Former major league pitcher Jose Capellan died at his home in Philadelphia on Tuesday night of unknown causes. He was 34.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” Rome Braves general manager Mike Dunn said of Capellan. “He was a strong and talented pitcher, who worked hard every day. We knew back then he had all the tools to reach the big leagues.”
Capellan was signed as an amateur free agent out the Dominican Republic by the Atlanta Braves in 1998, at the age of 17, and when the new millennium began he began his rapid rise through the Braves’ minor league system.
After starting the 2003 season with Atlanta’s rookie-league team in Florida, Capellan was soon promoted to Rome where he immediately became a factor in leading the team to the South Atlantic League title in its inaugural campaign.
He pitched in 14 games – he started in 12 of them – and compiled a 3.80 ERA, striking out 32 batters in 47.1 innings. In 2004, Capellan pitched at Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A while posting a combined 14–5 mark with a 2.80 ERA and eventually joined the Atlanta Braves after a September call-up in 2004, compiling a 0–1 record with an 11.25 ERA in eight innings pitched.
Capellan’s funeral will be held next week in his hometown, Cotuí, in the northern region of the Dominican Republic