Kaprielian could reach Majors this year

Girardi confident in prospect's big league trajectory

Kaprielian could reach Majors this year

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that it's possible top pitching prospect James Kaprielian could be with the Major League club at some point during the 2017 season.

However, Girardi made it clear that Kaprielian, the 16th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, will not be rushed and his innings will be managed while he is in the Minor Leagues.

"I think anything is possible when you put the uniform on," Girardi said. "We've seen guys move really quickly. We saw Joba [Chamberlain] do it. Ian Kennedy was in that mix as well. There was talk about Kaprielian doing it last year."

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Kaprielian started strong in Class A Advanced Tampa this past season and posted a 1.50 ERA in three starts. Then he began experiencing arm trouble, and he was diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain in June that effectively ended his season.

Kaprielian returned to pitch in the Florida Instructional League -- and then to more competitive action in the Arizona Fall League. Girardi said the 22-year-old looked to be in good form during his 10-minute bullpen session on Thursday.

"[He] didn't look like he was holding back at all," Girardi said. "I think for him, that's probably what you're looking at more than anything at this point. Pretty happy with where he's at. I thought his changeup -- the bottom was somewhat falling out of it, which is pretty good. His changeup at times almost acts like a hard splitter, so that was good to see."

Yanks may speed up Kaprielian's path to Majors

Kaprielian will likely start this season in Double-A Trenton, but he could move through the system quickly.

"Were not rushing him," Girardi said. "I'm not trying to put any pressure on him. But if you're doing the job and doing it at a high level, and you move up another level and you're really doing well, you're going to be looked at."

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.