Blue Bios: Chris Capuano


 

Mar 2, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano (35) poses for a picture during the Dodgers photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Christopher Frank Capuano    35

Born: August 19, 1978 in West Springfield, Massachusetts

Bats: Left   Throws: Left     6’3″   215 lbs.

Career statistics (through 2011)

Win-Loss

57-64

Earned run average

4.39

Strikeouts

807

 

Before making it to the Majors, Chris Capuano was an excellent student. He was valedictorian of his class at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He went on to earn an economics degree from Duke University and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Capuano was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 8th round of the 1999 Amateur Draft. He played for the D-Back’s triple-A club, the Tucson Sidewinders, in 2002. He had to end the season early in May to undergo his first of two Tommy John Surgeries. Up to that point he had a 4-1 record and a 2.72 ERA as a Sidewinder.

Just about a year later on May 4th, 2003, Chris made his MLB debut with Arizona against the Atlanta Braves. He pitched in two innings and picked up his first career loss. On May 17th, Capuano made his first start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He only made it through 4 2/3 innings, and he allowed 7 earned runs on the way to pick up another loss. He was shuffled between the minors and the D-Backs a few times that season. Overall Capuano appeared in 9 games for the D-Backs in 2003 , and he finished with a 2-4 record and 4.64 ERA.

On December 1, 2003 Chris Capuano was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Craig Counsell, Lyle Overbay, Junior Spivey, Jorge De La Rosa, and Chad Moeller in exchange for Shane Nance, Richie Sexson, and minor leaguer Noochie Varner. He would spend the majority of his career with the Brewers thereafter. In 2004, Capuano made 17 starts as a Brewer, and was 6-8 with a 4.99 ERA.

2005 was a good year for Capuano. He won 18 games (18-12), which was the most wins by a starting Brewer pitcher since Ted Higuera in 1987. He also led the NL that season in quality starts and led the Majors with 12 pickoffs that year. He finished with a 3.99 ERA, 176 strikeouts, and 91 walks in 219 innings pitched. He did allow 31 homeruns to opposing batters though.

In 2006 Ben Sheets was injured, and Capuano was now dubbed the new ace of the Brewer squad. He replaced Tom Glavine in the All-Star game as well even though Capuano only won 11  (11-12) games out of 34 games started that season. He had a 4.03 ERA in 221.1 innings.

After starting off strong in 2007 with 5 wins and no losses, the Brewers then would go on to lose the next 22 games in which Capuano pitched in from May to the end of September. Before the 2008 season, Capuano underwent Tommy John Surgery for the second time, and he subsequently missed the entire season.

Capuano was non-tendered by the Brewers after the 2008 season, but they re-signed him to a minor league deal. In 2009 Capuano was only able to pitch in a few Rookie-level games. The Brewers once again signed him to a minor league deal after he became a free agent at the end of the 2009 season.

The Brewers invited Chris to Spring Training in 2010, but his arm was still sore and acting up. He had to participate in an extended Spring Training. Capuano started the season in Single-A, but was quickly promoted to AAA. In May, the Brewers purchased his contract, and he was finally called back up to the big club. On June 3, 2010 Capuano once again lost in a start vs. the Florida Marlins. On July 3, 2010 he finally appeared in a win for the Brewers. They were playing in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Chris Capuano had appeared in 26 straight Brewer losses which spanned from 2007-2010.

Before the 2011 season, Chris Capuano signed with the New York Mets. On August 26, 2011 he pitched his first complete game shutout since 2005 versus the Braves. He had a career high of 13 strikeouts during that game. He started 31 games for the Mets last season, and he also came out of the bullpen for them twice. He finished with a record of 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA, 168 strikeouts, 1.349 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB  in 186 innings.

After a comeback type year with the Mets, Capuano’s hard work paid off. On December 2, 2011 Chris Capuano signed a two-year $10 million deal with the Dodgers.

Similar to Ted Lilly, Capuano is a crafty lefty. His fastball peaks at the upper 80s, but he has a good slider and changeup. Unfortunately he is also Lillyesque in his propensity to give up the long ball. Last season he allowed 27 homeruns with the Mets. Conversely, Capuano is a good defensive pitcher and is very athletic. He has only committed 8 career errors at his position, and he did not make any errors with New York last season.

This Spring, Capuano has pitched in three games and worked in 8.2 innings thus far. He is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA. Chris has allowed 6 Spring hits, 3 earned runs, no homeruns, 10 strikeouts, and one walk. I must say he has pitched surprisingly well so far.

If he stays healthy, Chris Capuano could be a strong fifth starter in the Dodgers’ rotation. As you well know, the fifth spot has been unlucky for Los Angeles in recent years especially after we lost Rubby De La Rosa last season. Let’s hope for Chris to pitch well at home at Dodger Stadium as well as on the road in ball parks that are not as pitcher friendly.

 

Major League Baseball pitcher Chris Capuano, formerly of West Springfield, and his bride, Sarah. The couple married in Maui, Hawaii

 

Chris met his wife Sarah Clifford at Duke. She competed for a spot in the 2004 Summer Olympics for modern pentathlon which includes pistol shooting, fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3K cross-country run. The couple currently reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

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