TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #5: Rob Kaminsky

In our rankings, the high schooler is placed ahead of the college lefty drafted before him. See if you agree with why we did this.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

School: St. Joseph Regional High School, Montvale, NJ

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA LHS 9/4/1994 6-0 190 B L 2013 1st

Selected 2013 stats

GCL 0 3 3.68 2.61 8 5 0 22.0 23 14 1 9 28 1.47 0.261 0.373

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (7): The Cardinals received a compensation pick in the 2013 draft for Kyle Lohse signing with the Milwaukee Brewers. They used it for the selection of Rob Kaminsky in the first round at number 28 overall. Right away, Kaminsky was tabbed as the Cardinals seventh prospect in voting by the community.

One of two prep southpaws selected in the first ten rounds of the 2013 draft, Kaminsky was dominant as a high schooler. He owned 107 strikeouts, four walks, five shutouts, and a 0.14 ERA in 51 innings against New Jersey competition. Obviously the statistics are useless now that he is in pro ball, but a 0.14 ERA is an eye-opener.

Kaminsky entered professional baseball as one of the most advanced prep pitchers out of the draft. He could have reported to the Midwest League and been an above-average pitcher right away, but the Cardinals took the safe route with his development by assigning him to the Gulf Coast League to manage his workload.

In the Gulf Coast League, Kaminsky had a 0-3 W-L record, 3.68 ERA, 28 strikeouts, and nine walks. Although he allowed zero earned runs and rang up 15 strikeouts in his first 11 innings, fatigue apparently set in as so often happens to pitchers late in their rookie seasons. Kaminsky allowed nine earned runs in his final 11 2/3 innings.

When you look at Kaminsky, the first thing you see is his size. It should not matter as much given that he is a lefty and he has longer arms with a higher 3/4 arm slot that produces a better downward plane than most six-foot pitchers can generate.

Where are you going to find lefties with two already-present plus pitches and a reliable third pitch as well as very good control in the bottom of the first round? I believe if he was 6-foot-3, he would have gone in the top 15 of the draft.

Once this young man realizes how good his stuff truly is and how effective he can be as he matures, the upper levels of the minor leagues had better watch out. It won't be long, but there is no need to rush him.

Kaminsky should start at extended spring training or perhaps with Peoria as an early season option if they have starters go down with injury. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (5): Here is where my vote substantially diverges from the community. Despite us being just two numbers apart at five and seven, respectively, there is a considerable difference.

I have Kaminsky ranked ahead of Marco Gonzales, who is ahead of Alex Reyes. The message board readers have them in the exact opposite sequence. They are likely looking at the respective draft positions and perhaps bonus money received and are making a very understandable decision to not alter that implied order.

Here is why I see it differently. Accepting the fact that Kaminsky is still a teenager in rookie ball, he looked great. I came away highly impressed with his wipeout curveball. That helped fuel Kaminsky's strikeout rate of 11.5 per nine innings, which was number one among all starting pitchers in the entire Cardinals system this past season. That was not just among rookies, but includes every starter in the organization.

Some mechanics analysts have questioned Kaminsky's "tall and fall" style of delivery. I haven't sensed concern in the Cardinals camp, at least not yet. Generally speaking, the player development function does not do much of any tweaking with a player during his first partial year. I did not pick up anything unusual during instructs, but I was not everywhere all the time. We will see what, if any, changes are attempted with Kaminsky in 2014.

At this point, I believe that Kaminsky has the highest ceiling of any player taken by the Cardinals in the 2013 draft. He has the potential of being a top of the rotation starter, a number one in the major leagues. Despite Gonzales being older and more experienced, I am not sure I can say that about him with the same veracity.

That is why I currently have the less sure thing in Kaminsky ahead of the 19th overall selection. We will see how it continues to play out next summer.

In his own words: In October from instructional league camp, Kaminsky spoke about the draft, the knocks on his height, his 2013 season and more. Click here for our interview, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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