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James Kaprielian with the Tampa Yankees (©Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)

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Solidifying the Major League Rotation

It’s no secret that the Yankees front office placed a risky bet by standing pat on their 2015 pitching rotation. The season is a long grind and while the potential is there for a top of the league starting five, so is the potential for a disaster. Clearly they took a calculated risk, but there are a few pitchers on the way that could join Luis Severino to form a young nucleus and solidify the staff into the future.

On the fast track

James Kaprielian

The Yankees selected Kaprielian out of UCLA, as their first round pick in the 2015. Many looked at the pick as a safe choice with high major league probability and that was exactly what they have received so far. When looking for a quick mover you look for a quality repertoire, maturity, polish, work ethic and size. Kaprielian checks off all of those boxes. Off to a great start for Advanced-A affiliate Tampa, look for him to face the challenge of Double-A as a member of the Trenton Thunder in short order.

Bouncing back

Ian Clarkin

Clarkin was drafted out of high school in 2013, as a lefty with huge upside. After a solid 2014 season (3.12 ERA, 9.0 K/9,) elbow inflammation forced the team to shut him down for most of 2015, costing him important development time.  A lefty with four pitches, he generates ground balls and is exactly the type of pitcher that would suit Yankee Stadium for years to come. Clarkin has returned with a clean bill of health in 2016 and has started the season as a part of Advanced-A Tampa’s staff, looking to sharpen his stuff. It’s not out of the question that Clarkin could face the Double-A test, before the 2016 is through.

Big upside

Domingo Acevedo

Standing at an imposing 6’7” tall, the big righty possesses a fastball as big as his stature.  Acevedo broke out last season using his blazing triple digit fastball, plus changeup and slider to dominate opposing New York-Penn League batters.  No question, he is a high-end talent with frontline stuff. The challenge for Acevedo is the same that many tall pitchers face and that is consistently repeating his mechanics. He’s currently assigned to Single-A affiliate Charleston where he will work to develop his slider and mechanics. Acevedo should arrive in Tampa by season’s end.

Looking further ahead

Drew Finley

California is known as a baseball hot bed and has been a known favorite area of the Yankees amateur scouting department throughout the years. Finley won’t light up radar guns, but he’s no slouch either. He brings pitch ability and three solid pitches to the table including a fastball, curveball and a changeup. After pitching in Pulaski for manager Tony Franklin’s staff in 2015, Finley will likely begin the season with Class-A Short Season Staten Island.

With the astronomical costs of acquiring pitching on the free agent market, developing from within is key. With pitchers like Kaprielian on the way, the Yankees are set to reap the rewards of youth, upside and further payroll flexibility.

 

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