James Kaprielian

James Douglas Kaprielian (/kəˈprɪl.i.ən/; born March 2, 1994) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). He attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he played college baseball for the UCLA Bruins, and was drafted by the New York Yankees with the 16th pick in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft.

James Kaprielian
Kaprielian with the UCLA Bruins in 2015
Oakland Athletics – No. 32
Born: (1994-03-02) March 2, 1994
Laguna Hills, California, U.S.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
August 16, 2020, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Win–loss record13–14
Earned run average4.20

Amateur career

Kaprielian attended Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine, California. During his career he went 33–3 with a 0.96 earned run average (ERA) and 250 strikeouts.[1] He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 40th round of the 2012 MLB draft. He did not sign with the Mariners and enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to play college baseball for the UCLA Bruins.[2][3] As a freshman in 2013, Kaprielian appeared in 34 games as a relief pitcher, recording a 1.55 ERA with 53 strikeouts.[4] In 2013, he played collegiate summer baseball in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, and was named a league all-star.[5][6] As a sophomore, he was converted into a starter. He started 15 games, going 7–6 with a 2.29 ERA and 108 strikeouts.[7]

On May 15, 2015, Kaprielian combined with David Berg for the first no-hitter in UCLA history. Kaprielian pitched the first nine innings and Berg pitched the tenth inning to complete the no-hitter.[8]

Professional career

New York Yankees

Kaprielian was considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 MLB draft, and was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round, with the 16th overall selection.[9] He signed with the Yankees, receiving a $2.65 million signing bonus,[10] and spent his first professional season with both the GCL Yankees and Staten Island Yankees, posting a combined 0–1 record and 3.97 ERA in 11+13 total innings between both teams.[11]

Kaprielian received a non-roster invitation to spring training in 2016.[12][13] He began the season with the Tampa Yankees,[14] but only played in three games due to an elbow injury.

In 2017, Kaprielian's elbow discomfort began to persist, and he began the season on the disabled list. On April 13, 2017, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament, putting him away for the year.[15]

Oakland Athletics

On July 31, 2017, the Yankees traded Kaprielian to the Oakland Athletics, along with fellow prospects Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler, for Sonny Gray.[16] The Athletics added him to their 40-man roster after the 2018 season.[17] Kaprielian made his debut with the High-A Stockton Ports on May 19, 2019. He accumulated a 4.46 ERA in 36+13 innings with a 43:8 K-to-BB ratio before the Athletics promoted him to the Double-A Midland RockHounds on July 23.[18]

On August 16, 2020, Kaprielian made his MLB debut with two innings against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, Brandon Crawford, and struck out one.[19] He spent most of the season at the Athletics' alternate training site in San Jose and only pitched in two games of mop-up duty with the Athletics, allowing three runs in 3+23 innings of work.

On May 12, 2021, injuries in the rotation led to Kaprielian receiving a call-up to make his first MLB start at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. With his father and uncle in attendance, Kaprielian was rewarded with the win, allowing one run in five innings with six strikeouts in a 4–1 victory for the Athletics.[20] On July 27, Kaprielian collected his first career base hit, notching a single against San Diego Padres pitcher Chris Paddack.[21] Kaprielian finished the 2021 season with an 8–5 record, a 4.07 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 119+13 innings.

Kaprielian was kept out of the start of the 2022 season with an injury. He made his season debut on May 1, 2022 against the Cleveland Guardians.

Personal life

Kaprielian's mother, Barbara Kaprielian, died of breast cancer in 2014 after her 14-year battle.[22]

Kaprielian is of Armenian descent.[23]


  1. "All-city MVP Kaprielian a pitcher to remember". The Orange County Register. June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  2. Sondheimer, Eric (May 10, 2012). "UCLA gets Beckman pitcher James Kaprielian to switch loyalties". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  3. "Kaprielian adjusting to new role with UCLA". The Orange County Register. April 5, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  4. "Coach's eyes were on UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian". The Orange County Register. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  5. "Eastern Division Playoffs: Chatham advances; Orleans stays alive". capecodbaseball.org. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  6. "#11 James Kaprielian". pointstreak.com. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  7. Los Angeles Times (February 12, 2015). "College baseball preview: UCLA seeks to rebound from last year". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  8. "James Kaprielian and David Berg Combine for First UCLA No-Hitter". uclabruins.com. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  9. "Yankees draft UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian with 16th pick". Newsday. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  10. Martin, Dan (July 15, 2015). "Yankees go over slot to sign first-rounder James Kaprielian". New York Post.
  11. "James Kaprielian Stats, Highlights, Bio – MiLB.com Stats – The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  12. "Why the name James Kaprielian represents the new Yankee way". New York Post. March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  13. "New York Yankees grooming pitcher Kaprielian as leader – MiLB.com News – The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  14. "James Kaprielian shines in minor league season debut". lohud.com. April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  15. Trezza, Joe. "Surgery set for Yanks prospect James Kaprielian". MLB. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  16. Trezza, Joe (July 31, 2017). "Yankees get Gray from A's for 3 prospects". MLB.com. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  17. "A's acquire Bucs righty, add 4 to 40-man roster".
  18. "Athletics' James Kaprielian: Moves up to Double-A".
  19. Martin Gallegos (August 16, 2020). "A's romp past Giants for Bay Bridge sweep". MLB.com. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  20. "Athletics vs. Red Sox – Game Recap – May 12, 2021 – ESPN".
  21. "Homers doom A's against Padres, who deal Oakland fourth straight loss". July 28, 2021.
  22. "Educator, Beckman booster Barbara Kaprielian loses cancer fight". The Orange County Register. June 18, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  23. Kolligan, Michael (February 28, 2016). "Yanks' Kaprielian proud of Armenian heritage". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
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