Another PITCHf/x view of Cappy.
It has been a while since I posted one of these so I thought I would show some stuff on Cappy which I found interesting. We all know that Cappy has to live of the corners but when you break down where he throws each of his pitches an interesting thing shows up.
Cappy's throws a two seam fastball but it isn't like a heavy sinker like Lowe or Webb. In fact until the latest version of my pitch classification code was run, the algorithm thought it was a four seamer. Up until now I thought that he generally tried to keep his fastball down in the zone but actually it looks like he is throwing it on the corner towards a right handed batter. Here is the plot.
When his fastball moves in to the middle of the plate he tends to get hammered as you would expect with someone with a 88 MPH fastball that doesn't sink very much. Also notice how few swings and misses he has low in the strike zone. Where he does get some swings and misses is up in the zone. He tends to go upstairs on pitcher's counts which is probably nothing new to anyone who has watched him. He throws nearly 50% fastballs on 0-2, 1-2, and 2-2 which is a very high percentage for pitchers. When he does throw the high fastball it seems much more effective when he throws it inside to a right handed batter. Not only does the height make it hard to get around on but if it is inside as well a batter can't extend his hands.
His change is his bread and butter though. While he throws his fastball inside to right handed batters it is exactly opposite with the change. Here is the plot. Absolutely nothing up and in to a right hander. Also, his does a much better job of keeping the ball down with his change. Look at all the swings and misses he is getting with his change. Unlike other pitchers who might use his change as a get me over pitch to get ahead in the count Cappy's change is a strike out pitch. The counts he throws it the most are 0-2, 1-1, 1-2, and 2-2.
Like most lefties he doesn't throw his change much to left handed batters. For them, he uses his slider much more often. This isn't a hard slider by any means and is actually close to a slurve if my algorithm would try to break things up a little more. Here is the plot. He again tries to stay away for hitters with this pitch mostly low and away to left handed batters. It is pretty clear this is the worst of Cappy's three pitches not really getting too many swinging strikes and throwing a lot out of the zone.
To sum everything up, Chris Capuano has a couple effective pitches but he really needs to get ahead to use them. To move from a solid pitcher who had some real bad luck this year to a more elite level pitcher he needs to find something that he can use early in the count. Right now he is trying to throw his fastball on the outside corner mostly early in the counts but he hasn't shown that he can get strike one with it. While PITCHf/x was watching he got to 0-1 58 times but went 1-0 75 times. He needs to turn that around next year.