Last year, the Yankees drafted Jacob Lindgren with their first pick on MLB Draft night. Tonight, the Yankees went a familiar route and drafted a pitcher in college, with hopes like Lindgren, he’ll make a fast-track to the Majors.
With the 16th overall pick, the Yankees selected RHP James Kaprielian from UCLA in California. Here’s a scouting report on Kaprielian, and what we can expect from the young right hander as he begins his road to the show.
Kaprielian could have factored into the top two rounds of the 2012 Draft as a California high schooler, but he lasted until the Mariners took him in the 40th round because he was set on attending UCLA. He was one of the Bruins’ top relievers on their 2013 College World Series championship team — he didn’t allow a hit in six postseason appearances — then became their No. 1 starter and led the Pacific-12 Conference in strikeouts (108 in 106 innings) as a sophomore. He didn’t have the best stuff in a U.S. collegiate national team rotation that included Louisville’s Kyle Funkhouser and Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer last summer, but Kaprielian did have the best “pitchability” and is the safest bet to become a mid-rotation starter in the big leagues. He works with an 89-92 mph fastball as a starter, and he’s effective at that velocity because he can locate it. Kaprielian’s best pitch is his changeup, and he also has a solid slider and a curveball to give batters a different look. With his command and strong frame, he’s built to be a starter.