Sunday, February 14, 2016

Meet a Prospect: James Kaprielian

With their first pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees selected RHP James Kaprielian out of UCLA with the 16th overall pick. Kaprielian is said to be the most polished college pitcher in all of the draft and will likely, if healthy and effective, be the quickest moving pitcher in this year’s draft with a possible ETA as soon as late in the 2016 season. Obviously this is all contingent on if he signs but college pitching usually doesn’t have that sign-ability risk with them so it almost seems like a done deal to many fans. Even after Kaprielian signs his contract he is not officially a member of the Yankees family until we say he is, and we say he is with a Meet a Prospect post on the blog, the James Kaprielian Edition.

James Douglas Kaprielian was born on March 2, 1994 in Laguna Hills, California to parents Douglas and Barbara Kaprielian and has one sibling, a sister Alison Kaprielian. Kaprielian is a right handed pitcher that stands 6’4” and weighs in at 200 lbs. fitting the Yankees profile of big framed Southern California pitching to come over to the team. Kaprielian spent his high school years at Beckham High School before attending UCLA for the past three seasons. Kaprielian is a four pitch pitcher who uses an 88-92 MPH fastball to offset his changeup, curveball and slider and keeps batters off balance. His changeup is considered to be his best pitch and his out pitch which has drawn some comparisons to another Yankee draft pick Ian Kennedy. Kennedy flew through the Yankees system after being drafted in 2005 and was in the major leagues by 2006 and Kaprielian may follow a similar path if healthy and effective.

In three seasons with UCLA Kaprielian posted a 17-10 record as a starter and a relief pitcher with a 2.06 ERA. Kaprielian started 31 games for the Bruins while coming out of the bullpen for the other 35 contests. Kaprielian came into the draft riding a hot streak of sorts posting a 2.02 ERA and a 10-4 record in his last 16 starts of his junior season striking out 114 batters in just 106.2 innings pitched. Kaprielian finished sixth all-time in Bruins history in strikeouts with 275 while leading the Pac-12 in wins (10) and K’s (114) in his 2015 season finishing strong before the draft. Kaprielian has thrown the full nine innings three separate times in his career including when he threw nine no-hit innings to combine with teammate David Berg for a ten inning no-hitter, the first in school history.

Kaprielian was not the sexy name coming out of the draft like Ashe Russell or the household name like Dansby Swanson or Brady Aiken but he did nothing to disappoint in his first professional season. Kaprielian saw a uptick in velocity as he dominated the lower levels of the Yankees minor league system. Kaprielian is considered MLB ready now and could be with the big league club as soon as August or September of 2016, 2017 for sure. The future is bright in New York and it starts with James Kaprielian in the starting pitching department. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)