Bisons giving glimpse of Mets' future

Familia notches sixth win, Mejia tosses two hitless innings

By Robert Emrich / Special to | July 6, 2012 7:43 PM ET

If you want to see what the Mets' pitching staff might look like next year, catch a Buffalo Bisons game this summer.

Jeurys Familia gave up one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings and Jenrry Mejia followed with two hitless innings Friday night as Triple-A Buffalo bested Syracuse, 5-1.

Familia, the Mets' No. 3 prospect, struck out five and walked one in his longest start of the season. The 22-year-old right-hander took a shutout into the seventh before allowing a leadoff double to Chris Marrero and an RBI single to Mark Teahan. Teahan was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, and Familia exited after throwing 96 pitches.

"He really pounded the strike zone," Bisons manager Wally Backman said. "He had command of all his pitches, fastball breaking [ball], changeup. He pitched consistently, like I saw him in Double-A last year. This might be the best start he's had this year. He pitched ahead in the count the whole time."

It was the first win since pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings against Columbus on June 6 for Familia (6-5). He lowered his ERA to 4.98 ERA in 18 starts.

Mejia, working his way back to the Majors after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2011, issued a leadoff walk to Jarrett Hoffpauir in the ninth but nothing else. The native of the Dominican Republic last month was moved to the bullpen, a role with which he's familiar after making 30 relief appearances for the Mets in 2010.

"I think it's big," Backman said. "Pitching out of the bullpen is relatively new for Mejia. I know he did in his short stint in the bigs, but I think there is a transition period. From the last time to this time, he's gotten a lot better."

"He's figured it out, how to prepare himself. I think it's just preparing, getting used to it. Baseball is a thing of repetition and he's got to get into the flow of that. He's gotten better. For Mejia, it's the same thing [as Familia]. It's being able to locate to both sides of the plate, and he showed that tonight."

Backman believes the right-handers, born a day apart in 1989, have futures at the next level.

"I believe that both are going to be quality pitchers in the Major Leagues," the 14-year big league veteran said. "Here in the short future, I think all these guys -- [Matt] Harvey, Familia and Mejia -- are on the verge of becoming something. It's our job to get them prepared before the big club.

"I think it's all about consistency in the strike zone. [They need to] be able to locate to both sides of the plate and being able to do it consistently [to reach the Majors]."

Chris Schwinden, recently reclaimed off waivers by the Mets, retired the final two batters for the Bisons.

Josh Rodriguez slugged a three-run homer, his fourth in 14 games since being promoted from Double-A Binghamton. Osvaldo Navarro provided the rest of Buffalo's offense with a two-run double.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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