With the sixteenth overall pick in the draft, the Yankees have selected right-hander James Kaprielian out of UCLA. Kaprielian, 21, was projected to fall in the mid-to-late teens, with the Rays being among the teams who were rumored to be interested.
Kaprielian, who was 33-3 with a 0.96 ERA in high school, was drafted by the Mariners in the 40th round of the 2012 draft but decided to attend UCLA instead of going pro. In three seasons with the Bruins, he posted a 17-10 record with a 2.06 ERA, capped off by an excellent junior season in which he was 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA. Kaprielian helped lead UCLA to a national championship in his freshman season as a reliever, and is looking to join fellow Bruins hurlers Trevor Bauer, Gerrit Cole, and Casey Janssen in the major leagues.
Kaprielian is thought of as a safe bet to become at least a mid-rotation starter in the majors, according to MLB.com, due to his ability to locate his fastball and excellent changeup. The 6-foot-4 righty is able to command four pitches (fastball, changeup, slider, curveball) and has strikeout potential at any level despite his lack of overpowering velocity.
For the Yankees, the hope may be that Kaprielian will reach the majors soon, similarly to how Jacob Lindgren was in the majors a year after being drafted last season. The Bombers have Luis Severino and Ian Clarkin as the top pitching prospects in their organization.