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Here is a video of Miami reliever Carter Capps pitching. As you can see, he basically jumps off the rubber, and delivers from the front of the mound.

Apparently, MLB gave their approval to Capps's pitching style -- but with a caveat:

"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," Capps said. "As long as I do that, they have no problem with it. But it was very strange."

However, as a Bleacher Report article notes:

Not to be a foot in Capps’ punch bowl, but his pitching on Monday didn’t exactly feature extensive toe-dragging. There didn't appear to be any toe-dragging, actually. And by launching down the mound, he does chop off a not-immeasurable distance between him and the plate. In a game where batters have fractions of a second to react to the ball, this difference can be significant.

Was Capps's pitching in the MIA@ATL game legal? If not, why didn't the umpires disqualify him?

  • Voting to close as opinion based. The only facts here are that MLB have declared his pitching style legal. – Philip Kendall Apr 17 '15 at 9:21
  • @PhilipKendall Right, they've declared his pitching in general to be legal. However, here it appears that he did not follow what they told him. Therefore, the question is, is it legal in this case? – Scimonster Apr 17 '15 at 9:25
  • And the only people that can rule on that are the umpires, who will be given guidance by MLB. Any answers from anyone else will be purely opinion, which is why this question isn't a good fit for Stack Exchange. – Philip Kendall Apr 17 '15 at 10:14
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    Jordan Walden has been doing it for years, almost the same thing, so yes, it's legal. youtube.com/watch?v=bW6YVLK0zQM – New-To-IT Apr 17 '15 at 14:17
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The baseball rulebook is rather ambiguous when it comes to launch points for pitchers. I have a strong feeling that within the next few years we see pitchers try to take advantage of whatever they can will happen and then eventually we might see actual rules that define exact things that need to happen.

Right now umpires get a situation book that gives examples - we used to receive these every spring. It would go over trendy things and tell whether each was acceptable or not.

To answer your question there really isn't legal/illegal in baseball. If a pitch doesn't follow the rules is a balk. A pitcher has unlimited balks. Each balk without a runner on base is a ball. With runners it is a base and a ball.

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There are other relievers that "jump" off the rubber in their delivery. One I recall in particular is an 8th inning set up guy for Atlanta. He was traded in the off season to St. Louis. I believe his name is Jordan Walden. I never saw umpires call a balk on him or other such deliveries

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Yes, It should be legal as multiple pitchers have been doing similar things.

The reason Capps is not being busted is because of a possible bending of the balk rules - saying that he is not really attempting to bait anyone off base, so his other foot can come off the bag in one clear sweeping motion.

  • I don't agree that they are bending the balk rules explicitly. Balks are regularly called on things that are not at all "attempting" to draw anyone off, or even for things that are incidental and have no impact on the base runner, but are nonetheless violations of the rules. – Joe Apr 24 '15 at 18:21

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