What to expect from Chris Capuano


Yesterday, we glimpsed at what impact Dellin Betances could make to the ball club in 2015. Today, we shift focus to Chris Capuano, a pitcher who didn’t start the 2014 season with the Yankees but made an impact to the rotation when it was bombarded with injuries. So, with his 2014 season behind him, what can we expect from Chris Capuano?

Chris Capuano’s 2014 season didn’t start off the way he hoped: he was a failed reliever in the Boston Red Sox bullpen (4.55 ERA, 1.547 WHIP in 28 games), which ultimately led to Capuano being cut from the team. In a surprising turn of events, Capuano found a team that was interested in him–the Yankees. But the Yankees weren’t interested in having Capuano as a reliever, they wanted him to be in the starting rotation.

The Yankees suffered multiple blows earlier in the year, losing CC Sabathia to knee surgery, losing Ivan Nova to Tommy John surgery and losing Masahiro Tanaka to a small tear in his elbow. The Yankees tried their best to fill the holes, acquiring Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks, while relying on Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda and Shane Greene to keep the rotation afloat. The Yankees signed Capuano due to him being a veteran presence, and while he wasn’t lights out, Capuano did a decent job by keeping the Yankees in the game every fifth day pitching to a 4.25 ERA and 1.310 ERA in 12 games as a starter.

While many believed Chris Capuano would stay on the team for the short-term, the Yankees surprised everyone and offered Capuano a one-year deal for the 2015 season, mainly due to the severity of Nova’s injury. Regardless of the numbers he puts up in Spring Training this year, Capuano is expected to be in the rotation as a fourth or fifth starter. But what will be Capuano’s outcome by the time Ivan Nova is ready to return? Capuano could either:

A) Pitch well during April, May and parts of June and the Yankees would be forced to keep him in the rotation.

B) Struggle for April, May and parts of June and the Yankees could either banish him to the bullpen or cut him from the team altogether.

What happens to Capuano over the course of the season is up to him, but for now he’s here to stay. The Yankees don’t expect Capuano to pitch to a 3.00 ERA, but they also want him to be effective and be the veteran presence the Yankees are currently lacking since Hiroki Kuroda decided to finish his career in Japan. He was quite helpful for the Yankees during the second half of the year and the Yankees would be thrilled if he could find a way to somehow replicate his second-half success.

Tomorrow: We analyze what David Carpenter did for the Atlanta Braves last season and what the Yankees can expect from him as he becomes a new fixture in the Yankees bullpen.

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12 Responses to What to expect from Chris Capuano

  1. If Capuano could somehow replicate his 2012 season when he had a 3.72 ERA, a 7.4 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9, I think the Yankees would be thrilled. I doubt he'll be that good though, but they don't need him to be. All they need is for him to stay healthy and to get a consistent 5 or 6 innings out of him each start.

    • Celerino says:

      He had around the same k/9 and bb/9 for the Yanks last year and the era was comparable if you adjust for the ballpark. He can be a reasonable #5 guy if he stays healthy.

  2. Terry says:

    He has value as a spot starter-long relief.As a regular in the rotation,not too sure.If he only goes 5-6 innings then we probably have to commit 3 relievers every time he starts.The bullpen is strong but we can't overwork them or they'll lose their effectiveness.I like his character but we could still use another dependable arm

  3. Les says:

    I was quite surprised when they resigned him. It was the only signing that I didn't like or quite understand. Personally I believe that Adam Warren as a starter makes more sense. It also takes more than just age to provide a veteran presence, it takes respect based on career accomplishments. I would be trying to trade this guy ASAP as well as Brendon Ryan.

    • And then when CC or Tanaka or Pineda inevitably get hurt what then? Just burn out a bunch of young players that have never thrown 200 innings before? Like it or not, the Yankees need Capuano right now. Even if they sign another starter, which I think eventually they will, he's still going to be around and will likely still have a spot in the rotation out of spring training.

  4. Balt Yank says:

    I agree with Les & Terry. He was a 4 inning pitcher last year for us. If he's just 5, that's a lot over a season for the bullpen to do. The Yankees may want him to "be effective and be the veteran presence" as the article says, and for Drew to play well out of position and hit 270, and Headley to be injury free for four years and not be a 230 hitter, and the cow to jump over the moon. I hope the 2B rookies rake in spring training so Drew becomes the backup and Ryan walks.

    • He averaged 5.5 innings per start with the Yankees last season. That's 175 innings over the course of an entire year. How many starters do the Yankees have that they can reasonably expect that many innings from? Capuano and Eovaldi are probably the only two.

    • Celerino says:

      Actually he averaged over 5 innings per game, and that included one game where he was knocked out in the first. He pitched six or more innings in eight of his twelve starts, and if you exclude that one bad game, his era goes down to 3.72.

  5. Ollie says:

    I would expect Capuano,a experinced Left handed starter to win 11 to 13 games if he stays in rotation.He is the complete opposite of Eovaldi a "flame throwing righty" who he will probably follow in the rotation. So with that and the new pen I like his chances to succeed!

  6. Balt Yank says:

    Stats say he pitched 12 games and 65.2. I say four inning pitcher because watching him pitch the fifth was pins and needles. He pitchers four decent innings and a who knows what fifth.

  7. Brooklyn joe says:

    Is Adam Warren enough insurance for this rotation? There's no way all these guys stay healthy, Cashman stockpiled the bullpen which I have no problem with, but why leave the rotation so thin ? Capuano will be ok for 4-5 innings but where are the arms to back up this rotation ?

    • Part of the reason the rotation was left thin was that there wasn't a ton of quality starters available on the market this offseason. I mean, Brandon McCarthy got 4-years and $48 million and only ever threw 200 innings once in his career — in 2014. It would have been nice to keep him, but it's hard to be upset to see the Yankees pass up on that contract.

      It's a shame they couldn't talk Kuroda into staying, but like Branch Rickey always said — it's better to cut them a year too soon than a year too late.

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