Jeurys Familia is getting a reputation as a pitcher with a big upside. He showed why on Friday night.
The Mets' No. 7 prospect struck out seven and gave up one hit over six scoreless innings as Double-A Binghamton rolled to a 10-1 rout of the Portland Sea Dogs.
Familia walked two, hit a batter, faced four over the minimum and threw 81 pitches in his 14th Eastern League start. He retired the first seven batters in order before walking Jonathan Hee with one out in the third.
Jeremy Hazelbaker got the Sea Dogs' lone hit off the 21-year-old right-hander when he singled two batters later. But Familia retired Alex Hassan on a fly ball to left field to end the threat.
"He was very impressive tonight, good fastball and fastball command and a very good breaking ball," B-Mets manager Wally Backman said. "He didn't use his changeup tonight, but he didn't need it. He would have gotten big league hitters out tonight with his stuff. He was pretty impressive."
Signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in July 2007, Familia has steadily climbed the organizational ladder and earned a promotion to Double-A in May. The native of the Dominican Republic has a 3.47 ERA and 84 strikeouts over 72 2/3 innings since moving up from the Florida State League.
"It means a lot for the team that you have quality individuals," said Backman, a member of the Mets' 1986 championship team. "It takes a lot of the pressure off the team, makes it easier to score runs. You want to play behind guys like that."
The former Major Leaguer raved about Familia's stuff, especially his curveball, contrasting it with the one thrown by his Cy Young Award-winning former teammate, Dwight Gooden.
"It's a little bit different type of breaking ball, but the bite on it, it's a swing-and-miss pitch for him," Backman said. "He makes hitters look bad on it."
Despite the accolades, Backman feels Familia needs to refine his changeup, calling it a "work in progress."
"Once he masters it and throws it consistently for strikes, he's going to be very good," he said.
With Familia and former first-round pick Matt Harvey, Backman believes the future of the Mets' rotation is pitching for him right now.
"They are competitors, they are good learners and they have power arms," he said. "It's nice to have them in the rotation. If these guys stay healthy, they are going to be in the [big league] starting rotation -- if that's the way the organization chooses to keep them."
Jack Egbert followed Familia and allowed a run on four hits over the final three innings to earn his fourth save.
Brahiam Maldonado slugged a grand slam, his 24th homer of the season and sixth this month, and Eric Campbell went 3-for-5 with two runs scored for Binghamton. Niuman Romero tripled and collected two RBIs and Allan Dykstra contributed his career-high 17th homer.