Matt Capps: More of a Lucky Reliever Than a Great Closer

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Matt Capps: More of a Lucky Reliever Than a Great Closer
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
There no photos from Getty Images of Matt Capps in a Twins uniform

When the Minnesota Twins got Matt Capps in a trade with the Nationals, Twins fans cheered.

This ushered in the era of another fantastic arm in the bullpen, a fill-in or replacement for Joe Nathan if he can't return to form, and an upgrade from Jon Rauch.

It was a sign from the front office that they are actively trying to win a World Series. All these and more were things you could hear around Minnesota as fans starting dreaming of a deep playoff run.

Upon hearing that the Twins traded for Matt Capps, I cringed.

I have seen him pitch, and I don't argue that he is a good pitcher or an upgrade from Rauch or any other option the Twins had.

Some points made about him I cannot argue; however, there are many that I can. One point is that he is more lucky then dominant.

Consider this for a hypothetical situation: a pitcher that throws nothing but a 4-seam fastball and a 2-seam fastball.

Said pitcher does succeed at getting batters out in different ways.

His fastball ranges from 93 to 95 miles per hour. Sounds pretty good right?

Now imagine this pitcher doesn't throw any other pitches, and he is your closer.

Seems a bit scary right? This is exactly what concerns me about Matt Capps.

According to fangraphs.com, Matt Capps throws a fastball 74.6 percent of pitches, his slider 20.6 percent of pitches, and a change-up 4.8 percent of pitches.

This has been a recurring trend since he entered the league in 2005. 

It is not just how often he throws his fastball that makes me cringe either, it is how often he gets hit and gives up runs.

In 46.0 innings with the Washington Nationals, Matt Capps gave up 51 hits and 20 runs. So far with the Twins, in 19 innings Capps has allowed 21 hits and 7 runs.

Those numbers for a closer scare me.

While watching last night's game, I got nervous because Matt Capps came in to close it down and gave up two runs to put the Kansas City Royals within one run of tying the game.

The other thing I noticed is that the American League hitters are catching on to the propensity at which he throw fastballs.

This is not good, that is why I am predicting that if he doesn't learn how to use his other pitches and mix it up a little, not only will he not be successful in the postseason, but he will also see a decline in his saves total and era for as long as he stays in the American League.

If he continues this trend, I think he will find himself out of a closing job in real hurry.

 

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