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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Anthony Capra Interview

The accelerated rebuilding process undertaken by the Oakland A’s this off-season is an indication that the team has a lot of prospects in their system that they want to work with and play at the big league level. Trading away so many veterans means more available roster spots in the higher levels of their minor league system and in Oakland for their best prospects. Left-handed pitcher Anthony Capra will be among those players.

Capra was selected in the 4th round of the 2008 MLB draft out of Wichita State University. Prior to that he was a star at Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colorado. He was 8-2 as a senior, with a miniscule 1.47 ERA in 62 innings, and 124 strikeouts. His ability earned him significant collegiate interest, and he ended up in Wichita, Kansas.

Capra did a little bit of everything with the Shockers, both starting and relieving. He went 9-2 with a 3.54 ERA as a junior; including 90 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. This came after going 7-1 with a 1.76 ERA as a sophomore. His versatility and talent sent him rocketing up the draft boards of many teams, but he ended up with Oakland.

About to enter his fifth season in the Oakland system, Capra has made it as high as Triple-A, and is knocking on the door of the big leagues. He has been used exclusively as a starter, and appears to have a bright future in that role. As he has progressed through the minors, he has struggled at times with consistency, but his steady upward progress reflects his work ethic and ability.

In 87 career minor league games, Capra has an 18-32 record with a 4.06 ERA. He has struck out 416 batters (including 170 in 2009 alone) in 439 innings, while allowing just 390 hits. More information on his statistics is available at

2012 looks to be a year of opportunity for many young Oakland players, and there is a good chance that one will be Anthony Capra, who recently shared some of his experiences with baseball. If this interview isn’t enough, you can also follow him on Twitter (@ACap35). He is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on this upcoming season!

Anthony Capra Interview:

Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: Growing up I was always a Yankees fan. My dad and uncle are diehard fans, and to this day, whenever we are all together, we talk about the Yankees and what moves they should/shouldn't make. I was also a San Francisco Giants fan because my all-time favorite player Will Clark. I like to think I have one of, if not THE biggest, Will Clark memorabilia collections around. When I was a kid maybe 4/5 years old, my dad took me to my first big league game. I was already a Clark fan from watching him on tv, but he saw me wearing a Giants hat, and walked over and tossed me a ball... the rest was history.

The very first thing I did with my signing bonus was to take my dad and uncle to the last series in Yankees Stadium against the Orioles. It put a serious dent in the wallet, but was so worth it.

Can you run through what your draft experience was like?:
I was drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 49th round. I realized it was more of a courtesy or draft & follow pick, so I knew my best path was to go to Wichita State. After three years there being drafted in the 4th round was amazing. The whole process of interviewing with scouts and advisers was a lot of fun for a 21 year old kid with big league aspirations. When my phone rang on draft day I was on cloud 9. 

What was your college experience like at Wichita State?:
I wouldn't trade my experience at Wichita State for anything. Besides my personal successes, I had the experiences of playing on a team that was ranked in the top 5 in the country, hosted a regional, hosted a super regional, and got to travel to both as well. The coaching staff there is one of a kind to say the least, but they are amazing, and our pitching coach (Brent Kemnitz) is without a doubt one of the best in the business at ANY level. Other than baseball I learned how to live away from home, met my fiancé, and feel that I grew as a person; so I would say college was maybe the best time of my life.

What are contract negotiations like after being drafted?:
As far as contract negotiations go there's not a lot I can say because I wasn't involved in them that much. I signed with an adviser and told him I would let him do his job. The Athletics contacted him with their offers, and I would tell him yes or no and what I was looking for. It didn't take long for us to meet on the details... about two weeks. It really took a lot of the pressure and worry off me knowing I wouldn't have to be the one doing the negotiating. It was a very enjoyable process for me, but I know some people would say otherwise.

What pitches do you throw, and which one is your strongest and which one needs the most work?:
I throw a pretty standard three pitch starter's mix; fastball, curveball, and changeup. My changeup has been my best pitch in recent years. I had a really, really good palm ball coming out of college, but the problem was I couldn't throw it for a called strike, which quickly became evident to me was going to be a problem. I worked on a new style of changeup in my first instructional league and immediately fell in love with it. I have been struggling with it lately, but when I throw it right I get a lot of tumbling action and the typical arm side-fade of a circle change. Most people would call it a vulcan, but I can assure you it is not a vulcan changeup. 

As far as the pitch that needs the most work it would be my curveball. I show flashes of having a good one, but I don't release it consistently, so at times it hangs, and at times I throw it straight into the ground. I had a pretty good curveball coming out of high school, but for whatever reason I lost the feel for it and have been searching for a comfortable grip and release ever since.

Has the news of Oakland's full blown rebuilding changed your thought process or made you think you might have more opportunity?:
I try not to pay attention to the re-building talk or really any of the big league moves too much. I'd be lying if I said I totally don't pay attention because I know slots are opening above me, but for now all I can afford to think about is doing the things I need to do to improve to the level I need to be to consistently get major league hitters out. I feel fortunate to be in an organization that uses their players they develop, so like I said, I know the opportunity is there; it's a matter of if I take advantage of them.

What is the worst postgame meal a team has ever put out for you?:
I can't pin-point ONE post game meal, but there are several times that I have walked out of the clubhouse without eating. It's not hard to see when there is a lack of effort on the clubhouse manager’s part, and since we are paying dues already, I should probably just go ahead and eat the meal, but at 10 at night, when I haven't eaten in six hours, I'm looking for a quality, filling meal.  Powdered boxed mashed potatoes with a soggy hamburger patty just isn't going to cut it at that point.

What do you typically do in the off season for work or relaxation?:
I am a type-A personality, so I always need to be doing something, especially in the off-season. I am into lots of different things. I also have a problem with being an impulse buyer, so the off-season can be a problem for me. Last off-season I bought a remote control car that can get up to 70 mph. I also like playing slow pitch softball because when else am I going to be allowed to swing and roam right field (I am a gold glove right fielder I want that to be known). Other than that I enjoy doing the things every normal person does; I hang out with my fiancé, relax with friends, watch football, and sit around waiting for the grass to turn green again so I can get back to baseball.


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