Across the Minor Leagues, Thursday means Opening Day. For James Kaprielian, it will be anything but.MLB.com's No. 56 overall prospect will begin 2017 on the disabled list due to pain in his right pitching elbow, the Yankees announced Thursday. He will undergo both an MRI and a dye contrast MRI
Across the Minor Leagues, Thursday means Opening Day. For James Kaprielian, it will be anything but.
MLB.com's No. 56 overall prospect will begin 2017 on the disabled list due to pain in his right pitching elbow, the Yankees announced Thursday. He will undergo both an MRI and a dye contrast MRI to discover if anything structural is causing the issue. The organization did not provide a timetable for his return, other than to say further updates will come "once imaging and doctor evaluations are complete."
Kaprielian was set to begin this campaign with Class A Advanced Tampa. He made three starts at that level last year, posting a 1.50 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 18 innings, before being placed on the DL on April 26 with a right elbow flexor strain that knocked him out for the rest of the 2016 season.
The 23-year-old right-hander returned to the mound in the Arizona Fall League, where he made seven starts and notched a 4.33 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 27 frames. He showed four above-average offerings in his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, and it was that mix that caused him to surge in prospect rankings over the winter. The Yankees also had high hopes after what they had seen in the AFL.
"He showed he was healthy," pitching coordinator Danny Borrell told MiLB.com last month. "He showed he could pitch every sixth day, every fifth day out there. That was the biggest thing for him was just trying to answer the bell. He did that, finished off going into the fifth inning and throwing 60-plus pitches. So he did everything we needed him to do."
The Yankees invited Kaprielian -- a first-round pick in 2015 out of UCLA -- to his first Major League Spring Training camp and gave him one two-inning appearance on March 16, during which he fanned two and walked one without giving up a hit.
Without Kaprielian in the rotation to begin 2017, No. 14 Yankees prospect Domingo Acevedo becomes the most notable hurler on the Tampa roster. No. 5 prospect Jorge Mateo also returns to the Florida State League as the club's standout infielder.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.