After every season (dating back to 2012), we’ve spent time looking at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals that season. They might have gotten a couple of innings, they might have played every day, but if they played, they get a post. Usually, I like to term this like the players are packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. This year, of course, was anything but typical. So we’ll look at every player, we’ll take in some of their stats, but we won’t be giving out grades this season or delving too much into the positive/negative. There are just too many variables in the Year of COVID for that to be reasonable. As he has for the past few years, cardinalsgifs has lent his enormous talents to our header image and we thank him for it!
Player: Rob Kaminsky
Season stats: 1.93 ERA, 5 G, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.19 FIP, 1.071 WHIP, 5.8 K/9, -0.1 bWAR
Postseason stats: DNP
Statcast: 0.0% barrel %, 90.3 exit velocity, 33.3% hard hit %, .239 xwOBA
Best Statcast category: Did not qualify
Worst Statcast category: Did not qualify
On COVID IL: No
Overview: The story of Rob Kaminsky is one of those great baseball stories. Traded off as a big prospect for Brandon Moss, he never made it to the bigs with the Indians and eventually found himself a minor league free agent. The Cards signed him, probably just to see what he might have left, but with COVID-19 going through the team, most notably the pitching staff, Kaminsky was able to make his major league debut as a Cardinal, eventually making his way to the mound at Busch Stadium. Baseball, man.
Kaminsky didn’t do a bad job, either. He had two scoreless innings before having to be sent down as COVID IL players started to return. He returned in September for three more turns. His last appearance, when he went 2/3rds of an inning against the Brewers and allowed a run, was the only time where he didn’t go a full inning and the only time he allowed a run. (He also let his two inherited runners to score in that outing, the only two he had all year.) His first four outings were pretty sharp, though. In those four innings he struck out three, allowed two hits, and even picked up a hold in a game against the Cubs that the team eventually lost.
He did only pitch in low leverage spots (save for two plate appearances that qualified as medium leverage) and you wonder, in a more normal season, if he’d been able to work his way into a more important role with the club. Even if not, it’s nice to see a prospect return and make his mark, as small as it might be, with the team that drafted him. (This statement does not apply to the potential of Adam Wainwright returning to Atlanta.)
Outlook: Due to a roster crunch, Kaminsky wound up being removed from the 40-man in September. He cleared waivers and remained in the organization, but due to his service time will be a free agent this winter. I would expect the Cards to resign him and store him at Memphis, with an eye to letting him ride the shuttle up and down if possible. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Kaminsky in a Cardinal uniform.