Rockies, Tigers Exchange Hard-Throwers

The Deal
The Tigers acquired righthander Denny Bautista from the Rockies for righthander Jose Capellan, in a trade of hard-throwing relievers whose results have not yet reached the heights of their fastball velocities.

The Big Leaguers
Both Bautista and Capellan have more big league service time than it might seem at first blush. Bautista, 27, has been on the prospect radar since 2000, when the Marlins signed him out of the Dominican Republic. He made his big league debut with the Orioles, to whom he’d been traded for Jeff Conine, in 2004. The Orioles subsequently moved Bautista to the Royals after just two innings, and the Royals traded him to the Rockies at the 2006 trade deadline. Bautista’s big league numbers are ugly—4-10, 6.93 with 77-55 K-BB in 116 innings—but teams always will give him a chance because of the explosive, high-90s velocity and sink he generates on his fastball. He went 3-2, 2.92 with 63-31 K-BB in 65 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2007.

Capellan, also 27, emerged in 2004, when he posted a 2.33 ERA and struck out 152 batters in 139 innings as a Braves farmhand. Atlanta signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 1998, then packaged him in a deal with Milwaukee for closer Danny Kolbin December 2004. The Brewers traded Capellan in July 2007 in part because they were unhappy with how the righthander sulked after not making the Opening Day roster. He initially demanded a trade and did not show up for two Triple-A Nashville games. He struggled to a 5.54 ERA in the big leagues in 2007, but went 3-3, 4.34 in 37 Triple-A innings. Capellan had been clocked as high as 100 mph in the Braves system, but  his fastball sits in the low 90s now, and he’s still trying to come up with a solid second pitch and improve his command. For his big league career, Capellan has gone 5-7, 4.90 with 96-50 K-BB in 121 innings.

Quick Take
Both Bautista and Capellan make worthwhile projects, as they have the arm strength to be average big league relievers if they figure things out.

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