I’ve been a bit lax in selecting a Player Of The Series recently; however there was an easy choice from the three-game series against Seattle.
James Kaprielian’s journey to the Big Leagues has been well-documented, but the simple version is that his dream start of being a First Round pick by the New York Yankees in 2015 became a nightmare with a string of injuries limiting him to only 27 appearances in the Minor Leagues between 2015 and 2019.
He made a couple of appearances out of the bullpen last season with the A’s and came into 2021 as an outside candidate for the fifth starter role. Although he missed out on making the Opening Day roster, Kap had just one start with the Aviators at Triple-A before being brought back up and the three starts since has shown why the A’s faith in him has been well-placed.
There’s been a nice progression for him across those three starts as well. He got through five innings against the Red Sox pitching out of a few jams, then made it into the sixth inning in his start against the Angels before shutting down Seattle over seven innings yesterday.
Kap didn’t quite have a put-away pitch working against the Mariners in the way we saw him carve up the Angels for nine strike-outs previously, but that’s no concern when you’re only allowing two hits and two walks over seven frames. With the A’s having lost the first two games of the series, it was an impressive contribution from the rookie to help us rescue a win from the three-game set.
It’s a great reward for all the hard work he has put into his career over the past six years, fighting through doubts as to whether his body would let him achieve what he believed he was capable of.
The ace-type promise that made him a First Rounder in 2015 probably is now in the rear-view mirror, but if Kaprielian can be a consistent back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, maybe even more than that at times, then that would be something to be proud of for him and his family and a nice return for the A’s from an otherwise disappointing haul from the Sonny Gray trade in 2017.