4-1 game and pitching a scoreless inning.)

It was nice to see Tyler Clippard from the pen, since he hadn’t pitched since October 13; Addison Reed hadn’t pitched since the 12th. Jonathon Niese made a crucial one-out appearance and has a 27.00 K9 this postseason. It’s awesome that Bartolo Colon is nailing it in his relief role, but fantastic that the deep bullpen is still playing its role.

Is Jeurys Familia’s performance a cause for concern? September 24, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Following a blown save by Addison Reed and a perfect inning by Tyler Clippard, Jeurys Familia entered last night’s 3-3 game in the 9th. Familia struck out Jace Peterson, allowed a single to Cameron Maybin, and then walked Michael Bourn. Freddie Freeman hit a home run; Familia followed up by striking out Nick Markakis and Met-killer Adonis Garcia, but the damage was done. Pinch hitter Juan Uribe singled, but Wilmer Flores banged into a double play and Curtis Granderson grounded out to second to end the game.

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Familia came to prominence during the first half of the season, in which he pitched in 41 games, notching 27 saves, a 3.31 KBB ratio, and a 1.25 ERA in front of a .217 BAbip. He allowed 26 hits including 3 doubles, a triple, and 3 home runs. Since the All Star break, Familia has pitched in 31 games with 14 saves, a 6.50 KBB, a 2.87 ERA, and a .342 BAbip. He’s allowed 30 hits, including 5 doubles and 3 home runs.

Those numbers say a lot about Familia’s consistency. First, his control ratio has increased considerably – by dropping from 13 walks (one intentional) to only 6 in the second half, and striking out 39 compared to 43 in the first half, Familia has shown remarkable command in the second half of the season. Further, that change in batting average on balls in play demonstrates that Familia has gotten a bit unlucky or that the defense behind him has flagged a bit with all of the offensive moves that were made. (Although Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto have been solid defensively, Daniel Murphy and Juan Uribe haven’t been fantastic solutions defensively at second base. Uribe is a fantastic third baseman playing out of position; Murphy might be more useful in the American League as a designated hitter.)

But what about those home runs? Those aren’t picked up in BAbip calculations because they’re not defense-dependent, and they might be tied to some factor that’s increasing his strikeouts.

During the first season, Familia pitched in 166 plate appearances, so those 3 home runs gave him a rate of about .018 home runs per plate appearance. Based on that, we’d expect in his 129 plate appearances since the All Star Game he’d have allowed about 2.33 home runs; 3 home runs is about .44 standard deviations away from his first-half numbers (and since fractional home runs aren’t a thing…..).

The biggest concern is that Familia has allowed more runners to reach base. All three homers in the first half were solos, two of them leading off (one with one out). Since then, Familia has allowed one solo and two 3-run home runs. The bigger issue is that these runners are reaching base – again, possibly due to that BAbip number cited above.

Familia is one of the best closers in the league. Put a solid defense behind him and he’ll continue to perform.

Angels Win via Plunk-Off April 12, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Let’s just get this out in the open. The Angels won last night when Jeurys Familia hit Hank Conger with a pitch, forcing DH Raul Ibanez in. It’s a shame, since it unfairly reflects on Jeurys – the bases were loaded because he allowed Ibanez to single and followed up with a wild pitch, sure, but Familia tossed a groundout that was unfortunately productive when David Freese moved Ibanez over to third. The two walks that followed were Terry Collins managing from the Joe Maddon book, intentionally loading the bases to keep a double play available with a force at any base. (I’m surprised he didn’t bust out a five-man infield to guard against grounders.) It was also Familia’s longest career relief outing and his longest outing in the majors since he started on October 1, 2012, and went four innings.

The Mets have benefited from the occasional plunk-off in the past; current Dodgers utilityman Justin Turner led the Mets in HBP in 2011 with ten savage beanings, including a walk-off plunk from Oakland’s Brad Zeigler on June 22.

There were some odd moves made in the dugout. Kyle Farnsworth, who Collins is treating as a reliable veteran, pitched only a third of an inning. Jose Valverde was of course left in the bullpen in order to keep him fresh him for a save situation, although the utility of that going into extra innings is debatable. Valverde and Farnsworth had each pitched a full inning the previous night in Atlanta. Long man Carlos Torres was used early in the game. That meant that the only arms left in the bullpen were Familia and John Lannan, who last pitched to a single batter on April 9th, before Collins would have to go to a position player or starter. It’s up in the air whether Collins made the right decision, but it’s questionable to me why Terry is using Lannan in a left-handed-specialist role; Lannan’s splits are worse against lefties than righties. Lannan is a career starter and should be treated as a long-relief man. To my mind, Familia hasn’t shown he’s ready for long outings, because he’s still a young pitcher, and Lannan would have been a better choice to start the eleventh inning.