Lefty hurler Chris Capuano agreed to a 2-year, $10 million contract to pitch for the Dodgers (as an aside, does his signing mean that Hiroki Kuroda’s career as a Dodger is over?). Coming off a solid season, is the oft injured pitcher someone you should count on like the Dodgers are?
The first thing that has to be mentioned with Capuano is that injuries have played a huge part in defining his career. A 2-time Tommy John Surgery recipient (2002 and 2008), here is a look at his big league innings pitched totals for his career:
33, 88.1, 219, 221.1, 150, zero, zero, 66, 186
To say that there is risk in giving him a 2-year deal is an understatement. The lack of innings pitched consistency is also a major reason while it’s tough to project him to make another 30-starts in 2012. I can’t overstate this fact, so let me hit on it again. Health is a major issue with Capuano. If you roster him make sure that you’ve built in a lot of other mound options because there is a good chance that he will miss at least some time.
Capuano has four seasons in his career of at least 150-innings pitched, and in those four seasons the following points are accurate. Capuano is a solid strikeout arm who hasn’t fallen below a 7.08 K/9 mark. He’s also coming off his best K/9 mark of 8.13. Capuano grades out fairly well in the walk category with a BB/9 of under 3.25 in each of his last three healthy seasons. The result is that his K/BB in two of the last four years has been in the 3′s. The other two years though that mark has been 1.93 and 2.44. While those marks are solid, let’s look at his career rates in a myriad of categories.
Capuano owns a 4.39 ERA. The league average during his career is 4.24.
Capuano allows 12.63 batters per nine innings. The league average is 12.71.
Capuano allows 9.26 hits per nine. The league average is 9.04.
Capuano owns a 1.02 GB/FB ratio. The league average is about 1.10.
Capuano owns a career BABIP of .300. We all know that .290-300 is the big league average.
Capuano has a HR/9 ratio of 1.28. The big league average is about 1.00.
Capuano owns a 72.8 percent left on base rate. The big league average is about 70.
Taking a look at all the data, here are my conclusions.
(1) While I don’t love the idea of giving Capuano a 2-year deal, it’s not excessive. Neither is the dollar figure attached so I really can’t fault the Dodgers for this signing.
(2) Capuano is a solid depth addition to a staff if he can stay healthy. Can he stay healthy is the real question though, and given his track record there should be a healthy does of trepidation here.
(3) If you look at Capuano’s career numbers you pretty much get, in nearly every category, a league average hurler. Again, that makes him a decent add for the Dodgers, but should it excite you in the fantasy game?
(4) What would I do with Capuano in 2012? I’d pass if the bidding got too high, and I wouldn’t draft him in a mixed league to be anything other than a 5th starter type.
Even with last years success, Capuano didn’t really do anything outstanding, his performance dipped a bit in the second half (5.08 ERA), and he wasn’t at all effective on the road (5.42 ERA, 1.51 WHIP). Pitching in Dodger Stadium certainly isn’t going to hurt his outlook, nor will getting chances to pitch in Petco Park and AT&T Park against less than stellar offenses, so it’s not like we’re looking at a pitcher who is likely to collapse. Capuano is a nice rotation filler, but you’re making a mistake if you think he is anything more than that.
By Ray Flowers