Rob Kaminsky has slowly but assuredly climbed the Minor League Baseball ladder since the day he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in June of 2013. And now he is on the final rung of that ladder and just one step from the major leagues.
The former NJ Super 17 and St. Joseph of Montvale player was called up twice this season to the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, Columbus, most recently on June 26. A 5-11, 200-pound lefthander, Kaminsky is in his seventh professional season after he was drafted in the first round, 28th overall, in 2013.
Kaminsky, converted last season to the bullpen, has put up solid numbers as both a starter and reliever in the Cardinals and Indians organizations while battling some injuries along the way. He missed much of the 2017 season with arm issues. That the Indians still regard Kaminsky as a future major leaguer is without doubt as he was invited to spring training this past spring by the big club.
He’s 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in seven Triple-A innings for the Clippers, striking out 12 and walking five. Kaminsky was called up from the Akron RubberDucks on June 2 and returned to the Double-A affiliate on June 5. He was called back up on June 26 and has remained with Columbus since. The lefty is 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 26 total games this season between the two Cleveland minor league affiliates. Kaminsky has struck out 42 and walked 13 in 38.2 innings.
Kaminsky received an unpleasant taste of life as a professional baseball player in 2015 when St. Louis shipped him to Cleveland for first baseman Brandon Moss in a July 30 trade deadline move. The 2015 Cardinals would go on to win 100 games but fell in the Division Series to the Chicago Cubs. Kaminsky’s success to that point in his minor league career perhaps bit him. He was 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA for the Advanced-A Palm Beach Cardinals before the trade.
Moving to the bullpen last season was an adjustment for Kaminksy but he did put forth respectable numbers, recording a 1-1 mark with a 3.08 ERA in 26 innings-pitched. But his 22 strikeouts compared to 18 walks was in need of improvement. Well, Kaminsky has done so as evidenced by his 42 strikeouts and 13 walks in 38.2 innings in 2019.
Kaminsky has always been a high-strikeout, low-walk pitcher, so the high walk total in 2018 truly reflected a needed adjustment to a new role more than any potentially lingering issue for the 2013 New Jersey State Player of the Year. That improvement began early in the 2018 postseason when the Indians sent him to the Arizona Fall League for some fine-tuning. Kaminsky pitched 11 innings in 10 fall league games, registering a 3-0 record and a 1.64 ERA. More importantly, the Indians saw what they hoped to see in their new reliever, 13 strikeouts and just three walks.
After all the trials and tribulations during seven professional seasons, Kaminsky is still just 24 years-old and primed to join the ever-growing New Jersey contingent in ‘The Show.’