Yankees select three players on first day of 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft

The New York Yankees tonight selected three players over the first two rounds of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The club drafted right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian out of UCLA with their first overall selection (16th overall) in the first round. In the compensation round, the Yankees chose University of San Diego shortstop Kyle Holder with the 30th overall pick. The Yankees used their second-round pick (57th overall) to select left-handed pitcher Jeff Degano out of Indiana State University.

Kaprielian, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander, recently concluded his junior season with a 10-4 record and a 2.03 ERA (106.2IP, 24ER) in 17 games (16 starts). He led the Pac-12 Conference with 114 strikeouts and issued 33 walks for the Bruins, averaging 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

In both his sophomore (2014) and junior (2015) seasons, Kaprielian was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference first team after leading the conference in strikeouts both seasons. The 21-year-old was tabbed as a 2015 second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. On May 15, 2015, he threw nine of the Bruins' 10 no-hit innings vs. Arizona, combining for the first no-hitter in school history. Kaprielian was also named the USA Baseball Performer of the Year after pitching for the USA Collegiate National Team in 2014.

"Kaprielian is a guy we've scouted for a long time, and we're really happy we were able to get him," said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. "He has three quality pitches, throws strikes and generates a lot of swings-and-misses. On top of that, he has great make-up. He compiled a quality track record in a good league and performed well for Team USA."

A native of Tustin, Calif., Kaprielian was rated by Baseball America as the 19th-best overall prospect in this year's draft, as well as the ninth-best pitcher. He was originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 40th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Beckman High School in Irvine, Calif., but chose to attend UCLA.

The selection of Kaprielian marks the second consecutive year that the Yankees have used their first draft pick on a college pitcher after selecting LHP Jacob Lindgren out of Mississippi State in the second round (55th overall) of the 2014 Draft. Kaprielian joins RHP Jeffrey Pries (22nd overall pick in 1984) as the only UCLA products drafted in the first round by the Yankees in the history of MLB's First-Year Player Draft (since 1965).

As a junior in 2015, Holder was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year after batting .348 (78-for-224) with 45 runs scored, 14 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBI in 55 games for the Toreros.

The left-handed hitter appeared on the 30-player watch list for the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award - given annually to the best amateur player in the country - and is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Award, which recognizes the nation's top collegiate shortstop. In addition to being ranked by Baseball America as the 38th-best player in the 2015 Draft, Holder was also tabbed by the publication as the "Best Defensive Player" among the top-200 collegiate players in the draft.

"Holder is about as elite a defender as we've seen come through the college ranks," said Oppenheimer. "He's got a tremendous glove. He also had a productive year offensively and does not swing and miss."

The Yankees received their compensation-round pick after David Robertson signed with the Chicago White Sox in December 2014.

Degano, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-hander, earned a place on the Missouri Valley Conference second team in 2015 after posting an 8-3 record and 2.36 ERA (99.0IP, 26ER) across 15 starts for the Sycamores. The Surrey, British Columbia, native recorded 126 strikeouts while issuing just 28 walks on the season. Degano, who represented Canada in the 2005 Little League World Series, tied for fifth in the NCAA with 117 regular-season strikeouts.

"Degano is a left-hander with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a good breaking ball," said Oppenheimer. "He throws a lot of strikes and has a quality athletic body."

The 2015 First-Year Player Draft resumes on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. ET, with the Yankees making their next pick in the third round (92nd overall).

 

RHP JAMES KAPRIELIAN

Selection: First round (16th overall)

School: UCLA

Year: Junior

Hometown: Tustin, Calif.

DOB: 3/2/1994

Age: 21

Bats: R Throws: R

Height: 6'4" Weight: 200 lbs.

Pronunciation: kuh-PRILL-ee-in

2015 Stats: 10-4, 2.03 ERA (106.2IP, 24ER), 86H, 33BB,114K, 7HR, .226 opp. avg. in 17G (16 GS)

MLB.com Draft Profile (video)

 

SS KYLE HOLDER

Selection: Compensation round (30th overall)

School: University of San Diego

Year: Junior

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

DOB: 5/25/1994

Age: 21

Bats: L Throws: R

Height: 6'1" Weight: 185 lbs.

2015 Stats: .348 (78-for-224), 45R, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 4HR, 31RBI, 19BB, 19K, 5SB in 55G

MLB.com Draft Profile (video)

 

LHP JEFF DEGANO

Selection: Second round (57th overall)

School: Indiana State University

Year: Redshirt Junior

Hometown: Surrey, B.C., Canada

DOB: 10/30/92

Age: 22

Bats: L Throws: L

Height: 6'4" Weight: 200 lbs.

Pronunciation: deh-GAH-noh

2015 Stats: 8-3, 2.36 ERA (99.0IP, 26ER), 78H, 28BB, 126K, 3HR, .216 opp. avg. in 15GS