On his road to recovery, New York Yankees’ prospect James Kaprielian continues to illustrate that he’s on a fast yet authoritative track.
In just his firs seven minor league games the 22-year old maintained a 1.55 earned run average while striking out 36 batters but unfortunately saw his assuring first year in professional baseball cut short with an elbow flexor strain.
Now, after avoiding surgery, Kaprielian is back, healthy, and currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League and the Yankees’ organization couldn’t be happier with everything they’re seeing.
Entering Thursday’s start against the Peoria Javelinas, the righty owned a 3.93 across 18.1 innings of work while striking out 17 batters.
In his start, however, he surrendered five earned runs in 4.1 innings while striking out five but yielding a home run to Cincinnati Reds’ prospect Brandon Dixon.
Throw the results out the window.
According to Mark Feinsand of NY Daily News, Kaprielian’s fastball velocity — a major concern of his coming off his elbow injury — sat at 94-96 mph and reached as high as 97 mph.
If Kaprielian can end the year healthy and provide some buzz in Spring Training, he may be able to be considered a long shot for the 2017 rotation and even a genuine option for the unit as soon as 2018.
There are a few things to look out for this upcoming season. First and foremost, can he make it through the AFL and Spring Training healthy?
If so, you have to keep a close eye on if he comes with the same effectiveness he had before going down so far, the slight sink to his fastball still exists and the velocity is clearly there.
If his health works out in the Yankees’ favor, there is some assumption that Kaprielian can have a Chris Sale-like path to the Bronx. Sale pitched in a mere 12 games in the minors and was called up in the same year in which he was drafted.
Of course, an injury crippled those chances, but thanks to the lack of depth and surplus of question marks behind Masahiro Tanaka, don’t be surprised to see the most major league ready hurler on the farm to make his debut as soon as this upcoming season.
OTHER AFL NOTES:
- After going 3-for-4 with a run scored, shortstop/second base prospect Gleyber Torres owns a .392/.516/.667 slash line with 34 total bases in 15 games.