Yankees James Kaprielian Is Like A Racehorse Biting At The Bit

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees will enter the 2017 season with a starting rotation that is built on a wish and a prayer. One pitcher, who is currently on the outside looking in, might just be the remedy. And if you don’t believe it, just ask him.

The Yankees starting five for the upcoming season, with the exception of Mashiro Tanaka, is built mainly on a lot of what ifs and buts. C C Sabathia is an aging star with a lot of heart, Michael Pineda strives for consistency in his free agent year, and Luis Severino is trying to match his head with his talented body. And even Tanaka is susceptible to injury that could further squash the best-laid plans the Yankees have expected.

The Yankees need another raging bull in their rotation. A guy who takes charge and believes in himself and his ability.

But there is a wild card entering the picture who could if allowed the opportunity, change the dynamics of the entire rotation. James Kaprielian is a force to be reckoned with, and he is driven to earn that spot not later, but sooner.

First, let’s get the bona-fides out of the way. In looking at the Yankees Top 20 Prospects, Fox Sports ranked Kaprielian #3 and included this report:

"This may seem like an aggressive ranking for a pitcher with just three starts during the regular season, but after showing he’s once again healthy in the Arizona Fall League, Kap looks ready to take back his mantle as the organization’s top pitching prospect.The club’s 2015 first rounder completely outclassed High-A hitters in April, striking out 22 and walking three in his 18 frames. In the AFL, Kap’s fastball continued in the mid to upper 90’s even after the elbow issue. To compliment the heater, the 22-year-old has three above-average MLB offerings that he mixes well with excellent command."

The Yankees Need A Raging Bull In The Rotation

It sounds like he’s ready. And most importantly, he believes he is ready. An injury slowed down his progress last season, but he remains upbeat as he told George King of the New York Post:

"“I feel like a caged bull, I just want to go out there and compete and be with the guys,’ Right now the plan is what it is and my job is to be a baseball player. I’m not the GM or the pitching coach.’’"

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The Yankees need a raging bull in their rotation. A guy who takes charge and believes in himself and his ability. Tanaka and Sabathia have it, but what about the rest? Do Pineda and Severino fit the bill?

The 2017 season is destined to separate the men from the boys. And along with Kaprielian, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, Chad Green, and others will figure prominently in how the rotation looks in August, or certainly in 2018.

Regardless of what’s burning inside him, Kaprielian appears to be buying into the cautious approach the Yankees are taking when he told the Post:

"“It’s early right now, I think that’s the biggest thing and that comes from talking to the older guys,’’ Kaprielian said. “I was talking to CC [Sabathia] and he just told me, ‘It’s early right now. You don’t need to worry about the season too much. Take it slow, take it one day at a time. Take care of what you have to take care of and you’re going to be ready in no time.’ ”"

Next: It's Beginning To Look A Little Crowded Around Here

Easy to say, hard to do. But that’s precisely why this season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and mysterious seasons the Yankees have had in a good long while.