James Kaprielian was supposed to climb through the ranks last season on his way to the Bronx. However, a flexor-tendon injury to his pitching elbow sidelined him for most of 2016. Now healthy and ready to continue his trajectory to the Bronx, the Yankees are planning on taking a cautious approach with their 2015 first-round pick.
Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that it’s “more than possible” Kaprielian only pitches in simulated games this spring. “We just wanted to take a slow process here despite him being healthy,” Cashman said, according to Mike Mazzeo of the Daily News.
This is obviously the right plan here. Although Kaprielian was likely ticketed to help out at the major league level last year, it’s best to ease him back into the grind of a season instead of letting him go full-bore in spring training. He was invited to big league camp this spring after agreeing to pitch in the Arizona Fall League and Instructional League last fall.
Kaprielian will likely begin 2017 at high-A Tampa again, which is where he pitched last year prior to getting hurt. In three games started for the Tampa Yankees, he went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. If he stays healthy, there’s no reason for him not to shoot through the Yankees’ system this year.
On another note, it’s Kap’s birthday today. We at Bronx Pinstripes would like to wish James a very happy 23rd birthday!