By Taryn “the Coop” Cooper
Back in February, the Kiner’s Korner Kult of Mets Personalities podcast had a very special guest with former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson. Not only was Peterson a former Mets pitching coach, his most recent role was pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, where he had worked with current Mets pitcher, Chris Capuano. (For those who wish to listen, these remarks are about an hour into the podcast)
Peterson believed that Mets fans would really like Capuano, and that at the time he was a “great find” for the team. While he’s two years post-Tommy John Surgery, his prediction for Capuano being healthy was “high.” He’s got an “A+ dedication” to his craft, as he was doing some long-distance throwing that was strengthening his arm and increasing his velocity.
Peterson rounded out his thoughts by saying “Chris has a chance to have a great year.”
It’s taken a few weeks, but it seems as though a lot of these Peterson predictions are on the cusp of being true. After several years of being screwed over by head cases and guys who didn’t have the dedication to being a better pitcher, it is evident that Capuano has devoted himself to getting better and being back to his old self prior to his surgery. While he may not win 18 games this year as he did in 2005, he’s been giving the Mets quality starts since April. That’s all we can really ask of him right now.
Going over his starts, he had a decent April but gave up a few too many runs (boasting a 6.00 ERA that month). May was a strong month, and while June isn’t showing it in the wins/losses column yet exactly, Capuano “has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his past four starts” and has won “back-to-back starts for the first time since 2007”.
Mets fans are also coming around on Capuano, with several bloggers taking notice of his latest strong start against the Pittsburgh Pirates (I guess you can include those of us at Kiner’s Korner in that level of thinking as well). I’ve also noticed that I am at ease watching him pitch, as opposed to the beginning of the season. Like I said above, I’m so used to pitchers coming back from injury being ill-prepared
For $1.5 mm owed in 2011, even if Capuano threw no more pitches after today, he’d still have earned his money for the Mets. Yet, he’s not a flashy pitcher, he’s not dominant 100% of the time, but he’s just a regular guy who is giving the Mets some great innings so far this season.
I’m looking forward to see what else he can do for the Mets this year.