Padres Reliever Explains Funky Delivery

Carter Capps causes quite the stir every time he takes the mound

Carter Capps can be a problem.

Not for the Padres, of course. Capps is an extremely likable guy who San Diego Manager Andy Green has singled out as a pitcher who goes about the game of baseball the right way.

The 26-year-old reliever can be a problem for opposing hitters … and for Major League Baseball rules enforcers.

Capps was tremendous coming out of the Marlins bullpen in 2015. In 31 innings he only allowed four earned runs while striking out 58 hitters with just seven walks. So he is a problem for guys who face him.

But Capps has a very interesting delivery that has put MLB in a bit of a pickle. As a reliever Capps pitches exclusively out of the stretch. When he comes to the plate he slides down the mound, almost like a hop-step, and then completes the pitch. In the minor leagues Capps had umpires ding him for an illegal pitch.

However he has never been called for a balk at the big league level. Most people seem to believe a pitcher’s foot must be in contact with the rubber while delivering a pitch. However in the Major League Baseball 2016 Official Rulebook the only time the phrase “disengaging the rubber” is used is when discussing pickoff attempts.

When dealing with throwing the actual pitch we refer to Rule 5.07(a)(2) which reads in part … “After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption.”

THAT is what saves Capps and his funky delivery. Since it is something he does on a consistent basis it is part of his “natural motion” even though it is completely unnatural. MLB talked to Capps about his delivery and told him it’s cool … as long as he doesn’t get too carried away with it.

"They just said they wanted me to make sure I dragged my foot and not get too elevated in the air, and make sure it's more on a lateral plane," said Capps in an interview with "As long as I do that, they have no problem with it."

Now the question is: How did Capps come up with this delivery in the first place? He told that part of the story to NBC 7 SportsWrap.


Capps missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Padres acquired him Miami in the Andrew Cashner trade, seeing his potential if he could make it back from an elbow reconstruction and it looks like the gamble is going to pay off. Capps says he’s healthy and expects to be ready to bring his funky delivery to the mound by Opening Day.

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