Patrick Teale

James Kaprielian once again looked like a big leaguer in Spring Training action on Tuesday.

TAMPA, FL -- In this edition of the Yankees Minor League Notebook [YMLN}, top pitching prospect James Kaprielian proved exactly why he is unanimously considered the top arm in the system by overpowering batters in Tuesday's intrasquad action on 'camp day'.

  • Right-hander James Kaprielian [in the photo above] was overpowering in every sense of the term against the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday.  In fact, it wasn't really fair as he made quick work of the young hitters.  Sitting mostly in the 93-95 mph range [although averaging closer to 95 mph], he struck out seven batters in three official innings.  Scheduled to go just three innings, he was asked to stay out on the mound in his second inning to get more work in since he had only thrown a handful of pitches to the first three batters he faced that inning.  All of it -- the command, the changeup, the slider -- was beyond impressive as he pitched three scoreless/perfect innings.  Just like a year ago, he looks like a man among boys in minor league Spring Training camp. 

  • Charleston shortstop Hoy Jun Park didn't fare well against Kaprielian [0-2, K] but he did have the hardest hit ball against him, scorching a liner directly to Tampa first baseman Drew Bridges in his second at-bat.  He also later drove home the game's only run with an RBI single off right-hander Adonis Rosa [3 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 K] to give the RiverDogs a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Yankees.

Charleston Starting Lineup: Hoy Jun Park, Wilkerman, Estevan Florial, Nelson Gomez, Isaiah Gilliam, Oswaldo Cabrera, Luis Martinez, Miguel Flames, and Aaron Bossi.

Tampa Starting Lineup: Kyle Holder, Jorge Mateo, Tito Polo, Trey Amburgey, Nick Solak, Carlos Gallardo, Mandy Alvarez, Drew Bridges, Joe Burton, and Bryan Emery.

  • Nick Green, one of the other pitchers included in the Carlos Beltran trade last year, looked nearly as impressive as Kaprielian on Tuesday.  While he sat mostly in the 90-94 mph range on the afternoon, it was his downright nasty curveball that baffled hitters all game long.  He struck out six batters in his scheduled three innings of work -- all scoreless -- but like Kaprielian was asked to stay out on the mound for two more batters in his second inning since he had not gotten all of his work in, he was that efficient.

  • Perhaps the most consistent and best at-bats of the game were turned in by Tampa Yankees third baseman Mandy Alvarez [1-2].  He smoked a hard-hit single to right-centerfield in his first at-bat off Dillon Tate and later smoked an absolute laser to the second baseman off of Nick Green.  Physically he looks great too as he is noticeably stronger than his debut season last year.

  • Dillon Tate, the headliner in the Carlos Beltran trade, had moments of downright nastiness but also showed signs of some of the inconsistencies that plagued him last season too.  Sitting mostly 91-93 mph, his command was inconsistent and it took him a little while to get his rhythm going but once he got going he started to roll.  He pitched three scoreless innings and allowed just one hit on the day [to Trey Amburgey], and he struck out four so the final line was great but it does disguise some command issues earlier in the outing.  Still, he retired seven of the last eight batters he faced and the slider, which was out the zone mostly and sitting mostly 81-82 mph in the first inning, began flashing its plus potential with some power 85 mph sliders by the third inning.  The pitcher that ended Tuesday's outing is the one the Yankees are hoping to see more of in 2017.

  • The Yankees played three intrasquad games at the minor league complex on Tuesday and on the back field right-hander Luis Medina reportedly turned heads in his outing, sitting 95-98 mph with a killer curveball. 

  • Jorge Mateo [0-3, 2 K's] played centerfield in Tuesday's intrasquad game and had a flawless defensive debut.  Of course, playing behind Kaprielian it's not like he had a whole ton of chances either.

  • Oswaldo Cabrera looked good again on Tuesday.  He went 1-2 with an infield single to the hole between shortstop and third base, and the one out he made was a laser shot right to Mateo in fairly deep center.

  • Donny Sands, who reportedly stayed in Tampa all offseason to work on his defensive game, has shown up in camp in noticeably great shape.  He appears to have put on a solid ten to fifteen pounds of excellent weight, and looks strong in all the right place. 

  • Outfielder Estevan Florial also physically looks good and strong too, and he chipped in with three very good plate appearances, going 1-2 with a walk and even grounding out sharply.  And his single, a hard liner to left-center, is the kind of opposite field hitting he and the Yankees have been working on.  However, once on base Florial is still learning the nuances of reading pitchers' moves better.  He got picked off by Adonis Rosa [who admittedly does have one of the better pickoff moves among right-handers] and later got caught stealing second base.

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