Getting To Know Chris CapuanoJanuary 14, 2011
Below is an email exchange we had regarding Capuano. Read below as we discuss Brewers fan reaction to the signing, best part of Capuano’s game, his acting career and much more!
Question: Tell me a little about yourself and The Brewers Bar.
Answer: I grew up as a Brewers fan in Wisconsin, but actually just finished school at Hofstra out on Long Island, so I’ve actually picked up a mild interest in the Mets, too. It’s too bad they share a league with the Brewers, otherwise they’d probably be in the discussion for my second-favorite team (I still refuse to cheer for the other team in New York, though). Most of my friends from school were Mets fans, so I’m sympathetic to what’s happened there the past few years (sorry for the whole “making the playoffs in 2008 instead of you guys” thing). As far as the blog goes, David Hannes started The Brewers Bar quite a few years ago (our archives go back to 2006), but I joined the staff in July 2009 and have since become the main writer. I try to post at least once a day, but I tweet a lot more than I blog — you can follow me @BrewersBar.
Question: What’s the reaction from Brewers fans (including you) on Capuano signing with the Mets?
Answer: I don’t think there’s been much — if anything — bad said about Capuano going to New York, especially since he didn’t end up with the Cubs. When the signing was announced, I actually wrote that it was probably the best fit out there for him. Even before the second Tommy John surgery, he had problems keeping the ball in the park against right-handed hitters, so moving from Miller Park to Citi Field should at least help him a bit there. Just getting back to the major leagues following that second operation was a minor miracle, and it took a lot of hard work for Chris to make it back. It’s too bad that there simply wasn’t any room left for him on Milwaukee’s roster, but we’re very happy that he’s getting a chance somewhere else and being paid more than he would have earned with the Brewers. I know there are plenty of Mets fans out there that are pretty indifferent or cynical about the signing, but those of us who follow the Brewers think you’re getting a pretty solid pitcher at a cheap price. We’ll be rooting for him.
Question: What’s the most impressive part of Capuano’s game?
Answer: He’s never been blessed with great stuff, but he’s always had pretty good control, so he won’t typically walk a lot of batters. His fastball isn’t going to be much more than 86-87, but his changeup is his best pitch and he’ll use it about 25% of the time. My absolute favorite part of his game, though, is his pickoff move to first base. Honestly, it’s a borderline balk, but it’s a thing of beauty…at the top of his game, he was leading the majors in pickoffs. People from New York are probably more familiar with Andy Pettitte’s pickoff move, but I would put Capuano’s right up there.
Question: At this point in his career, do you think Capuano is more suited to be a starter or coming out of the bullpen and why?
Answer: I think Capuano is a fine #5 starter in the National League, and when he did start for the Brewers last season, he was providing solid outings — only 5 or 6 innings, but usually 3 earned runs or less. I do think there is some legitimate concern over whether or not he’d be able to maintain that over a full season, though, and with the way the Brewers used him last season it’s hard to make an accurate prediction. They were very conservative with his rehab, and didn’t bring him up to the big leagues until his opt-out clause nearly kicked in at the start of June. Once he was in Milwaukee, they were very careful with how they used him, and it wasn’t unusual to see him go a week or two without work. He takes very good care of himself, but even with a fully healthy offseason, I’d be worried about the amount of innings he’d be able to provide next season. As a starter, he may be a guy the Mets have to keep a strict pitch or inning count on throughout the season. At the very least, he’s very good insurance to have around as a long reliever or emergency starter.
Question: From what you’ve heard, what type of teammate and clubhouse guy is Capuano?
Answer: Capuano is one of the classiest guys to ever put on a Brewers uniform, and I don’t think you’d be able to find anyone who has something bad to say about him as a person. He’s incredibly bright (dude has an Economics degree from Duke), thoughtful, and honest about his own performance — I think the New York media will love him for that reason. As a teammate, everyone seemed to love him, and he would always go to extraordinary lengths to find common ground with just about anyone. This is a guy who tried learning Japanese just so he could talk with Tomo Ohka in his first language. Needless to say, I don’t think he’ll have a problem fitting into the Mets’ clubhouse.
Question: Feel free to add anything else.
Answer: He can act, too! Well, kinda — he was in a 2007 episode of “The Young and The Restless” with Jeff Suppan, Bill Hall, and J.J. Hardy. Feel free to make fun of it:
Thanks to Jaymes for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check him out over at The Brewers Bar.