No complaints here.
Capuano is not tied to a draft pick, and seems to be in line for a salary that won’t bust the bank. He might even settle for a one-year deal.
Left-handed Capuano’s biggest problem has been staying healthy. He missed all of 2008 and 2009, and battled injuries again in 2013.
But when he’s on the mound … he’s very close to unmitigated average-ness. We love it!
He throws an upper-80s sinking fastball, and mixes in a change and slider. Both the sinker and change are considered to have above-average movement.
Let’s run Cap through our Brainstorm ratings:
PSA+ is our measure of “inducing non-random outs” and Conv+ is our measure of “denying non-random offense. “Composite” is the combination of the two. The 100 rating is linked to the 10-year MLB average.
What you can see is that Capuano is (since 2006) consistently above-average at getting outs, but (mostly) slightly below average at avoiding getting hit hard. [His composites run somewhat over 100, but I’ve found that PSA+ tends to run higher than Conv+, and that can skew the results when a guy is right around 100, but …]
The bottom line is: he throws strikes, doesn’t hurt himself with walks, and is likely to have a slightly above-average strikeout rate.
But the downside of that “pound-the-zone” approach — if you don’t have “lights-out” stuff — is you’re going to get hit by good hitters. Thus, Cap’s HR-allowed and XBH-allowed rates run consistently below-average (I mean, above-average numerically, which is bad for the pitcher).
Also with the low BB-rate and non-sky-high K-rate, he’s going to have a lot of balls put in play. So let’s see how Capuano’s BABIP relates to his results on the field:
What do you know! A perfect correlation! BABIP under .300, ERA+ 100 or better. BABIP over .300, ERA+ under 100 (though it’s close sometimes, and doesn’t account for all the variation).
It’s fair to say that teams don’t like random-ness (“nasty stuff” can eliminate a lot of which), and are probably somewhat biased against pitchers who give up a lot of home runs (which lose ball games in the real world), so that probably accounts for some of Capuano’s availability and relative inexpensiveness.
But, if healthy, Capuano’s pitches have enough movement that he can pound the zone and not get obliterated. And, as such, he looks like a good bet to give you what you’re paying for (assuming you “price in” the variation resulting from balls in play).
A better bet than the overpriced Ervin Santana anyway.