September 2, 1994 |
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
In high school, he was the Gatorade New Jersey Baseball Player of the Year in both 2012 and 2013, named to the 2012 USA Today All-USA Team, and a 2013 Baseball America Preseason First Team All-American. In his senior year in 2013 he was 10-0 with a 0.10 ERA, averaging two strikeouts per inning while batting .506. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals at the age of 18 in the first round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, 28th overall.
In 2013, Baseball America ranked him the Gulf Coast League's No. 8 prospect. In 2014, Kaminsky's 1.88 ERA was the best in the Midwest League of all pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched, and he was a Baseball America Low Class A All Star. In 2015, his 2.09 ERA was 2nd-best in the Florida State League of all pitchers with 90 or more innings pitched. In 2016, his 3.28 ERA was 4th-best in the Eastern League.
Kaminsky was born in and grew up in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. His parents are Donna Kaminsky, and Alan Kaminsky, a civil litigator for Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in New York City. He has two older siblings, Joseph and Anna, and his grandfather is Bernard Kaminsky. Kaminsky is Jewish, and his bar mitzvah was based on a baseball theme. His boyhood hero was left-handed pitcher Sandy Koufax, and he said Koufax "stood up for what he believed in" when Koufax decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it was on Yom Kippur.
He is nearly completely ambidextrous, as Kaminsky writes, throws a football, and shoots a basketball right-handed, but throws a baseball left-handed. In Little League, he sometimes threw left-handed and sometimes threw right-handed. He learned how to switch-hit when he was around 10 years old.
Kaminsky attended Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey, graduating in 2013. Initially, he was a center fielder, and in 2011 he preferred playing the outfield. He was the Gatorade New Jersey Baseball Player of the Year, and the Star-Ledger New Jersey Player of the Year, in both 2012 and 2013. In his junior year in 2012 he was 8-2 with a 0.20 earned run average (ERA), struck out 103 batters and walked 20 in 53 innings, and pitched three no-hitters and three one-hitters. He was also named to the USA Today All-USA Team.
In his senior year in 2013 Kaminsky was 10-0 with a 0.10 ERA, averaged two strikeouts per inning, gave up 14 walks as he struck out 126 in 64 innings, pitched three no-hitters and three one-hitters, while batting .506 with 3 home runs and 19 RBIs. He was also a Baseball America Preseason First Team All-American and a Rawlings-Perfect Game First Team All-American. Seattle Mariners scout Frank Rendini said: "He has a major-league curveball right now."
While in high school, Kaminsky raised over $30,000 through his Strikeout Challenge charity for the pediatric cancer ward at Englewood Hospital, as he asked supporters to donate whatever amount they chose for each strikeout he recorded in his senior year.
Kaminsky was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals at the age of 18 in the first round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, 28th overall, after Baseball America ranked him the # 21 prospect in the draft. He became the 12th New Jersey player drafted in the first round directly out of high school since the initial Major League Baseball draft in 1965. He signed for a signing bonus of $1.785 million, foregoing his scholarship to pitch and play center field for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
In 2013 he made his professional debut for the Gulf Coast Cardinals in the Rookie Gulf Coast League. Kaminsky appeared in eight games with five starts and had a 3.68 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched. Baseball America ranked him the Gulf Coast League's No. 8 prospect in 2013.
Kaminsky pitched in 2014 for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class A Midwest League, where he was three years younger than the average player. In 2014, he appeared in 18 games, all starts, going 8-2 (his 8 wins were 8th among Cardinals minor leaguers) with a 1.88 ERA (the best ERA in the league of all pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched), a 1.013 WHIP (9th among Cardinals minor leaguers), and a .194/.266/.251 batting-average-against and slash line against. He was named a Baseball America Low Class A All Star, and Scout named him the best left-handed starter in the Cardinals' minor league system. Peoria pitching coach, and former major leaguer, Jason Simontacchi said: "there’s no question he’s got stuff that could play in the big leagues."
On July 30, 2015, the Cardinals traded Kaminsky to the Cleveland Indians for All Star outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss. At the time, MLB.com ranked Kaminsky the No. 3 prospect in the St. Louis organization, and 88th overall, and Scout ranked him the best pitcher in the Cardinals' minor league system. Kaminsky finished 2015 with a 6-6 record and a 2.24 ERA. He split it between the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class A+ Florida State League (where his 2.09 ERA was 2nd-best in the league, of all pitchers with 90 or more innings pitched, he kept opponents to a .228 batting-average-against, and he was one of only two pitchers—from among 393 pitchers—in the minor leagues who did not give up a home run in 90 or more innings) and the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Class A+ Carolina League. He was ranked the No. 3 prospect, and top pitching prospect, in the Cleveland Indians organization.
Kaminsky spent the 2016 season with the Akron RubberDucks of the Double-A Eastern League, where he posted an 11-7 record (his 11 wins were tied for 3rd-best in the league) and a 3.28 ERA (4th in the league). He was 2nd in the league in fewest-hits-per-9-innings (8.01), tied for 3rd in wins, and 4th in ground ball/fly ball ratio (1.70). He was one of the youngest players on the team, at 21 years old, and about 3.5 years younger than the average player in the Eastern League. In 2017, he pitched only five innings, all in one start for the RubberDucks.
