James Kaprielian admits he didn’t spend much time focusing on what the Yankees were doing over the course of the offseason.
However, he and the other prospects didn’t have to focus on that since the Yankees opted to sit back on a weak free agent class. The team also refused to trade prospects to get a top of the line starter like Chris Sale.
While the Yankees have a No.1 starter now in Masahiro Tanaka, it’s only a matter of time until Tanaka opts out of his contract at the end of the 2017 season. Not to mention CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are in the final years of their respective contracts.
Kaprielian is so close to the Major Leagues, he could almost taste it. But what does Kaprielian hope to make of his career once he starts playing in the Bronx?
“I want to be a No. 1,” Kaprielian said this week during the Yankees Winter Warmup. “I want to be the guy. I want the ball. I’m a competitor. I want to be the ace. There are a lot of guys in our organization who are like that — and that’s a good thing.”
Kaprielian was the Yankees first round draft pick back in 2015 and there were rumors he could make his Major League debut as early as last season. Instead, he had a flexor tendon strain in his elbow back in April which kept him out for most of the season. Kaprielian is 100% healthy going into Spring Training, especially after a dominant stint in the Arizona Fall League.
The Yankees haven’t done well developing starting pitching; Dellin Betances was supposed to be a starter but failed miserably. As a last ditch effort, they placed him in the bullpen where he thrived. Mariano Rivera also struggled as a starter before he became the most dominant closer of all time.
They’re hoping Kaprielian is the first of many successful pitchers in the Yankees organization to work his way through the Major Leagues.
“It’s a group of us that look at each other and push each other,” Kaprielian said..