Thursday, March 24, 2016

Watch out for James Kaprielian

There are many examples of the New York Yankees going against what the fans think they should do and it all working out in the end. Sure there are examples and debates to be made for both sides but at the end of the day we as fans will never have the access or information that the Yankees GM and front office does. It is what they do with it that separates New York from the rest of the league sometimes though, for better or worse, and this was no more evident than in the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft. Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, caught much flak for his two first round picks last season in Kyle Holder and James Kaprielian from the fans but at least one of them is making Cashman and company look awfully smart right about now.

When Holder was drafted he was drafted as a raw talent despite the fact that he was a college shortstop. Holder had not committed himself to baseball full-time until a season before being drafted so while his defense at short is considered to be elite and MLB ready his bat leaves much to be desired. While Holder is probably at least two seasons away we may see the MLB debut of Kaprielian this season, and the rest of the league better watch out.

Kaprielian was drafted, we thought anyway including myself, because he was a polished college arm that was considered to be MLB ready straight out of the June draft. What I don’t think any of us saw coming was Kaprielian’s uptick in velocity and absolutely dominating stuff in the minor leagues. Kaprielian came out of the draft with a ceiling of a #3 starter but if Kaprielian can pitch the way he has been pitching at the Yankees minor league complex New York may have another future ace on their hands that is ready as soon as the 2016 season.

On Monday Kaprielian started against the Toronto Blue Jays in a minor league game and worked three innings facing 11 batters. Kaprielian did issue a walk and a hit or two but he managed to strike out seven of the 11 batters he faced with a dominating fastball and devastating slider. Kaprielian was clocked anywhere from 94-97 MPH with the fastball while his slider was coming in at 85-87 MPH.

Kaprielian is expected to skip Low-A Charleston and head straight to High-A Tampa to start the season with his eye on the ultimate prize, the Bronx, before the end of the 2016 season. Kaprielian seems ready and the New York Yankees are absolutely ready to have another stud starter in their rotation, is the rest of the league ready for it? I hope not.

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