The Oakland Athletics are equipped with many great arms. They’re hoping one of the prospects in the Sonny Gray trade, James Kaprielian will show his potential.
James Kaprielian is an interesting name in the Oakland Athletics organization. He was a key asset in the trade that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees in 2018. He has a ton of potential but has struggled with injuries. Can he get on track and provide value for the A’s?
Kaprielian attended UCLA, he was dominate there compiling a 2.06 ERA in three seasons. He always struck out more batters then innings pitched and showed top of the line stuff. He showed that potential in the Yankees farm system before needing Tommy John surgery.
That injury and other recurring injuries forced him to sit out for two years. In 2019 he made it back and was able to pitch on all three levels of the minors. He had a good season and was able to stay relatively healthy which is a good sign.
Last season for Stockton, Midland and Nashville, Kaprielian was able to pitch in 19 games and compile a 3.18 ERA. He pitched in 68 innings and struck out 75 batters, showing good stuff on his pitches.
Issue was it was his first season back in two years, so he didn’t start many games with the idea of going more then three innings. So he wasn’t stretched out much as a pitcher.
Going forward he projects as a starter, but needs to get time to pitch more innings. That will give Oakland an idea if he is ready to handle it and the injuries are fully behind him. When healthy he has the stuff to be a good pitcher at the Major League level.
The question will always be durability. As he is now 25 years old he’s not going to be a prospect much longer. So Oakland will need to get him through the minors and see if he can make his advancement onto the big league club.
The goal for the 2020 season will be to pitch well at spring training. He will start at AAA in Vegas, get his arm used to more innings. Then if any injury occurs in Oakland he could be the first man up in the rotation or bullpen.
Kaprielian has the potential to be a very good pitcher in the MLB. He will have every opportunity to do it in Oakland. He just needs to show that he’s ready for that and he could end up being the mystery piece that wins the Gray trade.