James Kaprielian and Chance Adams
The two right-handed starters, each selected in the 2015 draft, (Kaprielian with the 15th pick in the 1st round — Adams in the 5th round) seem to be on a collision course to both arrive in the Majors at some point in 2017.
Though Kaprielian missed most of last season due to a strained flexor tendon strain, the former UCLA product proved during his brief stint in the Arizona Fall League that he is back on track, regularly reaching 97 mph on the radar gun.
"“I am 100 percent. I am feeling good. I’m feeling strong and ready to go into the season — without limitations. Ready to go. … I want to be the guy. I want to be the ace. There’s a lot of guys in our organization who are like that and I think it’s going to better us. … If we get enough of us pushing each other to be that guy, we’re going to be pretty good.”"
Since the 22-year-old Kaprielian only made three full starts in 2016 for High-A Tampa, it’s likely he’ll begin the new season at Double-A Trenton before moving up the ladder.
As for Adams, his combined 13-1 record with a 2.33 ERA, 0.903 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts in 127.1 innings pitched at two different levels of the minors had him in the conversation of being called up last season. Alas, it never happened, but it does appear the Yankees will give him a legit shot of winning the final big league rotation spot this spring.
Through two full seasons of Minor League ball, the former reliever turned starter has proven to have the arsenal of pitches and competitive makeup to potentially succeed in a big way on the big stage.
"“I learned how to pitch, which is better than just going out there and throwing. I kind of learned how to pitch and did my research on hitters. … I worked on a changeup a lot last year. I had one, but I worked to improve it, so that was probably the most improved pitch.”"