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9/3/1983 (33 y, 5 m, 20 d)
2002 June Amateur Draft - Round: 7, Pick: 1, Overall: 193, Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
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Capps agreed to a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks on Monday, Baseball America reports. (2/29/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Pittsburgh’s ex-closer must have developed a serious case of whiplash, as Capps coughed up 1.66 home runs per nine innings. The 26-year-old posted the highest strikeout rate of his career, but his normally pristine control abandoned him early in the season. Capps had a lousy 1.54 K/BB ratio in the first half, but pounded the zone with a 6.5 K/BB after the All-Star break. His average fastball velocity crept up to a career-high 94 mph, but the pitch was crushed for a -0.6 run value per 100 pitches. That’s quite the fall, considering his heater has been 1.2 runs above average per 100 pitches during his career. Capps threw that fastball 10% less often compared to 2008, but the extra sliders he mixed in were battered as well, with a -0.8 run value per 100 pitches.
The Year Ahead:
Capps had a rough year, but he wasn’t as bad as his 5.80 ERA would suggest. The Bucs’ former stopper suffered from a .370 BABIP, compared to his .299 career average. Capps puts the ball in the air often, but he was unlucky on fly balls as well. He gave up a home run on 13.5% of his fly balls, above the 11-12% MLB average and his 8.8% career average. In 2010, fewer bloopers should fall in against Capps, and it’s likely that he won’t give up quite so many round-trippers, either. Capps’ ugly ERA could give fantasy owners a chance to buy low on him. Now with Washington, he’s far from an elite option but Capps also isn’t the punching bad that his surface stats would suggest. (David Golebiewski)
Capps was having a great year as the closer for Washington and, once traded to Minnesota, he continued this dominance. He was fifth in the Majors with 42 saves and a great ERA of 2.47. With this dominating 2010, he still has two huge question marks existing for the 2011 season. The first is “Which Matt Capps will show up?” The Capps that had the great 2010? or the one that posted a 5.80 ERA (4.90 FIPs and 4.37 xFIPs) in 2009 with the Pirates? The 2009 numbers may be attributed to elbow problems. Also, he missed 45 days at the end of the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. The injuries may now be in his past or they could come back. The second main issue surrounding him is what his role will be when Joe Nathan returns. The veteran closer should expect to begin pitching sometime during spring training. It has been stated that Nathan will be given back the closer's role when he returns. Without being able to get saves, Capps' value drops quite a bit. Fantasy owners should track Joe Nathan's status closely and draft Capps accordingly. If Nathan looks like he will be available for the start of the season, Capps' value will be little and should be available in the late rounds of a draft. If Nathan is not ready for the season, Capps' value will be much higher, as he is able to take the saves until Nathan returns. The best strategy is to draft both so you will get the saves no matter what. Nathan can be stashed in a DL slot until he is ready, at which point owners can then decide what to do with Capps. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Capps was a great closer in 2010, but a couple issues surround him for 2011 -- most notably the impending return of Joe Nathan.
Matt Capps re-signing, along with Joe Nathan's departure, makes him the default closer in Minnesota. Almost all of his fantasy value will come from getting the few Twin Saves. He is not a high-strikeout closer. Over his career he has a 6.6 strikeout rate. The problem is that in 2011 that strikeout rate dropped to 4.7 per nine. Part of the cause of the drop in strikeouts was an over one tick drop in his fastball speed compared to previous seasons. He must have known about the drop and began to use his offspeed pitches more. His offspeed pitches are his worst by pitches' run values. Do not draft Matt high compared to the other closers -- he is just not very good and could lose his job quickly. If you want to see if he is near his pre-2011 form, follow his strikeout rate, which stabilizes quickly, early on in the season. He may be fine if it is above the six per nine level. If it is under five per nine, make sure to find and pick up his replacement. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Matt Capps may start out the season as the worst closer in the league. Expect his job to in jeopardy has soon as he comes in for his first save opportunity.
The Twins foolishly re-signed Capps in lieu of potential free agency compensation, and were rewarded thusly with 29.1 innings of zero-sum relief pitching and a ton of downtime. Capps went down with an injury in mid-July and only resurfaced to make a single ninth-inning appearance in the final home series of the season. Whatever strikeouts Capps ever garnered stayed in the National League when he migrated over in 2010, perhaps due in large part to his three-year tumble in fastball velocity. After last season, Capps may have to settle for a low salary deal with incentives, the exact kind of deal the Twins should be willing to offer right now with the only guarantee being the fight of his life to make the bullpen. But alas, that ship has sailed, with Capps netting some $13-14 million in salary while providing the Twins with pretty much nothing but heartache over a Wilson Ramos lost. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Once a cheap, fungible closer, Matt Capps now looks like a cheap, fungible fringe bullpen arm at best. He's firmly behind two or three incumbents in that Twins bullpen, at least.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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