Plátano power Jeurys Familia wasn’t in the plan for the Mets’ closer position this season. That spot was saved for Jenrry Mejía. Then came a PED suspension for Mejía, and the typical apologies were rolled out. Then came another PED suspension. You know what Mejía? Go play winter ball. And good luck finding your previous spot. Your fellow countryman is doing his best for baseball fans, and helping them forget your name.
At an imposing 6′ 3″ and 240 pounds, Jeurys Familia looks more like a classic salsa singer or basketball player than a pelotero. Well, basketball was indeed his first love. He has admitted to coming to baseball later than most: at 15 years old, which is pretty late for Dominican-born players. After a season in which he made 43 saves with a 1.85 ERA, we can assure you baseball is the only sport on his mind, and maybe even the only thing. Outside the mound, he is one of the quietest guys around. No scandals, no tabloids. He has tweeted one time since 2014, and it was a picture of himself!
Then the postseason came, and what was a reliable closer turned into an absolute beast. Familia has pitched in seven games this October and has yet to allow a run. You read that right: 8.2 innings pitched, no runs scored at the tenser moments of the ball game. Just to show you how good he has been, we can talk about the six out save he had this postseason, the first in his young career. That came in the deciding game of a one run fifth game against the Dodgers, no big deal.
The Mets are on the brink of winning the World Series, and there’s no doubt he’s a big reason why. You know closers are a different breed. They feed on ridiculous amounts of pressure, while going frequently unnoticed when their job is done and criticized fiercely after failing. It comes as no surprise they are introverted, just like soccer goalies. And what do they do when the job is done? In Familia’s case, they jump like little kids.
He’s only two sets of jumps from winning the World Series. Start memorizing his name.