Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Store

Photo

Matt Capps and K's

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:23 AM

I am just astounded by the closer's inability to miss bats here early in the season. I figured he'd rebound a bit after seeing his K-rate drop to a career-low 12 percent last year, but so far the issue has only been magnified. Capps has struck out only two of the 28 batters he's faced, or 7 percent. Last year, no reliever in the majors who threw more than 40 innings had a K-rate below 10 percent.

Not long ago, Capps was perfectly capable of notching a punch-out from time to time, but here in the prime of his career it appears that he's completely lost the ability to fool hitters. He doesn't exactly induce enough weak contact to survive while allowing 90+ percent of hitters to put the ball in play (I don't know that any pitcher does).

So I have two questions for discussion:

1) What's wrong with Capps? His velocity has been decent and he's been mixing in a fair number of sliders but no one's whiffing on his pitches. I suggested last week that his forearm/elbow injury might still be bothering him.

2) If it continues, how much longer can/will the Twins put up with this kind of dismal K-rate before they remove Capps not only from the closer role, but from high-leverage duties period? You could argue that the pitch-to-contact model might be effective when applied to starters, but it's disastrous for a late-inning pitcher and I'd hope the Twins realize that.

#2 cr9617

cr9617

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 157 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

He battles his tail off though...

#3 TwinsGuy55422

TwinsGuy55422

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 244 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:34 AM

He battles his tail off though...

...and he really gets after it! On a serious note, this is quite disturbing. As a reliever, you are often pitching with the game on the line and runners on so sometime you cannot even afford to give up a flyball out. You have got to be able to miss bats when it counts.
[FONT=century gothic]TwinsGuy55422
"And we'll see ya tomorrow night!!!!"
[/FONT]

#4 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,709 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

So I have two questions for discussion:

1) What's wrong with Capps? His velocity has been decent and he's been mixing in a fair number of sliders but no one's whiffing on his pitches. I suggested last week that his forearm/elbow injury might still be bothering him.

2) If it continues, how much longer can/will the Twins put up with this kind of dismal K-rate before they remove Capps not only from the closer role, but from high-leverage duties period? You could argue that the pitch-to-contact model might be effective when applied to starters, but it's disastrous for a late-inning pitcher and I'd hope the Twins realize that.


I'm worried that he's hurt, too and will need surgery. Seems the Twins luck, lately. With our pen, though, I don't know where they can move him, it's not like we have a lot of solid options (aren't both Guerra and Gutierez hurt right now?). We've argued this on your old website but I don't think the Twins care much about how 'pretty' his saves are, so long as he gets them done. And there is something credible about not having your best bullpen arm as your closer. For now, I think the Twins will just have to stick with it and hope. I'd keep looking at the waiver wire but a Jessie Crain type isn't likely to be found there.

#5 Fire Dan Gladden

Fire Dan Gladden

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 382 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:12 AM

While the K rate may be lower than expected, is there really any surprise here? Matt Capps is a league average reliever (on a good day). I want to call him a poor man's Eddie Guardado, but I can't even do that. Everybody knew what they were getting when he resigned, but nobody in the Twins front office seemed wiling to accept it. Whether he stays in the closer role or not, this continues to show to be a bad investment by the Twins.

#6 deanlambrecht

deanlambrecht

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 149 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:23 AM

Normally I'd engage this question on the merits. But today I'm just incredibly steamed about Matt Capps, so I'm here to coin and propagate a new phrase, and I hope you will all help me with the effort. To wit: Matt Capps - he puts the "loser" in "closer." I'm sorry to be non-productive here, but this is just ridiculous and I'm frustrated by the predictability of his poor performance. I think it was fairly evident before his injury last year that he's not cut out to be a closer in the true sense of the role. Capps is the exception that proves the rule for closers - that being a closer on teams like the Pirates and Nationals, which were terrible, terrible baseball teams at the time he pitched for them, substantially reduces the level of pressure on the closer so as to render the distinction of "closer" meaningless. Sadly, I hate to admit, at the moment that exception might apply to the Twins themselves. But it reinforces the rule - if we want to compete, we need a real closer, and that's not Matt Capps. (Topic for another discussion, which I'm specifically not addressing here, is whether it's worthwhile to overpay for a closer under any conditions).

#7 jeffk

jeffk

    Member

  • Members
  • 73 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:41 AM

I was of the opinion that a good closer is a luxury for an otherwise mediocre team who would be better to spend their money elsewhere, but it's actually even more frustrating to blow a game when the team isn't winning all that many to begin with.

#8 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,661 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:45 AM

He can't strike anyone out because he has no movement on his fastball, and this is something everyone was well aware of when they traded for him. Unfortunately the Twins don't feel strikeouts are essential for their pitchers, which is counter-intuitive seeing as how much they detest strikeouts from their offensive players. It makes little sense that they preach to the pitchers that it's ok to let opponents put the ball in play, but when the offense is up, they also teach defensive swinging to just make contact to put the ball in play. Why are positive results expected for the Twins offense by making contact, when negative results are expected when the opponents do the same?

Edited by nicksaviking, 24 April 2012 - 09:52 AM.


#9 Gernzy

Gernzy

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 435 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

Gotta love all the hate on Capps. Last I checked he was 4/4 for save chances. Until he blows a save I'm not going to be mad. No it hasn't been pretty, but somehow he's still getting it done. I don't count last night because I always hate bringing in closers in non-save situations. Nathan was horrible during those outings.
I bent my wookie...

