UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian drafted No. 16 overall by Yankees

James Kaprielian was taken by the New York Yankees as No. 16 overall in the MLB Draft, becoming the first UCLA baseball player to go in the first round since 2011.

On Monday, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound pitcher joined a club last entered by Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, fellow right-handers who starred for the Bruins before going No. 1 and 3 overall four years ago. Cole actually helped convince Kaprielian to sign with UCLA.

UCLA coach John Savage said he noticed Kaprielian’s curveball the first time he saw him pitch as a high school sophomore, as well as a “good, physical, projectable body.”

“A guy that had tremendous upside,” Savage said.

Kaprielian fulfilled that promise in his three seasons at UCLA, debuting as a reliever through the Bruins’ 2013 national championship run and becoming their Friday ace in the last two seasons. A potential second-round pick out of Irvine’s Beckman High, he has since developed his repertoire even further.

“He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he’s a four-pitch guy,” MLB.com’s Jim Callis said during the draft broadcast.

Added MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo: “He’s not sexy. He’s not going to blow you away. But he is going to get to the major leagues quickly.”

UCLA signee Kolby Allard, a left-handed pitcher out of San Clemente High, went two picks before Kaprielian to the Atlanta Braves. Allard will likely opt to go pro over attending college, but a stress reaction in his back suffered in March could affect his decision.