Padres right-hander Carter Capps has become known around the league for his unique pitching style. If you were seeing it for the first time, you'd likely think it was an illegal pitch and wonder why none of the umps were calling a balk.
Capps' delivery includes an unusual kind of hop-step movement, which allows him to release the ball closer to the batter and home plate. Without looking closely an analyzing it, it would be completely understandable to mistake it as a balk, and many still believe it to be an illegal pitch. But according to MLB, it is in fact a legal pitch, and it has to do with the direction in which he hops. As long as his movement remains lateral, and he doesn't elevate upwards too much, the pitch is allowable.
Capps, who came to the Padres organization from the Marlins via trade last July, is looking to secure the closer spot (competing against a few guys, but primarily Brandon Maurer). Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, he is on track to pitch in games by mid-March of this year. If he continues to progress as well as he already has, we should be seeing him and his hop-step in the 9th inning this season.
Here's Carter Capps throwing a bullpen: pic.twitter.com/PrphUm5soS— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) February 15, 2017
Oh, also, Capps is rocking an awesome head of hair that gives 2015 Josh Johnson a run for his money.