=== The Term "GREAT STUFF" Gets Tossed Around a Lot These Days .... ===
If you've got nothing Mariners that's better to do right now, head to MLB.com and enjoy this particular Capps vid. G'wan, nothing wrong with a little sunshine and baseball. Pitchers report in like four days, right?
Capps' first heater is so hard to see that a lefty batter, Josh Reddick, swings over the top of it. Ya don't swing over fastballs when ya miss 'em; ya swing underneath 'em, 'cause of the angle of the swing arc and the 'rise' of the pitch. Watch it again and you'll see that Reddick pulls one of those Nolan Ryan "C'mon, ump, anybody could hear that pitch was low" moments.
Capps' second heater lights up the red 100 font on the radar gun and you can just feel the seismo register as it SLAMMMMS into Olivo's mitt. Cespedes' demoralization is palpable. One time David Henderson took a first pitch like this and said, "Wow. Too tough to even BUNT that pitch. How are you supposed to hit it?"
The rest of the fastballs are pretty easy on the eyes, too. :- ) This moment brought to you by Stars & Scrubs.
Jeff Sullivan presents a wonderful little Brothers Grimm tale that ends with the troll of Capps' slider waiting under the bridge to feast on Billy Goat Trout. "Look at where the breaking ball is CAUGHT, and consider that MLB GameDay has it touching the border of the strike zone at the FRONT OF THE PLATE," Jeffy sez, emphasis added. "That's how much that pitch moved."
He points out this little leaderboard that reminds us of just exactly where Capps' fastball resides in baseball's pantheon.
Here is an SSI article from last year that reminds us of the effect of Capps' 89 mph changeup. That change is Capp's third pitch, but it is MUCH farther along than people realize it is (except, of course, for you the discerning SSI consumer). The arm action on it is Major League from the word Go.
=== Career Arc ===
When Capps first came up to Safeco, he was as terrified as any rookie pitcher that Dr. D has ever seen ... up to and including that kid who thanked Albert Brooks' confidence by yak'king on the mound in his tryout.
Capps' arm slot, first coupla games, was all over the place, and in Capps' very first game MRS. Detecto pointed out that he threw 99 sidearm, 94 overhand.
It took Capps right about 10 games to shake the jitters out, and his arm slot quickly grooved in. His tempo measurably smoothed out. His velocity started sustaining at 98-100. And pesky rodent enemy managers starting hiding the women, children, and Mike Trouts. Here's the SSI article that sidecars the video you started with.
Dr. D was attracted to Capps' starter's rhythm, and the Randy Johnson arm slot. He banged the drum for a Chris Sale conversion, and Terry McDermott spoke to a couple of people in the M's org about it, one of them being a shot-caller. The impression: Capps would need more control of his breaking ball before such a thing could be considered.
Well, sure, you want to see him throw a slider for a strike on 2-0 once in a while. The thing is, Capps was doing that, in September; it's not like his slider is rudimentary. Why they can put up with breaking balls the caliber of Beavan's and Noesi's, but Carter Capps has got to hit a Michael Pineda standard, you tell me.