State of the Capps
Moved several yards forward, Sept. 8


Q.  Moved forward, hunh.  Like what.

A.  Right off the bat, his body language had gone Pimsleur Method.  He came out and grabbed the ball, went into his wind with no clowning around, he had a gorgeous little hitch at the top like, the grin that Brendan Fraser had on the last pitch of The Scout.   Sure enough, come to find out that his pace was 20% faster.

If you missed the game, Capps threw 2.1 innings with 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts and Green Lantern His Ownself couldn't have gotten the yellow-tinted A's out this week.  You'll wait a loooong time to find a club swinging the bats better than those guys are right now.  Felix threw the same pitches he always does and they racked him up.  They are incredible.

For everybody except Carter Capps.


Q.  Fastball?

A.  He took juuuuust a leeeetle tad off, swinging the club smoothly rather than out of his shoes, and averaged 98 rather than 99.  It helped.

Ron Shandler is going to look at Carter Capps' statline ... 11.5 strikeouts, 5.5 walks, and 0.0 homers ... and go "Wow.  When he gets control of the ball, look out."  You see kids like this:  10+ K, too many walks, and the default roto text is "grab him and hang on."

Except that Carter Capps isn't wild:  he's getting ripped off, one game after another after another.  Never, and by never I mean on no occasion, have I seen umpires show such game-in, game-out contempt for a hard-throwing rookie.

Randy Johnson used to drive umps batty, but sometimes they'd drive him out of the game and sometimes they wouldn't.  Maybe one game in four, they'd express their rage with the strike zone.  Carter Capps?  I don't believe I've seen a game where the umps did NOT text message him "throw it down the pipe, rook.  We've got a postgame spread to get to.  Here it is, hit it, you know the drill."


The Stephen Drew at-bat was sheer professionalism in its most pure form.  Even Blowers was marvelling.  "He throws one ball outside the zone in six pitches, and the ump gives Drew a walk."

Adjust for the umpiring and Capps' control, and command, already exceeds Pryor's.  And Capps was the one with the great minors BB rates, correct?


Q.  Slider?

A.  It's supposed to be rudimentary, but ... Capps threw one to Chris Carter where I fell out of my chair.  I'm here to tell you that Jeff Nelson would have been PROUD to throw that baby.  Seriously.  It popped a parachute and sweeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrved outside the strike zone like by two feet ...

If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'.  A normal slider breaks 2" gloveside and 2" down.  Capps' average slider broke 8" by 5" (!!) and it had a Nintendo rip cord (thankx G) to it.  The one to Chris Carter broke gloveside by 13 (!!) inches.  Of course Carter did the rusty-gate swing, the one where the back leg swings around following the 40 MPH bat.  Chris Carter looked up at the sky like, I hope nobody saw that.  


You can even get a sense of the flight of the ball from the 2-D pic, can't you?  Or if not:



Q.  Does he need the slider?

A.  I think the announcers overstate the importance of Capps' slider:  Aroldis Chapman has thrown 87.3% fastballs this year.  And Capps' fastball is clocking higher than Chapman's.  (Granted, you add +2 MPH for Chapman being lefty.)

But yeah.  If and when Capps can fling that Jeff Nelson Nintendo slider (a) for called strikes "back door", and (b) to break off the zone, and once umps stop jobbing him, and once he tunes his command just a bit... M's fans could be in for something really, REALLY special here.  Imagine Jeff Nelson throwing 100 MPH.  No joke:  if he stays healthy, that's precisely where Capps is headed with this.

But at least he can only throw 3-4 innings per outing.  Jeff Nelson times Scot Shields times Armando Benitez.

Tip o' th' kelly Lonnie of MC ... :- )



Lonnie of MC's picture

All it took was seeing him throw a few pitches and hearing the wind getting shredded to know that Capps was special. It was as easy as that. Of course, it didn't hurt having read about Capps and what he was able to accomplish in the Cape Cod League to have an idea of what to expect in advance...
Capps was a monster, is a monster, and will be a monster for the next several years.

Brent's picture

He is indeed getting jobbed. And that Nelson slider will be even better when the umps get around to calling his pitches properly. Right now, if he started it at a righty's elbow and it broke over the middle of the plate, the batter vacating the premises to avoid (he thinks) getting drilled will influence the ump to call it a ball. When they start calling that a strike, it's John Kruk time.

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