James Kaprielian, the Yankees' first-round pick in last year's MLB Draft, has impressed the team in his first spring training and has opened the possibility of him making the majors this season.
The Yankees drafted Kaprielian, a starting pitcher out of UCLA, with the 16th overall pick in last year's draft, and he is already the 87th-best prospect in baseball, according to ESPN's Keith Law.
"He's an impressive kid," pitching coach Larry Rothschild told NJ.com's Brendan Kuty. "He's as advertised. But he hasn't played very long. He just instinctively has a really good understanding of the game and from what I've seen on tape and what I've seen, pretty good command of what he's doing and he has an idea of what he needs to do and I think he'll put it out there when the games start."
Kaprielian, 21, went 10-4 with a 2.03 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) with the Bruins last year, and went 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 1/3 innings in the Yankees' farm system last year.
GM Brian Cashman compared Kaprielian to the upcoming of Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, who quickly progressed through the minors and made it to the majors in 2007.
"Hopefully James could be one of those guys," Cashman said. "It's less realistic [that Kaprielian can make the majors this year]. It doesn't mean it's not possible. You can't ever deny anybody that has the ability to impact and help you win games now."
Manager Joe Girardi was impressed with Kaprielian's composure in spring training so far, watching his bullpen session on Saturday.
"He seemed very mature on the mound," Girardi said. "To me, it looked like a guy that felt like he belonged.
Kaprielian said he is focused on working his consistency in camp and this season.
"I have a goal to be able to learn and take everything in and gain the respect of my peers around here, the coaching staff, the organization and my teammates," Kaprielian said. "If I'm fortunate one day to become teammates with these guys, they'll have that trust in me."