Yankees James Kaprielian Dominant in First Start Since April


New York Yankees top pitching prospect James Kaprielian was dominant in his first start of the Arizona Fall League, despite not having seen official game action since April.

Things could not have gone better for rehabbing Yankees minor league pitcher James Kaprielian in his first career Arizona Fall League start. Even after losing just under six months to an elbow injury, the team’s 2015 first rounder picked up right where he left off, showing almost no rust in the Scottsdale Scorpions home opener, a 6-4 loss to the Salt River Rafters.

Kaprielian pitched three scoreless innings for the Scorpions, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out six. Josh Norris of Baseball America reported that Kaprielian’s fastball was sitting at 95-97 mph, while his slider was 87-90, and curve 83. That is right where his stuff was prior to the injury.

Speaking to Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media earlier in the week, Kaprielian seemed confident that he was inching closer and closer to his pre-injury form.

"It’s getting there definitely. It takes time. Right now I feel all my stuff is going back to where it was and I’m feeling good. I’m feeling sharp, but I’ve got to continue to get better every single day I get the opportunity to touch a ball."

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Obviously it’s easy to read too much into one start, but so far the results back up Kaprielian’s assessment of his progress. Kap went on to tell Miller that his goal is to make it to the Bronx in 2017. While that is less likely now than it seemed a year ago, it is not out of the realm of possibility if he keeps pitching like this.

The Arizona Fall League is usually estimated at Double-A level competition, so if Kaprielian really destroys opposing hitters over the next month, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start next year in the Eastern League, although they will probably give him another quick tuneup with the High-A Tampa Yankees first.

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Three other Yankees made their Arizona Fall League debut in Wednesday’s game. Tyler Wade played second base and went 0-for-3 with a walk, a run, and a steal, 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres knocked an opposite field solo shot off of Artie Lewicki in the fifth, and righty Brody Koerner allowed three walks and three runs in 1.2 innings of work after missing most of the season with an undisclosed injury.