After six years, Yankees’ 2015 first-round draft pick James Kaprielian will finally make his Yankee Stadium debut. It will not be in pinstripes.
Kaprielian, who is reaching his potential with the Oakland Athletics, is scheduled to start against his former team on Friday.
The 27-year-old was selected by the Yankees 16th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft but was traded to the Oakland A’s in 2017 as part of the Sonny Gray deal.
“I’m excited. I’m not going to lie, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to since the trade happened,” Kaprielian told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It is just another baseball game that we need to go out and win. And I need to do a good job of just controlling my own emotions and doing what I do and putting up zeroes and giving my team a chance to win.”
Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo were packaged along with Kaprielian in exchange for Gray, who struggled in his one-plus season in New York.
“I was shocked, honestly,” said Kaprielian, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery when the trade occurred. “The Yankees drafted me. That was my favorite team growing up, too, so I always felt like a little bit of loyalty, like I wanted to be prideful and represent that organization well.
“You kind of learn that it’s just part of the business and not to take it too personal and stuff. But at the end of the day, we are elite competitors. I want to be the piece that helps be the winning side of the trade. I take pride in that, and I’m all A’s.”
This season, Kaprielian has helped the A’s to a 43-27 record and first place in the AL West. He sits at 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA while striking out 35 batters in six starts. For Kaprielian, he finally gets to pitch in a stadium that he has many of times envisioned playing in.
“I went out there and did a couple of dry runs and envisioned pitching there, for sure,” Kaprielian added. “It’s kind of like walking into the gates of heaven, honestly. It’s pretty nice.”