Though the Milwaukee Brewers have gotten off to a tough start to the 2015 season, the franchise has received some saddening news today. Former Brewers’ right hander and top prospect Jose Capellan has been found dead at the age of 34 in his Philadelphia home. According to the ESPN.com report, Capellan was found by his step-father unresponsive in his bed on Tuesday night, dead from an apparent heart attack.
Jose’s wife of 11 years, Patricia, admits that while Capellan didn’t have issues with alcohol or women, he had fallen into an addiction to sleeping medication. “When I got home, the police were already there,” Jose’s widow explained. “They asked me if he used any other medication because there was indications that his heart could not resist anymore. Jose had no love problems or other problems, such as have been speculating on social networks. He didn’t drink alcohol, but had lost control in the use of sleeping pills.”
Besides his wife, Capellan is survived by a daughter from a previous relationship.
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Jose Capellan was signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves in 1998, at the tender age of 17. Wielding a fastball that could hit triple digits, Capellan quickly ascended through the minor league ranks, making his major league debut in Atlanta in 2004. Following that season, the highly touted Capellan was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the package for former Brewers’ closer Dan Kolb.
Capellan arrived in Milwaukee with big expectations, the ones that normally accompany a player that was named as the Brewers #4 prospect and Baseball America‘s #25 overall prospect after the 2004 season. Jose began the 2005 season at AAA Nashville. He posted a 3.87 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched at that level, starting 12 of 36 games, saving 6 others, and striking out 76 batters. Capellan was even better upon his callup to the majors, pitching exclusively in relief for 17 games and giving up just five earned runs in 15.2 innings pitched while posting a 14|5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It appeared that Jose had firmly entrenched himself in the Brewers’ future plans.
Capellan was again in Milwaukee for the 2006 season, finishing second on the team with 61 appearances while leading all Brewers’ relievers with 71.2 innings pitched. While his 4.40 ERA as a reliever might not be an effective total in today’s depressed run-scoring environment, Capellan’s results were actually above league average for pitchers that season. However, there were signs that things might be heading south for the hard throwing righty, including a 4.95 FIP, an average of nearly 4 walks per nine innings, and 11 home runs given up.
Following a poor showing in spring training in 2007, Jose found himself optioned to AAA. Very much dismayed, Capellan demanded a trade and even considered retirement. After appearing in seven games and giving up six runs in 12.0 innings, Jose received his wish, being traded to the Detroit Tigers on July 1st.
Capellan make only 11 more major league appearances following his departure from Milwaukee, pitching in 10 games for Detroit following the 2007 trade and making one appearance for Colorado in 2008. Jose bounced around in the minors for the Rockies, Royals, and Astros until 2010. Following a disastrous stint in the KBO (0-11 record, 9.15 ERA in 2010), Capellan pitched in the Venezuelan and Dominican Winter Leagues, last appearing professionally for the Tigres de Aragua in 2013-14. Jose Capellan finished his MLB career with a 4.89 ERA (93 ERA+, 5.08 FIP) across 99 appearances, covering 123.1 innings pitched. He was valued at -0.2 WAR during the course of his five year major league career.
We at RtB wish Jose Capellan’s family all the best, and implore anyone that is currently battling substance abuse issues to seek the help they need.