Carter Capps on a Gray January Day

... when do pitchers report, again?!

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=== 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.

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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. 

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=== 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.

NEXT

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SABR MattMoneyball thought - did the Mariners intentionally leave 1B open because it's pretty easy (theoretically) to work a prospect or platoon bat in there when he's hitting enough to merit the call? The media is talking about how big of a gamble it is for Seattle to count on Logan Morrison. I see five guys queued up in line behind him with a legit chance to be productive: Montero, Weeks, Kivlehan, Peterson, Romero.2 min 33 sec ago
benihanaI'm with you Matt. I kind of want the M's to trade Taylor, Lomo, and Ramirez for Fielder and some $$. What a murderer's row would Cano, Cruz, Fielder, and Seager make?16 hours 59 min ago
DaddyORight re: underground drip irrigation. That's what I was referring to. If you are spending $125 million on ballplayers every year you would think it would be worth it to protect that investment even if it costs a million dollars a year. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong here.17 hours 13 min ago
SABR MattFWIW, I bet 37 roto dollars on Prince Fielder this year. I think he will have a good year18 hours 3 min ago
mojicianHamilton would have been the biggest bust in the history of Seattle. They would have run the entire Z regime out on a rail for 2014 Hamilton performance alone. It says here if you are going to have a star, he should have great makeup. I think Fielder will bounce back. His game wasn't dependent on being a yoga instructor. What he has are large muscles and a disciplined plate approach, see Papi, Big. Fat guys rake.18 hours 57 min ago
SpectatorAnd how about Z whiffing on Hamilton and Prince Fielder before connecting on Cano, the only one who looks to hold his superstar value? Balance of power in the West could turn on those three contracts.19 hours 45 min ago
SABR MattYep...Taylor would probably go to AAA so that Lloyd could have his cheerleader on the bench not begging for PT and Taylor could work on his plate discipline.19 hours 51 min ago
SpectatorLloyd says if Bloomie healthy, then Miller and Taylor won't both make roster. At least that's their plan at the moment.20 hours 17 min ago
SABR MattEven with that, i wonder if the system creates irregularities on the surface in ground texture20 hours 41 min ago
benihanaFor turf lawns we are talking 6 to 12 inches below grade. Not something that's gonna pop-up even in warn spots.20 hours 58 min ago
benihanaSubsurface Drip Irrigation for lawns should be buried well beneath the sod. Hoses under the ground, not hoses on the ground. Problem is you need to dig up all the grass, lay the irrigation and then re-sod, it's an expensive investment. But should be recouped with the decreased water usage alone, never mind the injury aspect.21 hours 1 min ago
SABR MattDrip-irrigation may actually be MORE risky for players...replace the rare, small sprinkler head with a labyrinth of hoses lying on the ground.21 hours 43 min ago
DaddyONo doubt, OBF. I have NEVER understood, given the salaries paid out to players these days, why teams don't do more (than they no doubt already do) to eliminate potential causes of unnecessary injury. You can't eliminate injuries that come as a direct result of player collisions, etc, but there is more that can/should be done with facilities. Why have sprinkler heads? I'm no landscaper or hortoculturalist, but isn't drip irrigation more efficient than sprinklers? Doesn't one player-year of injury for a star player due to sprinklers pay for the entire cost of installing drip irrigation on a ball field? Maybe I'm being unrealistic, it's just something that I've always questioned when I hear about such injuries. Another example would be walls and fences, which have shown some improvement over the years with padding but still seem to have unpadded areas that could be rather easily addressed.21 hours 53 min ago
OBFDaddyO... those fields and every field that every player plays on has those same sprinklers and same soft spots... Blame it on extremely bad luck, blame it on injury proneness and ungracefulness like Matt said, but you really can't put this one on the club... thousands of players spend thousands of hours on those fields every spring... Saunders is just the lucky first to trip on a sprinkler head I guess? Yup, Matt, sure glad we flipped Saunders for something useful.22 hours 30 min ago
DaddyORe: Ackley's new baby, as a person I'm happy for him. As a fan, it occurs to me that sometimes the birth of a first child gives a player a new, even stronger reason to succeed.23 hours 1 min ago
DaddyOOh man, that's tough luck for Saunders. That's not fragility, it's just...what...incompetence by the club allowing highly paid athletes to train on fields where it's that easy to seriously hurt yourself? Frankly, I don't understand it. Isn't drip irrigation feasible?23 hours 3 min ago
SABR MattYeah...it's a freak injury, but there are players who get freak injuries more often because they are not graceful, or because their connective tissue doesn't handle stress well. Saunders seems to be both not graceful AND prone to injuries that are worse than the triggering event suggests they should be. I, for one, am glad we got value for him in trade.23 hours 41 min ago
OBFSoft Spot in the ground has got to be worse than rounding the bases (Snelling) in terms of, "Good grief what did you do to get such bad karma" ranking... Not quite as bad as, what was it, carrying a suitcase up some stairs for Sasaki, though ;)23 hours 54 min ago
OBFI feel for Saunders, totally sucks for him, similarly I feel for Derick rose as well (same injury actually, torn meniscus), but JackyZ has to be thinking, :"Heh, heh, heh... see, internet, I TOLD YOU SO!" Lots of sites raked Jack and Mac over the coals for not trusting Saunders and for trading him away (in what they saw as) an unfavorable trade... are they going to issue retractions or admit The M's were right on this one now?23 hours 59 min ago
MtGrizzly@ShiDavidi: Michael Saunders stepped on soft spot around underground sprinkler on outfield grass while shagging flies yesterday. Left knee buckled.1 day 20 min ago