After numerous setbacks, James Kaprielian is finally ready to make his major league debut for the Oakland A’s.
It was not supposed to take this long for James Kaprielian to reach the majors. He was a first round pick in 2015, the type of pitcher that was expected to climb through the minor league ranks quickly. A consensus top 100 prospect prior to 2017, Kaprielian was expected to be a future top of the rotation arm for the Yankees.
Instead, injuries and a trade to the Oakland A’s delayed that journey. But now, at long last, an injury to Jordan Weems has opened a spot on the roster, allowing Kaprielian to make his long awaited debut.
The Yankees had planned to be cautious with Kaprielian, as he threw just 11.1 innings after being drafted. However, that would come to naught, as he missed most of 2016 due to elbow issues. Those problems resurfaced again in 2017, leading to Tommy John surgery, the recovery of which sidelined him for the entirety of 2018 as well.
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Finally healthy again in 2019, the A’s were nonetheless cautious with his return to the mound. While he did reach AAA, he threw a total of 68 innings last season, albeit with excellent results. He posted a combined 3.18 ERA and a 1.108 WHiP, striking out 75 batters with just 16 walks. Considering that he had missed most of the previous three years, those were impressive results.
Added to the A’s alternative training site, it seemed to be a matter of time before Kaprielian got his chance. Unfortunately, it took an injury to another feel good story in Weems to open the spot. For now, he will serve in the same capacity, likely to be the A’s long reliever for the time being.
There are obvious questions as to whether or not he is ready. Despite being drafted back in 2015, Kaprielian has a total of 97.1 innings as a professional. He has impressed during that time, and did not show any ill effects from that time off last year. But pitchers have been dropping at an alarming rate so far this year, making this move even riskier.
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James Kaprielian is finally going to reach the majors. Ready or not, his time has come.