Arizona Diamondbacks CBO Tony La Russa on Carter Capps’ delivery: ‘It’s a tremendous advantage’

Jul 22, 2015, 10:04 AM | Updated: 10:22 am
LISTEN: Tony La Russa, Diamondbacks chief baseball officer

While batting stances are usually very different among baseball players, generally speaking, pitchers all have similar deliveries.

Sure, some throw more overhand than others, and a few — like D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler — throw submarine-style, but for the most part, the differences in motions are small.

Then there’s Miami Marlins reliever Carter Capps, a 24-year-old who hops just a little bit closer to the plate every time he throws a pitch.

Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Capps struck out two in a scoreless inning of work.

It’s an odd delivery, one that would seem to be against the rules, but apparently as long as his toe drags across the dirt, it’s fine.

“You know, I was convinced that it was not (legal), and then I saw the explanation that I guess they appealed this thing and they said he dragged his foot,” D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “But I seriously thought about if our video guy could capture it, sending it in. Because it sure seems to me there’s enough pitches that he throws where his foot leaves the mound and is not dragging the dirt, that makes it illegal.

“So what you can do next is come running, take a big jump and release the ball as you hit the grass.”

Making things more difficult on batters is that Capps throws upwards of 100 miles per hour. This season, the right-hander has posted a 1.32 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in 27.1 innings. He’s also struck out 52.

La Russa said Capps’ style is irritating, with the caveat of “unless he’s on your side.”

The Marlins are certainly happy to have him in their bullpen, and unless the league changes its tune on his delivery, there’s little reason to think he will stop having success getting batters out.

“You think about the deception, the unorthodox view that the hitter takes and it’s a tremendous advantage,” La Russa said. “If you can pull that off — I don’t know how long he can do that without getting hurt, then he’s got good stuff, he’s throwing in the high-90s and he’s got a nasty breaking ball.

“It’s really unfair.”

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Arizona Diamondbacks CBO Tony La Russa on Carter Capps’ delivery: ‘It’s a tremendous advantage’