St. Louis Cardinals: Rob Kaminsky’s winding journey to the MLB

By Scott Mandel

It was a weekend that was filled with major league debuts for the St. Louis Cardinals. One of the players making his debut was Rob Kaminsky.

After a few weeks off the field as the team battled their coronavirus outbreak, the St. Louis Cardinals returned to action against the Chicago White Sox. They had several players making their debuts during the weekend series. Most went well, but one stood out to me. After many trials and setbacks, Rob Kaminsky finally stepped foot on an MLB mound and made his debut with a scoreless inning on Sunday in the 7-2 loss.

DFR: Rob Kaminsky and the young pitching prospects end camp on a ...
Kaminsky, in 2013 as a high school kid just drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals

Fans might remember the name going back all the way to 2013. Kaminsky was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of that draft at the 28th overall pick. As a crafty left-handed starting pitcher, he quickly climbed up the prospect rankings. Reaching as high as number three on the team’s prospect list, he was greeted with high expectations.

In 2014, Kaminsky went 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA in Low-A Peoria. Overall, his career minor league numbers are 29-21 with a sub 3.00 ERA, and he also had a 3-0 showing in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. has more buzz in 2020?Tap to voteChicago CubsVSVSMiami Marlins

In July of 2015, Kaminsky was traded. He was sent to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Brandon Moss. The trade was met with some mixed reactions but Moss performed well for the Cardinals and showcased the game-changing power that he brought to the table.

Kaminsky, meanwhile, dealt with an elbow injury after the trade. While he was solid in 2016, his 2017 season was pretty much lost. He had to deal with some injuries, but he came back and was shifted to the bullpen for the Indians’ minor league system. Because of these injuries, his climb to the majors was stalled for the four-plus years he spent with the Indians.

On December 6, 2019, Kaminsky signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Back with the team in which it all began, it seemed as though his baseball journey had come full circle. Yet, his first major league appearance still eluded him.

The Cardinals selected his contract from their alternate training site on August 15. Officially a major league baseball player, his debut was made the next day. Kaminsky had achieved his first game in the big leagues, and he was able to do it with the team that drafted him.

Although his baseball journey was a winding one full of twists and turns, he was in the major leagues. Still only 25, he has plenty of time to continue to prove that he belongs in the majors. The transition to a bullpen role could help him carve out a valuable role with the Cardinals moving forward.

To be able to reach the highest level of professional baseball is surely an exciting thing. To be able to do that with the team that drafted him is probably the cherry on top. There’s no way of knowing how his career will play out from here, but for now, we can appreciate the story of how Rob Kaminsky reached the major leagues. Even if his path was an unlikely one, he can say that he is a big leaguer for the St. Louis Cardinals.