Fantasy Baseball 2018: Draft AJ Ramos over Jeurys Familia

The Mets will be one of a few teams with a committee at the closer position. If you want to draft one of them, go with AJ Ramos over Jeurys Familia.

The New York Mets, despite all of their other issues, seemed to be fine at the closer role. Jeurys Familia was coming off of a 51-save season. Yet, he was suspended for 15 games to start the season and missed three months with a shoulder injury. The Mets then traded for closer AJ Ramos at the trade deadline. Entering this season, Ramos should be the more drafted closer of the two.

Looking at their 2017 numbers, their strikeout and walk rates look eerily similar. Pitching in the same division may affect their performance. Familia had a 9.1 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 in 24.2 innings. Ramos had a combined 11.0 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in 58.2 innings between the Marlins and the Mets.

Ramos had a 3.99 ERA, 1.415 WHIP and 27 saves while Familia finished with a 4.38 ERA, 1.459 WHIP and six saves. Obviously, the playing time had an effect on the saves but the ratios are based on his numbers over his innings pitched.

The Marlins had a few closers on their roster throughout Ramos’ time with the team, which is why his career high is just 40 saves in 64.0 innings. Familia, on the other hand, threw 77.1, 78.0 and 77.2 innings in his previous three seasons, posting a combined 99 saves in that span.

Ramos allows a few more fly balls than Familia. He had a 40.1 ground ball rate and 39.5 fly ball rate. He had a 12.1 HR/FB rate, seven home runs over the season. Opposing batters also had harder contact off of Ramos compared to Familia, 81.3 percent medium and hard hit rates.

I can’t use Familia’s 2017 season for comparison as it is such a small sample size. I’m going back to his 2016 All-Star season. He had a 63.3 ground ball rate, 2.6 HR/FB rate and 68.3 percent combined medium and hard hit rates.

Familia has more control, evident by his lower walk rate but the strikeout numbers just aren’t there. He has a career 13.5 swinging strike rate, 54.9 first pitch strike rate and 47.5 swing rate. Ramos has a higher first-pitch strike rate but lower numbers in the other two categories. He still averages over 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Ramos is three years older but has pitched in more full seasons that Familia. He is a proven commodity and a reliable arm out of the bullpen. Familia missed a lot of time with a right shoulder issue last year. While it may be taken care of, there’s still some cause for concern.

Even with some numbers favoring Familia, there is one big reason I’d rather go with Ramos over Familia. The cost. Familia will cost an 18th round pick in standard leagues as an RP3. Ramos should be available in the early 20s or might even go undrafted.

Familia will likely get the first opportunity for a save but Ramos is good enough to take over the job if a switch is to be made. I think both can get at least 20 saves this season. If not, Ramos can still provide good ratio stats, strikeouts and even holds.