Kaminsky's three main pitches as of 2016 were an 89-91 mph fastball with some movement that can reach 95 mph, a sharp-breaking upper-70s curveball, and a changeup. In his minor league career, he has induced a high level of ground ball outs, and a low batting-average-against.
- "Rob Kaminsky Stats, Highlights, Bio," MiLB.com.
- Jeff Brewer. "RubberDucks left-hander Rob Kaminsky starting to live up to billing as top prospect," Beacon Journal.
- "Echoes of Sandy Koufax: When Jersey phenom Robert Kaminsky pitches, it harkens back to his idol and fellow Jew - and a Brooklyn-born baseball icon," The New York Daily News.
- "Kaminsky, Alan; Partner," Lewis Brisbois LLP.
- "Joining Cardinals dream come true for New Jersey lefty Kaminsky & family," The New York Post.
- Brian A. Giuffra. "The natural; Englewood Cliffs baseball player Rob Kaminsky showed talent at 3," Family.
- "NJ’s own rising MLB star out to be next Matt Harvey," The New York Post.
- "Rob Kaminsky; Top Rated Prospect" Draft 2013.
- "Male Athlete of the Week: Rob Kaminsky of St. Joseph," The Record.
- "Echoes of Sandy Koufax: When Jersey phenom Robert Kaminsky pitches, it harkens back to his idol and fellow Jew - and a Brooklyn-born baseball icon". The New York Daily News. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "ALL-USA". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Czerwinski: Rob Kaminsky knocked down barriers". The Record. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Chiefs pitcher from Jersey turns in his pinstrips for Cardinals red," Journal Star.
- "Robert Kaminsky of St. Joseph (Mont.) is The Star-Ledger's baseball state Player of the Year for 2013," NJ.com.
- "Baseball: Rob Kaminsky named Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year," NJ.com.
- "Six Diamond Nation Players Among State's Top 25," Flemington/Raritan NJ News.
- "Robert Kaminsky - Player Profile," Perfect Game USA.
- "New Jersey Baseball POY: Robert Kaminsky," USA Today.
- "Year in review: New Jersey baseball," News 12 Varsity.
- "Chasing lofty goals, Cardinals phenom Rob Kaminsky up to the task; Cardinals 2013 Draft pick eager to make splash in first spring camp," mlb.com.
- "Cardinals Select LHP Rob Kaminsky With 28th Overall Selection In 2013 Draft". St. Louis Cardinals. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- Mark Czerwinksi. "St. Joseph lefty Rob Kaminsky drafted in first round by St. Louis Cardinals". The Record. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Cleveland Indians 2017 top prospects: No. 14, Rob Kaminsky"
- "Cardinals pick Jewish high-school pitcher in first round," Jewish Baseball News.
- "Rob Kaminsky checks out his new baseball team," The Record.
- Jim Callis (June 12, 2013) on Twitter: "#Cardinals, 1st-rder Rob Kaminsky agree on $1,785,300. New Jersey HS LHP has nifty curveball, can reach 94 w/FB. #mlbdraft"
- "Rob Kaminsky Baseball Statistics [2013-17]", The Baseball Cube.
- Mark J. Czerwinski. "Baseball: Former St. Joseph star Rob Kaminsky's pro debut season a learning experience". The Record. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Rob Kaminsky Stats & Scouting Report," Baseball America.
- "First Round Pick Kaminsky Joins Chiefs, Petree Promoted". milb.com. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Cards prospect Kaminsky believes learning will take him where he wants to go". Quad-Cities Online. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Midwest League (LoA) 2014," Baseball America.
- "Indians acquire Kaminsky in Moss deal; Cardinals send No. 3 prospect to Cleveland in exchange for outfielder," MiLB.com.
- "Our annual ranking of the best prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system by position including a top 50 depth chart," Scout.
- "Englewood Cliffs' Rob Kaminsky learning, excelling in the minors," The Record.
- "St. Louis Cardinals acquire Brandon Moss from Cleveland Indians for Rob Kaminsky". ESPN. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Rob Kaminsky deal a strong trade for Indians; Cleveland gets touted left-handed prospect in exchange for power bat," mlb.com.
- "Rob Kaminsky ranks as Cleveland Indians No. 3 prospect," Let's Go Tribe.
- "MLB.com 2015 Prospect Watch; Cleveland Indians," mlb.com
- "Rob Kaminsky's strong season validates his role as the Cleveland Indians top pitching prospect," SB Nation.
- "Rob Kaminsky Stats, Highlights, Bio," MiLB.com.
- "2016 Eastern League - Season Review,", The Baseball Cube.
- "Eastern League (AA); 2016," Baseball America.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Twitter page
- Rob Kaminsky, "Life in the minors; working towards a dream; An inside look at the life and grind of the competitive minor leagues, as told by Indians pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky," Let's Go Tribe, August 21, 2017.