Tuesday, April 26, 2016

James Kaprielian placed on MiLB DL with elbow inflammation



Yankees' top pitching prospect James Kaprielian landed on the minor league disabled list Monday with inflammation in his right elbow. Kaprielian, who had been pitching for High-A Tampa, was the team's first round pick (16th overall) in last year's amateur draft. The team announced that the injury will be "treated conservatively," and rightly so, considering this type of issue if often the precursor to the dreaded TJ surgery. The plan is to have Kap rest and eventually begin a throwing program, but at the moment the organization declined to offer a timetable for his return.

This is a crushing blow not just because of Kaprielian's prominence as a prospect, but because he had a legitimate chance to step into the rotation in the second half if everything went smoothly. One of the most attractive aspects of Kaprielian as a draft choice was that he's basically a finished product. He was expected by many to receive a brief tuneup at each level on his way up the ladder and reach the big leagues by August assuming there were no obstacles. This injury completely throws that possibility out the window. Even if the inflammation subsides with rest, the best case scenario, he will be treated with kid gloves and likely have a fairly cautious workload.

Even worse, Kaprielian had been far exceeding expectations in his early work as a professional. He's reportedly been sitting in the 97-99 range with his fastball, an insane jump from the 88-92 offering he had in college. In his first three starts, he's struck out 22 and walked just three in 18 innings of work, allowing just three earned runs.

Elbow issues have become something of an epidemic among Yankees' farmhands in the early going, with Jacob Lindgren, Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder, Domingo German, and Ty Hensley among those dealing with one.

Image Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America

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