The Yankees are slated to have a competition for the Yankees bullpen and although it’s unlikely that we’ll see James Kaprielian in pinstripes to begin the 2016 season, the Yankees didn’t rule out Kaprielian could reach the majors at some capacity during the year.
“He’s an impressive kid,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said yesterday afternoon. “He’s as advertised. But he hasn’t played very long. He just instinctively has a really good understanding of the game and from what I’ve seen on tape and what I’ve seen, pretty good command of what he’s doing and he has an idea of what he needs to do and I think he’ll put it out there when the games start.”
Brian Cashman recalled a story when he had Billy Eppler–now the GM of the Los Angeles Angels–scout the High-A Tampa team in 2007, and Eppler said he found two pitchers that were better than some of the members in the 2007 rotation. Their names were Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy. Kennedy was hardly given a fair chance by the Yankees before he was traded and for a time it seemed Chamberlain would have been the next big prospect until he failed to transition as a starter. Chamberlain later found success with the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals.
Cashman believes Kaprielian could be in the same league as Chamberlain and Kennedy, and if Kaprielian had the chance, he would help the Yankees win ballgames.
“…Hopefully James could be one of those guys,” Cashman said. “Listen, if somebody is better down (in the minors) than anything we have up here, then we will expedite the process. But to answer directly your question, is it unrealistic? It’s less realistic. It doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You can’t ever deny anybody that has the ability to impact and help you win games now.”