James Kaprielian seemingly had a golden opportunity in front of him heading into the 2022 season. With the Oakland A’s having already traded Chris Bassitt, and Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas possibly on the move as well, there would appear to be a void atop the rotation. The A’s will be needing someone to step up and take on that role as a top of the rotation arm.
That is a role that Kaprielian had once been expected to fill. A consensus top 100 prospect prior to the 2017 season, his minor league career had been derailed due to injury and the pandemic. While he saw time with the A’s in 2020, he struggled in those outings.
James Kaprielian missing golden opportunity
That was not the case last year. Kaprielian established himself as a solid option in the A’s rotation, posting a 4.07 ERA and a 1.223 WHiP in his 119.1 innings, striking out 123 batters with 41 walks. He was, essentially, a league average pitcher and a respectable enough piece going forward.
It was certainly a strong rookie campaign to build on. That showing led to high hopes for Kaprielian heading into the 2022 season, especially due to the questions about the A’s rotation moving forward. However, he is behind due to irritation in his AC joint, making it likely that he will make his 2022 debut towards the end of April.
Although his spot in the A’s rotation appears to be safe, this is also a missed opportunity. Kaprielian could have cemented his place as an option atop their rotation this season with a strong spring training.
Instead, he will have to make that impression in approximately another month. By that point in time, Manaea and Montas could well be elsewhere, leaving the A’s to need other options in the rotation. Kaprielian will still get his chances, but he will be behind the other possible options at the start of the year.
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James Kaprielian is set to play an important part in the Oakland A’s rotation. He is just missing his chance to establish his role early in the season.