Interview with Lefty Pitching Prospect, Rob Kaminsky

USA TODAY Sports

Minor league hitters will be getting a heavy dose of Special-K in 2014 and beyond.

After taking a left-handed college pitcher (Marco Gonzales) with their first pick, the Cardinals selected a left-handed high school pitcher, Rob Kaminsky, with their second pick (28th overall) in the first round. Logically, the Cardinals gave him a light workload after the draft. This will likely change in Peoria next season, but I would also assume they will be as careful with him as possible considering he was recently named the 7th best prospect in the Cardinals' farm system by Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus.

Cardinals645 already wrote a terrific post on Kaminsky back in January, so I will let you use his post for a more in-depth look at Kaminsky's tangibles, projections, player profile, etc. Also, I was reading through some of the red baron's posts before last summer's draft to see what he had to say about Kaminsky, and this is what I found:

"This is a special arm, and a potentially special pitcher, and I would dance naked in the streets if the Cardinals came away with him tomorrow night."

Player Profile:

  • Throws: Left
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Weight: 191 pounds
  • Born: September 2, 1994 (19 years old)
  • High School: St. Joseph Regional HS (Montvale, NJ)
  • Acquired: 1st round (28th pick) of 2013 MLB Draft
  • Repertoire: Fastball (88-92 MPH), Curveball (11-5 break), Changeup (high 70s, low 80s)
2013 Statistics:

LEVEL

TEAM

G

GS

IP

BABIP

LOB%

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

Rk

GCL

8

5

22.0

.373

60.1%

11.45

3.68

3.68

2.61

Interview:

Viva El Birdos: With which Ninja Turtle do you most closely identify, and why?

Rob Kaminsky: Never really got into the Ninja Turtles to be honest!

Editor's note: This makes sense considering the Ninja Turtles were most popular in the late 80's and early 90's. Kaminsky was born in 1994. I won't ask this question to a prospect again. They're all too young!

VEB: What nicknames have you had in your life?

RK: I’ve had a few, from old coaches and what not. "Kammy, Special-K"

VEB: Which do you prefer: sour patch kids or warheads?

RK: Sour patch kids hands down.

VEB: Have you ever been to St. Louis?

RK: Yes, one time. Beautiful city and great people.

VEB: What are your thoughts on #HighSockSundays?

RK: I wear high socks some games, depends on the day. I’d participate in high socks Sunday.

VEB: As a kid, which big leaguer did you look up to? I am assuming it was a pitcher, or were you more of a position player back in the day?

RK: I looked up to a few: including Sandy Koufax, Gio Gonzalez, and Grady Sizemore (I played CF my whole life until this year).

VEB: Did you ever play against new teammate, Alex Reyes, in New Jersey? Alex is from there, and we are curious if you ever crossed paths before he left for the DR?

RK: I never played against him, but we became pretty close over instructs and have kept in touch over the offseason.

VEB: What’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make when transitioning from high school hitters to pro hitters?

RK: The strike zones are much different, but it’s all part of the transition. I am adjusting daily and figuring out the differences.

VEB: In regards to your repertoire, what’s your favorite pitch and which one needs the most work to get you to that "next level"?

RK: I’d like to make all of my pitches better, and also my mental side of the game better. My curveball and fastball are probably ahead of my changeup, but I’ve been working on my changeup a lot this offseason, and can’t wait to throw it more and more this spring and beyond.

VEB: What was the most surprising thing to happen either in the draft process or what’s happened within the organization since?

RK: Draft day was crazy for my family and I, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was a once in a lifetime thing and it was nice to see my family so proud.

VEB: It has been reported in multiple places that you have developed a reputation for being extraordinarily hard-working. Is this something innate in your character or is it a skill you have had to develop? How does it help you on the field?

RK: I appreciate that, thank you, and my family is filled with hard working people and I like to follow in their footsteps. The Cardinals preach the same work ethic on and off the field, so I continue to learn and develop a stronger work ethic day in and day out.

VEB: In terms of approach, do you think out your pitch sequence ahead of time when facing a batter? Or do you stay in the moment and listen to what the catcher is calling for?

RK: That’s tough, it really depends on the batter and mostly on how he reacts with his swings.

VEB: What’s it like pitching to wood bats now that you’re in pro ball? How much enjoyment do you get after sawing off a hitter on an inside fastball?

RK: Nothing better! Breaking a bat is a good sign cause I love throwing inside.

VEB: Do you feel growing up in a northern climate slowed your development compared to kids from Florida, Texas, California, etc.?

RK: Absolutely not. I do not believe in the Northeast stigma, the only thing it affects is long tossing in the winter, but there are many compatible indoor places. Northeast kids have no excuse.

VEB: If you could "steal" a pitch from any major leaguer, who would you take it from and what pitch would it be?

RK: Johan Santana’s or Michael Wacha’s changeup.

VEB: At what level of the minors do you intend to finish 2014?

RK: I’m going to just work as hard as I can and do what the Cardinals ask of me and see where it takes me.

We thank Rob for taking the time to answer these questions for Viva El Birdos. We wish him the best in 2014 and beyond.

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