Alex Reyes and Rob Kaminsky appear on the surface to have similar backgrounds as both grew up in New Jersey, are big time pitching prospects, and are members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. When you dig deeper you will find the similarities end there and their paths to the Cardinals organization are completely different. Both pitchers will enter the 2015 season as likely top 5 prospects within the organization and you will find a differing opinion on who is higher ranked.
In my first Prospect Battle, I will compare Alex Reyes and Rob Kaminsky and give you a look at what they have to offer now and what the future might hold for both. I will also pick the prospect that I think will have a better career when it is all said and done. First, a tale of the tape on the two pitchers.
|Tale of the Tape|
|Stats||Alex Reyes||Rob Kaminsky|
|Birthdate||August 29, 1994||September 2, 1994|
|Birthplace||Elizabeth, New Jersey||Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey|
|Draft||International Free Agent||1st Round (28th overall) – 2013|
|Height/Weight||6’3″, 185 lbs||5’11”, 191 lbs|
|2014 Stats||7-7, 3.62 ERA, 137 K, 109 IP||8-2, 1.88 ERA, 79 K, 100 IP|
Although he was born and primarily raised in New Jersey, Alex Reyes moved to the Dominican Republic for his senior year of high school. Reyes, whose family is from the Dominican, had to wait 12 months after his move to be eligible for free agency. When his time was up, the Cardinals signed him for $950,000 in December of 2012 and his professional career began in June of 2013 as he played with the Johnson City Cardinals, the Cards’ rookie level team in the Appalachian League. Reyes, just 18 when the season started, went 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA over 58 innings. He struck out 68 while walking 28 batters in his first season.
For 2014, Reyes was pushed to a full season club, the Peoria Chiefs, and had some big time ups and downs but ended the year on a high note. Over the season, he went 7-7 with a 3.62 ERA and an organizational leading 137 strikeouts in just 109 plus innings. Reyes was able to lower his WHIP from 1.40 in 2013 to 1.30 in 2014. The good news is that he started to show signs of better command late in the season. Over his last 6 starts, Reyes went 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA and a .198 batting average against. His WHIP over those final 6 starts was 1.06, which leads me to believe these numbers should carry over to 2015 and Reyes will start separating himself from the rest of the Cardinals pitchers in the organization.
When the Cardinals selected Rob Kaminsky with their second pick in the 2013 draft, they were taking a pitcher who may not have been very high on other team’s draft boards, but was going into the draft as one of the most polished prep pitchers out there. Kaminsky got a taste of pro ball in 2013 as he pitched in 22 innings for the Gulf Coast Cardinals, the Cardinals’ lowest American affiliate and a typical starting spot for newly drafted prep pitchers.
2014 saw Kaminsky begin the season at the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida before joining the Peoria Chiefs in early May. With Peoria, he was a model of what consistency is, going 8-2 with an incredible 1.88 ERA over 100 plus innings. Over his 18 starts, Kaminsky never allowed more than 3 earned runs in a single start and he allowed 3 in just two starts. He pitched into the 6th inning in 13 of his 18 starts. That polish that we talked about earlier showed up in a big way in 2014 as he was about 11 innings away from winning the Midwest League ERA crown, by a mile. His 1.88 ERA would have blown away Kevin Ziomek‘s 2.27 winning ERA.
So, what does the future look like for these two pitching prospects?
It is quite obvious that Kaminsky is currently ahead of Reyes in the development “game”, which should not be a surprise, but Reyes is catching up quickly. For me, what separates the two is their ceilings. I believe Reyes’ ceiling is a MLB ace who could be competing for Cy Young‘s in the future. Kaminsky’s ceiling is not as high, probably a #2 or #3 starter. While both pitchers have above average curveballs (Kaminsky’s is probably the best in the organization), Reyes’ heater can light up the gun in the mid-to-upper 90’s.
While I am putting Reyes ahead of Kaminsky, this should not be a knock against the lefty. Rob Kaminsky will have a very impressive major league career and could/should reach All-Star level at the highest level of professional baseball. Cardinal fans should be excited that these two pitching prospects from the Garden State are in their system and will be toeing the rubber in Busch very soon.