The Oakland A’s will need someone to step into their top starter role for the 2022 season. Normally, this would not be a concern, with either Sean Manaea or Chris Bassitt taking on that role. The problem is that both of those pitchers, as well as Frankie Montas, are on the trade block, potentially leaving a very large opening at the top of the A’s rotation.
This brings up another issue – the A’s really do not have anyone to fill that role. The pitchers at the upper level of the minors are more middle of the rotation types. Cole Irvin is a solid back of the rotation arm but would be horrendously miscast as the A’s number one starter. As such, James Kaprielian could end up as the A’s nominal ace for 2022 by default.
James Kaprielian may be Oakland A’s new ace
Kaprielian had been expected to be a top of the rotation arm when he was taken with the 16th overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Yankees. However, injuries and the pandemic shortened 2020 campaign slowed his development.
At 27 years old last season, he was finally given a chance to show what he could do at the major league level. Kaprielian posted a solid 4.07 ERA and a 1.223 WHiP over his 119.1 innings, striking out 123 batters with 41 walks. He had a solid rookie campaign, showing signs that he can be a piece of the future for the A’s.
The problem is that he no longer appears to be a future ace. That is not to say that Kaprielian cannot be a solid major league arm; it is just that his ceiling is not as high as it had been in the past.
But that may not stop the A’s from putting Kaprielian into that role. He could get a chance to prove that he is still capable of handling that top of the rotation spot, living up to the promise that made him such a valued prospect all those years before.
James Kaprielian was expected to be a top of the rotation starter. He may get that chance with the Oakland A’s by default.