Earlier this month, the chances of 23-year-old James Kaprielian pitching in a spring training game looked bleak. Brian Cashman stated that the Yankees planned to take it slow with the teams No. 1 pitching prospect, probably limiting him to simulated games all spring. The cautious approach stemmed from an elbow injury that kept him sidelined for most of 2016.
However, Kaprielian has impressed in his bullpen sessions, and Girardi thought he was ready for some Grapefruit League action. That action came Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kap came on in the seventh inning and took over a tie game. He struck out the first batter he faced, then induced a double play from Steve Pearce after walking the second batter of the inning. The hard-throwing righty went back out for the eighth, where he struck out Russell Martin to start the inning.
Kaprielian finished with two scoreless innings pitched, three strikeouts, and one walk with his fastball touching 96 mph on the stadium radar gun. The 2015 first round draft pick also received the win for the Yankees, who ultimately defeated the Blue Jays 11-5.
Shortly after the game, Kaprielian was reassigned to minor league camp, but it will be interesting to see how fast the Yankees move him through the system. He’s likely slated to begin the year at high-A Tampa, but could find himself in Trenton and Scranton soon if he stays healthy.
With a few question marks in the rotation, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kaprielian make a cameo in the Bronx at some point in 2017.