07/11/2004 7:53 PM ET
Capellan throws gas in Houston
Braves prospect impresses at Futures Game
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- With a fastball that tops out at over 100 mph, the Atlanta Braves have known right-hander Jose Capellan has the strongest arm in the organization for a while now.
|Jose Capellan is starting at Double-A, but his future might be in the bullpen. (Harry How/Getty Images)
On Sunday in the All-Star Futures Game at Minute Maid Park, he let the U.S and the rest of the world know.
In the fourth inning, pitching for the World team, Capellan consistently hit 95 mph and higher on his way to striking out two of the four batters he faced. The lone hit came on a single up the middle by Mets third base prospect David Wright on a 99 mph fastball -- the third batter he faced. Dodgers catching prospect Koyie Hill flied out to center field for the final out of the inning.
"It was a great time," Capellan, 23, said. "This is one of those experiences you tell your kids and your kids' kids about. I'll never forget it."
Among the strikeout victims were highly touted prospects Dallas McPherson from Anaheim and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. After a steady dose of fastballs to Fielder, Capellan struck him out with an 83 mph curve.
"Right now, I am working on throwing a changeup and a curve," Capellan said. "I can throw a slider and a fast change. I know that Major League hitters can catch up to a fastball if you keep throwing it over and over, so that's why I am working on other pitches."
Capellan knows a thing or two about work.
He injured his elbow in rookie ball in 2001 and missed the entire 2002 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Upon his return in 2003, he posted a 3.80 ERA in 47 innings.
"I worked a year and half after the surgery," he said. "It was not easy, but I did it. That could be where my power comes from, the work after Tommy John. I know my arm feels good and it feels a lot better than it did. I have the same control, but now the ball moves faster."
Capellan almost made the big league club out of Spring Training, but started the 2004 season with Myrtle Beach in high Class A. He posted a 1.94 ERA in 46 1/3 innings and won his final four starts before being called up to Double-A Greenville in May.
For the season, he is 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA, 70 hits allowed and 105 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings. He has one complete game, but his stuff could make him better suited for a role in the bullpen.
"I have hit 100 or 102 a few times and I can do it, but I don't do it consistently," he said. "I think I could be a good reliever if I have to."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.