When you look at the splits of Mets closer Jeurys Familia, it becomes obvious that who is catching him plays a huge role in his performance. There’s no denying it, whenever Kevin Plawecki catches Familia, his performance drops.
Familia finished the 2016 regular season with a 2.55 ERA. By no means is that bad, but it could have been much better. Before we get to Plawecki, let’s first discuss how Familia fared with each of the other catchers.
You read that right. Familia posted a stellar 1.42 ERA with d’Arnaud catching him.
In 31.2 innings pitched, Familia struck out 38 batters. Opposing hitters were hitting just .211 against him with an OPS of .594. This is similar to what Familia posted with d’Arnaud in 2015, a 1.64 with a .534 OPS over 32 games.
Another catcher that results in a fine ERA for Familia.
While his ERA is just a bit higher with Rivera, other numbers are much better than with d’Arnaud. Take for instance his .200 opposing batting average and .484 OPS. With Rivera catching, Familia only allowed 7 walks in 26.1 innings and held a WHIP just shy of 1.
This is where things get a bit messed up. Familia posted a combined 1.55 ERA with d’Arnaud and Rivera. If that’s the case, how bad did he have to perform with Plawecki to pitch to a 2.55 overall ERA?
Kevin Plawecki: 20 Games. 5.49 ERA
In 20 games with Plawecki catching, Familia’s ERA skyrocketed to a horrible 5.49. More than 25% of his games were played with Plawecki catching and were enough to raise his ERA by exactly one full point from 1.55 to 2.55.
Why was his ERA with Plawecki so high? Opposing hitters were hitting .260 off him with an OPS of .654. To put that in comparison, the catcher that resulted in Zach Britton’s highest ERA sported him an OPS of only .350. Mark Melancon had an opposing OPS of under .460 with five different catchers. To put it simply, that’s a horrible opposing OPS.
Familia has given up more than twice as many earned runs with Plawecki than with Rivera in roughly 25 percent fewer innings. This could just be a coincidence, but 2015 showed a similar pattern.
In 2015 with d’Arnaud, Anthony Recker, and Johnny Monell combined, Familia posted an amazing 1.16 ERA over 46 games. With Plawecki he posted a 2.87 ERA over 30 games. The gap in OPS between d’Arnaud and Plawecki was a stunning .128.
A .128 gap in OPS is huge. That’s about the difference between Miguel Cabrera and Justin Turner when you look at their 2016 OPS. It could all just be a coincidence, but there’s definitely a pattern, and if Familia sticks with anyone but Plawecki, he could perform much better.