Chris Capuano won eighteen games in 2005 while posting a 3.99 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 176 strikeouts. Prior to 2010, the left-handed pitcher started 116 of the 120 games he appeared in. Capuano, by definition, is a starting pitcher–however, with the emergence of Dillon Gee, Capuano should really be put in the New York Mets bullpen.
After a series of arm injuries which put him out of commission for almost three seasons, Capuano returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010, and pitched in relief. As a reliever, the southpaw posted a .237/.301/.395 line with a 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 3.33 K/BB ratio. He was eventually placed back in the Brewers rotation, but Cap never quite approached the dominance he attained while pitching in relief.
During this past off-season, the New York Mets handed Capuano a one-year, $1.5 million contract to assume the fifth spot in their rotation. To date, the pitcher has posted a pedestrian .296/.360/.469 line with a 5.95 ERA, and 1.52 WHIP. His 2.83 K/BB ratio suggests he’s still challenging hitters, but he’s also been extremely hittable (11.0 H/9).
When Dillon Gee was called-up to take Chris Young’s spot in the rotation after he was placed on the disabled list, the Mets farmhand was nothing short of fantastic. In his two starts for the Mets, the 25 year-old Gee has won two games while posting a 2.31 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 3.00 K/BB. While most people expected Gee to get sent down upon Young’s return, the Mets surprisingly optioned veteran reliever D.J. Carrasco instead.
Despite Gee’s success in the rotation, the Mets do not plan to keep him in there. With Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Chris Young, and Chris Capuano all secured spots, there doesn’t appear to be a door open for Gee.
However, with Capuano’s experience and past dominance as a reliever–as well as his underwhelming performance thus far as a starter–it makes perfect sense to stick him in the bullpen, and give Dillon Gee a shot as a Major League starter. Putting Capuano in the bullpen not only gives the Mets good depth at the back of their ‘pen, but it also–more importantly–gives them a second left-handed option to Tim Byrdak, who has struggled against his own kind.
Capuano is scheduled to pitch the third game against the Nationals, but if he adds another mediocre start to his resume, don’t be too surprised to see a little shake-up.