Beckman baseball coach Kevin Lavalle, who coached former New York Yankee James Kaprielian at the high school in Irvine, said he has “a lot of mixed emotions,” about his former star pitcher being traded to the Oakland A’s on Monday, July 31.
“In one way you’re super happy for him to go to an organization that is known for advancing their pitchers rapidly up through the minor league ranks, but you’re also sad whenever anyone is traded,” Lavalle said Monday. “I know that it’s a business, and the Yankees are just trying to win a World Series, and giving up James was difficult for them because they love everything that he brings.”
The Yankees received starting pitcher Sonny Gray from the Athletics in exchange for Kaprielian, shortstop-outfielder Jorge Mateo and outfielder Dustin Fowler, according to ESPN.com and other news agencies.
Kaprielian, 23, starred at UCLA and was the Yankees first round pick in 2015 and 16th overall. He received a $2.65 million signing bonus. Kaprielian, who is yet to pitch in the majors, is currently rehabilitating after having Tommy John surgery in April. Kaprielian pitched with the Yankees Class-A team in 2016 before experiencing elbow problems.
“James is in the process of getting healthy, and the next time he steps on a mound I don’t think he’ll care what jersey he’s wearing,” Lavalle said.
Kaprielian was selected All-Pac-12 in 2014 and 2015. Kaprielian went 10-4 with a 2.03 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) in 2015. Kaprielian led the conference in wins and strikeouts (114), while ranking third in ERA. He wound up his three years at UCLA fifth in career ERA (2.06) and sixth in career strikeouts (275) in UCLA history.
He made history in another way on May 15, when he threw nine no-hit innings, striking out a season-high 11 batters, to combine with David Berg for a 10-inning no-hitter. The no-hitter was the first in UCLA history.
In recognition, Kaprielian was awarded with his second career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week award and first National Player of the Week awards from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and…