Steamboat Springs pitcher could be top college baseball recruit
Alan Capistron emerges as standout player in Colorado
July 18, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The 30 or so steps from the dugout to the pitcher's mound can change a man.
Bulldogs can become lap dogs; humble men can become supercilious.
And as soft-spoken as Alan Capistron is, there's a change in him in those 30 or so steps. The rising Steamboat Springs High School senior looks like he belongs. His long frame fills out, his cap lowers and his presence becomes defined.
He can pump 88 mph fastballs to both sides of the plate, cut it, throw his slider for a strike or bury it in the dirt.
All this has made Capistron the most intriguing college baseball prospect to come out of Steamboat Springs in the past decade.
"He's definitely got the ability to pitch at the next level," said Scott Bland, who manages the Colorado Bandits, a select Denver-based club that Capistron plays on. "I see him as probably a Division II product at least and possibly a Division I candidate. It depends on him and where he wants to start."
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Bland, who has managed the Bandits for five years, has seen 93 percent of graduated guys that play on his team go on and play in college.
The team is mostly made up of Front Range players, but Capistron is bucking the trend, proving that Steamboat does have quality baseball and players.
"Coming from Steamboat, and not to rag on Steamboat, but it's a smaller community and the weather and winter goes longer," Bland said. "It was a surprise to see Cappy come out of that with his talent."
Road through hard work
All the way through his sophomore year, Capistron was a three-sport star, playing golf, basketball and baseball.
But after that year, Capistron started to light up the radar gun. He had worked the previous summer on extending his innings and trying to get deeper into games. He was touching
the low 80s and came to a decision. He loved all three sports, but baseball was his girl.
"I like golf and basketball," he said, "but I've played baseball since I was 5."
He gave up basketball and went to work throwing in the gym. He saw his velocity on his pitches start to climb. He started to locate his slider and changeup and consistently sat at 85 and often touched 88 with his fastball. A back strain at the end of his junior year limited his statewide recognition and shortened his season.
"But last summer it happened," said Dave Roy, Steamboat American Legion team manager. "That's when I felt he started to develop into a pitcher that could be a true No. 1 starter."
In January, he traveled to Denver to try out for the Bandits. One session later, Bland had his No. 1 pitcher.
"He's got great off-speed stuff," said Bland, whose team plays in front of as many as 30 coaches each game. "He hits his spots and has good movement with his pitches. He's got good velocity and pounds the strike zone. He throws a lot of strikes. He gets a lot of strikeouts and a lot of ground balls."
Capistron's summer numbers speak for themselves. He'll have played about 70 games with the Bandits and another 20 with the Legion team.
With the Steamboat team, he's 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA. With the Bandits, his ERA — loosely speaking — jumps to 2.8.
"The biggest difference is definitely being able to throw all my pitches for strikes," Capistron said. "Last year at this time, I had trouble with my fastball. Now, I can locate it on both sides of the plate."
Capistron said he has no preferences on where he ends up next year.
He said he just wants the opportunity to play at the next level.
"At this point," he said, "I'm not real picky."
He'll play golf in the fall and possibly in another league down in Denver.
He said he might go out again for basketball, but he said the priority now is to focus on baseball and getting stronger. He'll continue to work out and build arm strength.
By the time the spring comes, there's a chance he could be one of the more sought-after prospects in Colorado.
"Cappy, he'll be throwing 90 next spring," Roy said. "If he continues the work, he's got all the physical attributes you need."