The Marlins were dealt a major blow today. Carter Capps, Miami’s best reliever last season, will miss all of 2016 as he undergoes Tommy John surgery on his UCL. The news could not have come at a worse time, as Miami’s lack of depth threatens to derail the season before it has begun. Capps was set to contend with current Marlins closer AJ Ramos for 9th inning duties, in what figured to be one of Spring Training’s best positional battles.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins can’t afford to botch this trade
- Miami Marlins news: the New York Mets are a risky threat
- Miami Marlins keep missing out on stars
- Miami Marlins rumors: New closer?
- Miami Marlins attempted to sign 2 bats
After complaining of elbow stiffness during spring training, Capps met with at least two doctors, including renown orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, to gauge the seriousness of his injury. He was hoping to avoid surgery, as he had in the past. In 2014 Capps missed significant time with a similar elbow injury, but ultimately managed to avoid a procedure after meeting with Dr. Andrews. He also missed the last two months of the 2015 season with Miami, again dealing with problems in his elbow, but still managed to put off surgery. This time however, the injury was too severe. Capps tore a ligament in his right UCL, and surgery became inevitable.
Capps is a hard thrower, with an average fastball velocity of 98 mph. His heavy fastball usage, coupled with his unusual hop step delivery, have always made him a candidate for Tommy John. At 25 years old, he hopefully still has a long career ahead of him. Michael Hill, the Marlins President of Baseball Operations, said he expects Capps back and pitching by this time next year.
In the interim though, Miami loses not just their best reliever, but one of the best in baseball. Capps was poised for a breakout season after pitching to a 1.61 ERA last year. He led the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 16.8 and strikeout percentage at 49.2%, all while only walking 2.2 batters per nine innings. During his 30 inning run, Capps was one of baseball’s most dominant relievers. Together with AJ Ramos, Miami expected to have one of the best closer set up combos in baseball. His loss turns Miami’s bullpen, a projected strength, into a liability. Miami has reportedly begun shopping for relief help, and they do feature some compelling in house candidates in Kyle Barraclough and Kendrys Flores.