UCLA right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian has been rated the No. 5 prospect on the 2014 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team by Baseball America. The national publication released its prospect rankings of USA Baseball’s 23 summer collegiate players this week.
Kaprielian, who will be a junior this season, went 3-1 with a 1.07 ERA in five starts for the USA Collegiate National Team in the summer. He recorded 29 strikeouts and seven walks in 25.1 innings and limited the opposition to a .149 batting average. A 6-foot-4 product from Tustin, Calif., Kaprielian tied for the team lead in wins (3) and ranked third on the staff with 25.1 innings.
Among the 2014 Collegiate National Team’s top pitchers, Kaprielian helped Team USA finish the summer with an 18-8-2 record, including a 7-1 mark at Honkbal Week in the Netherlands, where the team won the tournament title.
Through two seasons at UCLA, Kaprielian has gone 7-6 with a 2.09 ERA in 49 games, making 15 starts as a sophomore (2014) and 34 relief appearances as a freshman (2013). Serving as the team’s Friday night ace in 2014, Kaprielian earned All-Pac-12 Team honors after going 7-6 with a 2.29 ERA and a Pac-12-leading 108 strikeouts. He limited opposing hitters to a .201 batting average and logged a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.
With Kaprielian’s Pac-12-best 108 strikeouts in 2014, UCLA has had a pitcher lead the conference in total strikeouts in four of the last seven years. In addition to Kaprielian in 2014, right-hander Trevor Bauer led the conference in strikeouts in 2010 and 2011, while left-hander Tim Murphy accomplished that feat in 2008.
As a freshman in 2013, Kaprielian excelled in a pivotal relief role for UCLA en route to the Bruins’ capturing their first-ever NCAA Championship. He recorded two saves, striking out 53 batters in 40.2 innings while posting a 1.55 ERA in 34 relief appearances.