Capuano’s Value With the Dodgers

On Friday, Chris Capuano signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers. After missing all of 2008 and 2009 with Tommy John surgery, he pitched decently in 2010 and 2011. If he can stay off the DL, he will be a nice buy-low option in deep leagues for 2012.

Chris started out his career with the Diamondbacks and the Brewers. He was able to put up decent K/9 numbers that ranged from 6.3 to 8.2. His walk rate was around 3.5 BB/9 and even dipped to 1.9 in 2006.

At the start of the 2008 season, he went on the DL with an elbow injury. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery. He finally returned to the Brewers at the end of May in 2010. Since returning, he has put up similar stats compared to what he did before having the surgery (around a 8.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9).

After coming back from the surgery, he was also able to maintain his “fastball” speed compared to before the surgery:

Average fastball speed
2003: 88 MPH
2004: 88 MPH
2005: 86 MPH
2006: 87 MPH
2007: 87 MPH
2010: 87 MPH
2011: 88 MPH

His K and BB numbers should make him desirable on draft/auction day, but his value is limited because he is prone to the long ball. From 2003 to 2011, his 1.3 HR/9 was 11th worst in the league (min 800 IP). The left-handed pitcher has struggled mightily with right-handed hitters, who have a 1.4 HR/9 rate against him (LHH only have a 0.8 HR/9 rate).

His home runs allowed won’t increase because he will be playing half his games in spacious Dodgers Stadium. Here are the home park factors for the Brewers, Mets and Dodgers.

Team, LHH and RHH Home Run Park Factors
Brewers, 118, 103
Mets, 90, 94
Dodgers, 116, 92

He may see his HR numbers go down a bit because of the dimensions of Dodger Stadium. The PF (park factor) for RHH, which he struggles against, will help him the most compared to any other time in his career. Keeping LHH in the park may be difficult, but it won’t be as hard has it was in Milwaukee.

His 2012 ERA (4.55) was higher than his FIP (4.04), xFIP (3.67) and SIERA (3.60). The higher ERA can easily be attributed to a career high in BABIP (0.311) in 2011. For 2012, I would expect his ERA to decrease and be around 4.

For a 2012 projection, I think he will have double digit Wins, a 4.00 ERA, a WHIP around 1.35 and 170 strikeouts. These numbers aren’t going to put him at the top, or even in the middle, of many draft boards. He does look to be a serviceable starter in deep leagues and could be used in a streaming situation depending on the matchup.

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

3 Responses to “Capuano’s Value With the Dodgers”

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  1. andye says:

    dont these peopled have spellcheck?

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  2. tecjug says:

    Seriously, man. Most of the writers on this site are decent, but this article is like something a 5th-grader would write. It’s just a bunch of simple sentences, and it’s really difficult to find any sort of analysis that reads as anything more complicated than an observation of a statistic I already saw on Capuano’s player page.

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  3. Frankie says:

    4-0 now. 9+ K/9 and looking like a serious draft day gem.

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