Chris Capuano was a Met last year, as you may remember. He wasn’t a particularly good pitcher, although he had his moments. After 66 innings in 2010, Capuano came to the Mets healthy for the first time in a while and had a pretty good first half before tailing off in the second. The Mets correctly assumed that Capuano would get too much money for a near replacement level starter and didn’t retain him, but what he has become this year has been anything but average, although he does again appear to be tailing off in the second half again.
Perhaps this ‘change’ is simply him being comfortable with his body one year removed from surgery, but he’s got basically the same K/BB as last year. He’s got a career low ERA even after a sub-par second half so far. He’s throwing much more pitches in the zone, but actually getting less contact on them, and much less contact outside of the zone. It certainly seems like he’s setting up hitters better and keeping them more off balance. He’s allowed less hits overall, and less home runs.
I guess you could attribute some of that to defense, although the Dodgers defense doesn’t seem particularly awesome, just better than the Mets. Seems a big jump to attribute just to that. His FIP is better, but his xFIP is worse. (Although it’s hard to trust a stat that says fielding independent and yet gets better when fielders make plays) Is this an indictment on Dan Warthen and the Mets staff? Was there an adjustment to be made that he was unable to figure out with the Mets? I know Ron Darling mentioned on the broadcast one day that he worked with Capuano a little last year on some things, and while it’s cool that he’s helping out, it seems like a bad sign that the broadcaster is helping out the pitchers on the side. This wouldn’t be the first pitcher that struggled here and succeeded elsewhere, although maybe that’s true of every team and it just seems like it’s more with the Mets.
This is just piece of evidence against Dan Warthen’s tenure as pitching coach continuing. With all the young pitchers the Mets are going with, I’d really love to have a brilliant coach that can really nurture these guys and get the best out of them. I don’t believe Dan Warthen is that guy.