#10 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

[quote name='nicksaviking']He can't strike anyone out because he has no movement on his fastball, and this is something everyone was well aware of when they traded for him. [/QUOTE]
The problem wasn't nearly as drastic when they traded for him. He was striking out nearly 20 percent of hitters for the Nats in 2010 before the Twins acquired him and maintained that rate after switching teams. At that point, he was a solid reliever.

[quote name='nicksaviking']Unfortunately the Twins don't feel strikeouts are essential for their pitchers, which is counter-intuitive seeing as how much they detest strikeouts from their offensive players.[/QUOTE]
Typically they seem to understand that strikeouts are important for late-inning relievers. They always talk about needing power arms at the back end of the bullpen, but Capps simply doesn't qualify in spite of his decent velocity.

[quote name='gunnarthor']I'm worried that he's hurt, too and will need surgery. Seems the Twins luck, lately.[/QUOTE]
Would this really be in instance of bad luck, though? They knew he was hurt last year, did nothing to address the problem and re-signed him at a high price in a flush reliever market during the offseason. Sounds more like bad planning than bad fortune to me.

#11 deanlambrecht

deanlambrecht

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 149 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:17 AM

Normally I'd engage this question on the merits. But today I'm just incredibly steamed about Matt Capps, so I'm here to coin and propagate a new phrase, and I hope you will all help me with the effort. To wit: Matt Capps - he puts the "loser" in "closer." I'm sorry to be non-productive here, but this is just ridiculous and I'm frustrated by the predictability of his poor performance. I think it was fairly evident before his injury last year that he's not cut out to be a closer in the true sense of the role. Capps is the exception that proves the rule for closers - that being a closer on teams like the Pirates and Nationals, which were terrible, terrible baseball teams at the time he pitched for them, substantially reduces the level of pressure on the closer so as to render the distinction of "closer" meaningless. Sadly, I hate to admit, at the moment that exception might apply to the Twins themselves. But it reinforces the rule - if we want to compete, we need we have is a real closer. That's not Matt Capps. (Topic for another discussion, which I'm specifically not addressing here, is whether it's worthwhile to overpay for a closer under any conditions).

#12 cr9617

cr9617

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 157 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:22 AM

The signing didn't make sense several months ago when it happened, and doesn't make any more sense now that he's pitching. 1. The loss of draft pick(s). 2. Bad PR, as no Twins fan wanted this guy back. 3. Compounding the horrible Capps/Ramos trade by resigning a below average closer. 4. Over paying him, when conventional wisdom would say no other team would offer that. I still can't understand what Ryan and the front office were thinking. Except maybe they thought he could rebound and become trade material, and even that seems like a stretch. I don't get it....

#13 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 5,841 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:25 AM

He's just not very good....saves are like wins, to me, in terms of their value in assessing a player's performance.....Signing a guy that you know was not good last year, supposedly because he was injured (even though I think he's had as many bad years as good years), for more money than anyone else likely would, kind of leads to the outcomes we are seeing right now.....I'm not disappointed because he's worse than I thought, I'm disappointed because he's as bad as I expected, and that money could have been spent signing 2-3 other relievers...or maybe combined with money spent on Marquis and Carroll and signing a legit MLB starter not 38 years old.
Lighten up Francis....

#14 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,661 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:44 AM

Typically they seem to understand that strikeouts are important for late-inning relievers. They always talk about needing power arms at the back end of the bullpen, but Capps simply doesn't qualify in spite of his decent velocity.


I'd like to think so, but they certainly haven't acted appropriatly to satisfy the need. Only Perkins and Burton have K/9 rate over 7 as a reliever, a rate which is not all that impressive to begin with. I don't know why any GM would want more than 1 or 2 BP arms who don't at least have a reasonable chance of getting a strikeout seeing as they are dealing with runners on base and in scoring position regularly. Even at Capps' best, he still was only a 7.6k/9 kind of guy, and in the AL it obviously isn't translating. I don't think he ever was really closer material.

Hopefully the Twins are finally seeing the reality, that strikeouts are essential to prohibiting runs, and that is why they took chances on high draft picks Madison Boer and Hudson Boyd in last years draft. I was excited they invited Jason Bulger to camp but his control killed him. The same thing seems to be happening to Lester Oliveros, while Jim Hoey already got tossed aside. I'm afraid that they are not able to identify quality power arms who have control issues that are reasonable enough to live with.

#15 Boom Boom

Boom Boom

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,099 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:02 AM

If Cappsie is hurt, he won't say so. That's what Gardy loves about him, even if it means bad results.

#16 Kneelb4zerg

Kneelb4zerg

    Member

  • Members
  • 42 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:07 AM

Since we are overreacting to the lack of Ks in a small sample size, the small sample size is encouraging for his ground ball rate (50%), which is what it was in '10.

#17 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

Since we are overreacting to the lack of Ks in a small sample size, the small sample size is encouraging for his ground ball rate (50%), which is what it was in '10.

Small sample size? This has been an ongoing problem for over a year. I don't expect his rate to remain as absurdly low as it is now, but this is a real problem.

#18 Fire Dan Gladden

Fire Dan Gladden

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 382 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:47 AM

I don't count last night because I always hate bringing in closers in non-save situations. Nathan was horrible during those outings


Yes, because coming in during a tie ballgame is so less stressful than coming in with a three run lead. Must be hard to get psyched up for those situations.

Edited by Fire Dan Gladden, 24 April 2012 - 11:50 AM.


#19 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Moderators
  • 8,876 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:57 AM

Consider this thought... If Matt Capps can close. Almost anyone can close.