WESTWOOD—On June 8, UCLA junior James Kaprielian was picked up by the New York Yankees in the first round of the draft.
Kaprielian, a right-handed pitcher, was picked 16th—the Yankee’s first pick of the draft. The pick is especially significant because it is the highest draft card the Yankees have held since 2005, when they drafted shortstop C.J. Henry on the 17th pick. 2005 aside, the Yankees have picked no earlier than 20th since 1993, when they drafted fellow righty pitcher Matt Drews. Drews never made it past the minor leagues.
The Yankees have higher hopes for Kaprielian. His college record certainly inspires confidence.
In the 2015 season, Kaprielian lead the Pacific-12 Conference with 10 recorded wins to 4 losses in 17 appearances. In 16 of those, he served as the starting pitcher. He lasted at least six innings in 12 of those starts, and lasted seven or more in seven. In three starts, he recorded double-digit strikeouts.
Overall, his earned run average, or ERA, was 2.03. His career ERA is 2.06—UCLA’s all-time fifth career ERA. The lowest professional career ERA is 1.82, a record set by Chicago White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh.
Kaprielian also led the Pac-12 in strikeouts, with 114 over the course of 106.2 innings. With a career total of 275, he placed sixth all-time in UCLA career strikeouts.
On May 15, Kaprielian and David Berg pitched the first no-hitter in UCLA’s recorded history against the Arizona Wildcats at the Jackie Robinson Stadium. Kaprielian threw nine of the ten innings, striking out 11, while Berg closed out the game. More details about Kaprielian’s statistics can be found on his UCLA Bruins biography.
As a college junior, Kaprielian will most likely make it to the major leagues sooner than a high school senior would, but he will still need to work his way up from the minor leagues.