New Faces, New Places Part 2: Chris Capuano, Ryan Ludwick, and Juan Pierre
BY ROB SHAW
Seven years ago Chris Capuano was one of the best starters in baseball, as he went 18-11 for the Milwaukee Brewers. The good times did not last long as Capuano was derailed by arm injuries that forced him to miss 2008-2009.
In his first full season back, Capuano pitched well for the Mets with 11 wins and a 4.55 ERA. However, a closer look at the statistics reveals that there could endure some trouble ahead. Capuano surrendered 1.31 HR/9, which would have been an issue had he stayed in New York with the fences getting drawn closer. His 5.42 ERA on the road is also an issue with Capuano moving away from Citi Field.
Fantasy managers can take some relief in the fact that Capuano’s move to Los Angeles means he’ll continue to pitch in a pitcher’s park. Furthermore, the Dodgers lineup should have more punch than the Mets lineup, which puts 12 wins within reach.
In 2008, Ryan Ludwick was one of the best players in baseball. He blasted 37 home runs, drove in 113 RBI, and hit .299 for the Cardinals. Ludwick failed to repeat the success and within two years he was dealt to the Padres.
In San Diego, Ludwick has regressed a great deal. His power and average took a severe decline and last season he was dealt to the Pirates. In particular, Ludwick has struggled against the fastball, and he is no longer hitting many line drives.
A move away from PETCO Park will give Ludwick every chance of regaining his confidence. At 33 years old, Ludwick is far from his prime, but 20-plus home runs with solid run production is a legitimate best-case scenario.
One of the most consistent hitters over the last decade has been Juan Pierre, most recently the leadoff man for the White Sox. In fact, Pierre ranks second on Major League Baseball for plate appearances since 2010. However, Pierre’s role will change dramatically now that he returns to the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Now a 34-year-old speedster, Juan Pierre did score 80 runs with 27 steals and a .279 average last season. However, his success rate for stolen bases took a nose-dive from 79% to 61%. In an era in which every statistic is studied by the front office, it is clear that Pierre’s struggles to secure stolen bases actually may have cost his team runs last season.
The Phillies are not looking for Pierre to play an everyday role. The hope is that Dominic Brown regains his confidence and becomes a rising star next to Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. Pierre will likely man a fourth outfielder role and offer some serious speed off the bench. His fantasy value takes a major hit this season.
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Ludwick should get some help from the park in Cincy. Plus the batters around him will be a lot better too.