Those are two things you never want to hear in the same sentence — elbow, and Dr. James Andrews.
If you’re a sports fan, you know who Dr. James Andrews is. He’s the best orthopedic surgeon in the country, so on one hand, you’re glad that your favorite team’s athletes are going to the best. But on the other hand, you know that if they’re going to see him, it’s usually bad news. For pitchers, if you’re going to see Dr. Andrews for an elbow injury, that often leads to Tommy John surgery. Marlins reliever Carter Capps has found himself falling into this unfortunate category, which is even more unfortunate considering that he was the favorite to begin the season as the Marlins’ closer for the first time in his career.
Capps has the unique distinction of being “that guy who hops off the rubber before he throws a pitch.” It’s the kind of situation where when he’s pitching against your team, it drives you absolutely insane. You’re tweeting your thumbs off about how there’s no way this can be legal, and it’s complete bullshit. But if he’s on your team, you’re digging up the rule book and spin zoning the shit out of your explanation for how this is actually legal.
Last year, Capps appeared in 30 games and recorded 58 strikeouts in 31 innings with a 1.16 ERA and 1.10 FIP. I’m going to sound salty because he’s not on my team, but I think that there might be a correlation between his dominant numbers, his 99 mile per hour fastball, and the fact that he releases the ball a few feet closer to the plate than everyone else. It’s just a thought, but hey. If you can do whacky shit like that and not only get away with it, but actually be really good while you’re doing something so unconventional and borderline illegal, all the power to you.
If Capps does have to miss significant time, then A.J. Ramos would harmlessly slide back into the closer’s role that he held last year. In 2015, Ramos racked up 32 saves and 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings with a 2.30 ERA for a 91-loss Marlins team. The Ramos/Capps situation is similar to the Ken Giles/Luke Gregerson situation with the Astros. The teams’ closers in 2015 didn’t necessarily deserve to lose their jobs, but both teams have better options for the ninth inning. With the Capps injury, Ramos might not have to endure the demotion that Gregerson has to. Yet.