As the 2014 season drew on, one thing became abundantly clear: the 2014 Peoria Chiefs would live and die with the ability of their starting pitching staff.
The team finished the season sixth in the Midwest League with a 3.53 ERA, but that number includes the team’s relievers. Of the seven players who started at least at least ten games for the Chiefs, only one of them posted an ERA below that mark. Rob Kaminsky is that pitcher.Kaminsky did not start 2014 in Peoria, and there is a more than decent chance he won’t start 2015 in Single-A, either. He absolutely dominated with the Chiefs, winning eight games while allowing a mere 21 earned runs in just over 100 innings pitched. The 20-year-old struck out 79 batters but did have trouble with walks toward the end of the season. Of his 31 walks, 19 came in his last nine starts. Despite the rough (for him) stretch, Kaminsky was one of the most dominant pitchers in the MWL this season. The lefty made his Peoria debut May 4 by tossing five innings of one-run, five hit baseball with two strikeouts. On May 22, he kicked off a run of seven consecutive starts in which he allowed one run or fewer, including two starts where he threw at least six innings while giving up fewer than three hits and no walks. He also struck out a minimum of six batters in those starts. Speaking of strikeouts, the other pitcher in serious consideration for this award had a ton of them for the Chiefs this season. Alex Reyes cracked the top 15 all-time strikeout leaders in Chiefs history by whiffing 137 batters in 109 1/3 innings but also walked 61. On the surface, Reyes’ stats do not look all that impressive. He finished the year with a 7-7 record and a 3.62 ERA. However, when the right-hander got things going, he was tough to hit. Three times in 2014 Reyes fanned more than ten batters in a game. Two of those three performances were paired with scoreless outings of at least five innings. Granted, in one of those two, Reyes walked seven batters, but still managed to not allow a run, earned or otherwise. Reyes did have his blowups, something Kaminsky did not. A “blowup” for Kaminsky was three runs; when Reyes blew up he would give up six or eight runs, like he did against the Clinton Lumber Kings in May. That said, it has been rather apparent since mid-July that The Cardinal Nation’s 2014 Peoria Chiefs Starting Pitcher of the Year would be Rob Kaminsky. The New Jersey native gave the Chiefs a chance to win most every game he pitched, which is exactly what you want from a starter.
Link to master article with all 2014 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our selection as the Peoria Chiefs Player of the Year.
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