Miami Marlins relief pitcher Carter Capps has been sent back to the minors after just one appearance during which he caused quite a stir because of his unique delivery.
Capps raised a lot of eyebrows with a delivery that includes a very pronounced “hop” towards the plate before releasing the ball.
The motion gives Capps a big advantage over the hitter because the ball has to travel a shorter distance to the plate. This will make his 98 mph fastball seem even faster, as there is less time for the batter to react.
Major League Baseball ruled that the delivery is legal as long Capps drags his back foot and doesn’t elevate. At the very least, it is easy to see why it could be ruled an “illegal pitch” by taking his pivot foot off of the rubber, something most pitchers do when pushing towards the plate, but not to this extreme.
According to Christina De Nicola of FoxSports.com, Capps was demoted to make room on the roster for pitcher David Phelps, who had been away from the team on paternity leave. However, the Marlins could have chosen to demote young prospect Jose Urena and didn’t.
At the same time, if Capps is going to tweak his delivery to fall more in line with the rule book, it would be easier to do in the minors.
This was not Capps’ first promotion to the majors. He spent parts of each of the last three seasons in the big leagues. While his delivery has always been funky, with an odd hitch instead of pushing off the rubber, it was never as extreme as it has been this year. The hop wasn’t as pronounced last year:
Presumably Capps will be called back up at some point and it will be interesting to see if the delivery has changed.
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