Mariners' Capps Gears Up For His Final Challenge





SEATTLE—At 22, Carter Capps is just a kid in baseball years. He's only been a professional briefly, having been drafted in the third round out of Mount Olive (N.C.) in 2011 as a hard-throwing righthander.

He's also just a kid in terms of being a pitcher. After all, he was a catcher until his junior year in high school. But he has shown serious skill, having jumped from low Class A to Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues in the last season and a half. He spent almost two months in Seattle at the end of the 2012 season.

Now Capps faces the biggest test. He comes into spring training with a chance to make the big league roster. The fact that he throws 100 mph regularly and with some control suggests that he's going to be given every chance to make it.

"When you look at his development, he's just a kid who can do anything you ask him to do," farm director Chris Gwynn said. "He has the deception and the power to just blow hitters away."

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Capps has an unusual delivery in the way his arm crosses he body during his release. As a result, hitters have less of a chance to pick the ball up than they would against most pitchers.

"It's across the body, and the ball is on you before you know it," Gwynn said. "It's unique how he does it, and it's a good weapon for him."

Capps went 2-3, 1.26 with 19 saves in 38 appearances out of Double-A Jackson's bullpen last season before making one Triple-A appearance on his way to joining Seattle, where he posted a 3.96 ERA in 18 appearances with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Capps has gotten the hang of coming out and throwing his breaking ball for strikes. He balances out the fastball with an 89-91 mph changeup, but his curve comes in at 75 mph and has a chance to drive hitters batty.

"I think the pitcher you see now has a lot more confidence," Gwynn said. "He's had some success and he's continued to learn. He's a competitor and he's got a chance to make a great impression this spring."

Marinade

• In looking toward the future, the Mariners scheduled four of their top prospects—lefty James Paxton, shortstop Nick Franklin, second baseman Stefen Romero and catcher Mike Zunino—to appear at the two-day Mariner FanFest. All four have also been invited to big league spring training.

• Catcher Jesus Sucre re-signed with Seattle and has been invited to spring training. Sucre, 24, hit .271/.319/.315 in 321 at-bats for Jackson last season.