The Cardinal Nation June Starter of the Month

Peoria Chiefs left-hander Rob Kaminsky, 19, reminds us all why he was a first-round draft pick, with an exceptional month of June.

In past years, I have found that sorting out the candidates for these June honors most tricky. The three US-based short-season clubs always begin their seasons part-way through the period, putting partial months for players just getting underway next to full-season players completing their third month of competition.

There is no issue in identifying the top starting pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals system this June, however. Peoria Chiefs left-hander Rob Kaminsky has been so dominant that his results are clearly the best in the organization.

Of the eight starting pitchers across the system with ERAs under 2.00 last month, only one logged an ERA under 1.00. That was Kaminsky at 0.90, based on three earned runs yielded in 30 1/3 innings. The latter was the second-highest June workload in the organization. (Note: For this work, I drew the line at 14 innings pitched minimum for starters, leaving a qualifying population of 34 pitchers.)

Looking at baserunners allowed as represented by walks plus hits per innings pitched, WHIP, Kaminsky's amazing 0.70 was only edged by Ian McKinney of Johnson City, who came in at 0.67 in 15 innings of work. No one else was even close.

Rob Kaminsky 30.3 3 4 18 28 3 4 0 0.70 0.89 PEO
Will Anderson 17.0 2 8 16 18 3 1 1 1.12 1.06 SC
Sandy Alcantara 19.0 3 5 16 17 7 1 2 1.21 1.42 DSL 
Chase Brookshire 18.3 3 3 21 17 2 1 0 1.27 1.47 PEO
Marco Gonzales 22.7 4 6 19 27 6 2 1 1.13 1.59 SPR
Derian Gonzalez 21.7 4 8 18 21 8 1 1 1.23 1.66 DSL 
Ian McKinney 15.0 3 3 8 13 2 1 1 0.67 1.80 SC-JC
David Oca 22.7 5 9 16 23 5 1 1 0.95 1.99 DSL

Strikeouts and walks are the next measurements to be considered. Kaminsky fanned 28 and walked just three during June. To help put that into context, his strikeout rate of 8.31 per nine innings barely cracked the top dozen.

However, the New Jersey native is clearly not beating himself, with a 0.89 walk rate per nine that is second-best among this group. (With just one free pass in 15 1/3 innings (with 11 strikeouts), Johnson City's Steven Farinaro had the lowest walk rate. His 2.35 ERA was in the next tier above this month's finalists, however.

When combining the two, Kaminsky's strikeout to walk ratio of 9.33-to-1 is again number two to Farinaro. Kaminsky also led the Chiefs to four wins and a no-decision in his five June starts.

Following are those starters with at least eight strikeouts per nine innings, those with two or less walks per nine innings and the group with a 4-to-1 or better strikeout to walk ratio during the month.

Starter IP K/9   Starter IP BB/9   Starter IP K/BB
Marco Gonzales 22.7 10.7   Steven Farinaro 15.3 0.59   Steven Farinaro 15.3 11.0
Luis Perdomo 16.7 10.3   Rob Kaminsky 30.3 0.89   Rob Kaminsky 30.3 9.3
Will Anderson 17.0 9.5   Chase Brookshire 18.3 0.98   Chase Brookshire 18.3 8.5
David Oca 22.7 9.1   Mike Mayers 26.0 1.04   Mike Mayers 26.0 6.7
Sam Gaviglio 30.0 9.0   Ian McKinney 15.0 1.20   Ian McKinney 15.0 6.5
Jimmy Reed 24.7 8.8   Nick Petree 27.0 1.33   Nick Petree 27.0 6.3
Derian Gonzalez 21.7 8.7   Will Anderson 17.0 1.59   Will Anderson 17.0 6.0
Kurt Heyer 29.7 8.5   Juan Alvarez 16.3 1.65   Juan Alvarez 16.3 4.7
Chase Brookshire 18.3 8.3   Kurt Heyer 29.7 1.82   Kurt Heyer 29.7 4.7
Nick Petree 27.0 8.3   David Oca 22.7 1.99   David Oca 22.7 4.6
Rob Kaminsky 30.3 8.3           Marco Gonzales 22.7 4.5
Sandy Alcantara 19.0 8.1           Jimmy Reed 24.7 4.0

Congratulations to Rob Kaminsky, The Cardinal Nation Starting Pitcher of the Month, for an outstanding June showing across the board. Prior to the season, the 19-year-old was TCN's fifth-ranked Cardinals prospect and has since moved up to number four.


On Wednesday afternoon, the Cardinals organization also announced Kaminsky as their winner of the Pitcher of the Month award for June.

Honorable Mentions – Full Season

For whatever reason, left-handed starting pitchers reigned in June, including the two full-season honorable mentions after Kaminsky.

Before Marco Gonzales joined St. Louis, the 22-year-old did some fine work for Double-A Springfield. It included 27 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings and a 1.59 ERA. Chances are good that Marco will not be returning to the Texas League.

Taken out of the Peoria rotation in May, Chase Brookshire received another chance to start in June with an injury to Michael Holback. This time, the 23-year-old left-hander excelled, with a 1.47 ERA representing just three runs allowed across his four starts of five innings or less in duration.

Honorable Mentions – Short-Season

Will Anderson and Ian McKinney were briefly teammates at State College to start the month, but McKinney was earmarked for Johnson City all along. The two had strong Junes at their respective levels, with Anderson appearing among the ERA, strikeout rate, walk rate and strikeout to walk ratio leaders and McKinney making three of the four lists.

Three starters from the Dominican Summer League Cardinals, which played a full month in June, also made our honorable mention list. Those with June ERAs under 2.00 included Sandy Alcantara, Derian Gonzalez and David Oca. Oca, 18, yet another lefty, made all three strikeout and walk leaderboards.

Prior Winners

  Pitcher of Month Pitcher of Month Starter of Month Reliever of Month  
2014 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization The Cardinal Nation The Cardinal Nation 2014
April    Tim Cooney Nick Petree Justin Wright April 
May Chris Perry Chris Perry (none) (Perry) May
June     Rob Kaminsky   June
July         July
Aug         Aug
  Player of Month        
2014 The Cardinal Nation Cards organization     2014
April  James Ramsey Jonathan Rodriguez     April 
May Randal Grichuk Randal Grichuk     May
June         June
July         July
Aug         Aug

Coming soon

The Cardinal Nation's June Player of the Month and Relief Pitcher of the Month will be announced next, as will the Cardinals organization's own selection for top pitcher and player. In addition, our third monthly update to the Cardinals top 40 prospect rankings is coming soon, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation, and the first to incorporate those taken in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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