Rob Kaminsky Scouting Report (2014)
Since his prep days in New Jersey, St. Louis Cardinals left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky has generated helium behind one of the best high-school curveballs in the country. It’s still his meal-ticket, but Single-A baseball is about learning to command the fastball and trust the change-up. Kaminsky is focused on adding these weapons to his arsenal. Pitching last Saturday for the Peoria Chiefs, the 2013 1st-round draft selection threw the fastball or change-up 70-percent of the time in a developmental start. His curveball is the path to stardom, but it won’t take him far on its own.
Kaminsky lasted 4 1/3 solid innings in an extra-innings affair Peoria won against the host Clinton Lumberkings in the 11th. He allowed five hits, three walks and one earned run, striking out four. Despite too many base runners, Kaminsky maintained composure and minimized damage at a level where many pitchers lack the stuff and know how to escape run scoring situations.
The recipient of a $1,785,000 signing bonus last year, Rob Kaminsky features a 90-92 mph fastball, touching 93 four times. Though he complements the velocity with a touch of drop, the pitch presents as his weakest offering. Clinton did nearly all of its damage against the hard stuff, including three loud extra base hits and a warning track bullet Matthew Young caught. 13 of 49 fastballs fell between 86-89 mph — likely the two-seamer. His velocity faded late with five of his last six fastballs coming in between 87-89 mph, so it could be an early-season stamina issue as well.
Though Kaminsky told Viva El Birdos in February his changeup is his weakest pitch, if was an off-season focus. The improvement was evident. At 79-80 MPH, Kaminsky missed up too often, but was able to dirt it low and away on occasion too. With his clean and consistent mechanics, the 19-year-old increase command with time. At present, the change features sliding action, making it difficult to pick up. The Lumberkings managed contact just four times: two defensive fouls and a pair of harmless taps back to the pitcher.
The curveball flashes plus now and Clinton struggled to make contact with the pitch. It has two-plane movement with the bottom dropping out as it approaches the plate. In the first inning, it badly exposed 18-year-old Tyler O’Neill, a dangerous fastball hitter with a .202 ISO. After sneaking a first-pitch fastball in for a called strike, Kaminsky’s curveball had O’Neill way out in front swinging for strike two. He finished up with another curve O’Neill appeared to miss by a foot as the pitch disappeared, falling out of the strike zone late.
Compact and athletic, Kaminsky will need to command the fastball and change-up to project well as a starting pitcher. If this happens, the left-hander can better utilize his strong curveball as a swing-and-miss offering. For now, the fastball is too hittable, resulting in more hits than innings pitched. Plus, developmental starts where he’s forced to focus on areas of improvement will result in uninspiring walk and strikeout totals. However, the Cardinals have been spot on in recent years in terms of developing young arms. So even if Kaminsky struggles, he’s deserving of a longer leash due to the strength of St. Louis’ player development program.
TOOL PRESENT FUTURE PROJECTED ROLE NO. 2-3 STARTER ON A FIRST DIVISION TEAM Fastball 35 55 Curveball 45 65 Changeup 30 45 Control 30 50 Command 30 50
Owning Rob Kaminsky
The St. Louis Cardinals are bullet-proof in developing young starting pitchers, so Kaminsky is a safe bet to turn into a useful fantasy asset. In deep dynasty formats, this is enough reason to add him to fantasy rosters. But when deciding between multiple prospects, bet on the elite tool – the curveball in Rob Kaminsky’s case. The development of his fastball and change-up will dictate his big-league role. Should he falter in either of those areas, Kaminsky will be an excellent reliever against both right-handed and left-handed batters. More likely, he settles in as a valuable second-tier starter.
14 May 2014 / Bob Usselman /
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