As Sonny Gray continues to thrive in Cincinnati, one of the prospects the Yankees gave up to acquire him from the A’s three years ago is finally set to make his MLB debut.
Oakland announced Tuesday that James Kaprielian had been recalled from their alternate site. The right-hander was called up to replace another right-hander, Jordan Weems, who was put on the 10-day IL with a lat injury.
It’s been a long journey for the 26-year-old, whom the Yankees selected 16th overall out of UCLA in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft.
Kaprielian was seen as one of the organization’s best young arms and got an invite to spring training in 2016, but was soon sidelined by an elbow injury and made just three starts for Class-A Tampa that season.
The elbow issue lingered into next season and Kaprielian underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2017 before he was shipped to the A’s in a package with infielder Jorge Mateo and outfielder Dustin Fowler in exchange for Gray.
The trade has been a bust for both teams, as Gray struggled in The Bronx before he was traded to the Reds prior to the 2019 season. In 41 games — 34 starts — over two seasons with the Yankees, Gray was 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA. Since getting to Cincinnati, Gray, who is 30, went 11-8 with a 2.87 ERA last season and is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA so far in 2020.
Kaprielian has continued to battle arm issues with the A’s. He didn’t appear in a game in 2017 or 2018 and has pitched just 27 games as a pro, covering 97 ⅓ innings.
He got back on the mound last season and finished the year at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Mateo went from Oakland to the Padres last month, but was sidelined with COVID-19. And Fowler struggled in 69 games with the A’s in 2018 before spending all of last year in the minors.
Now Kaprielian gets his chance to make his mark in the majors.