The regular season is less than a month old, but the injuries continue to pile on Yankees’ pitching prospects, with the latest victim being the crown jewel of the farm system, James Kaprielian after an MRI showed inflammation in his pitching elbow during a visit with team physician Dr. Chris Ahmed. The Yankees will place Kaprielian on the minor league disabled list and treat the injury with rest before transferring him to a throwing program.
The 16th overall pick in last year’s draft out of UCLA, Kaprielian was off to a blistering start with the Class-A Tampa Yankees with a 2-1 record, a 1.50 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .136 average first three appearances. Kaprielian tied a career high with nine strikeouts in his most recent outing against the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Entering the season, the Yankees initially hoped that Kaprielian would advance quickly though the system and possibly make his major league debut by the end of the regular season or sometime in 2017. Kaprielian split the 2015 season between the Yankees’ minor affiliates in the Gulf Coast League and Short-Season Staten Island, touching 96 miles per hour with his fastball and led Staten Island to a berth in the NYPL Championship Series.
Kaprielian is the third Yankees’ pitching prospect to suffer a major injury in the last three weeks after Nick Rumbelow and Branden Pinder succumbed to season-ending elbow injuries, with Rumbelow undergoing Tommy John Surgery earlier in the month. The Yankees plan to bring Kaprielian along at a conservative pace as a precaution and expect him to return to the mound later this season.