Kyle Kaminska is a six-foot-four inch right hander the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired in a deadline move along with Gaby Sanchez. The Bucs gave up Gorkys Hernandez and a valuable competitive balance pick. Hernandez showed the ability as an outstanding defensive outfielder, but appeared lost at the plate.
The trade seemed very strange at the time and hasn’t looked a whole lot better, but it’s early. The competitive balance pick seemed to outweigh any possible gain from Sanchez and Kaminska. Sanchez had his moments for the Bucs, but we would have to say he didn’t provide the immediate return one would expect in a deadline move.
The trade made little sense until the Bucs sent the 24-year old Kaminska to the Arizona Fall League this month. The sinkerballer made his third Arizona Fall League start of the year and once again pitched effectively lowering his ERA to 2.77 after firing four innings of seven hit baseball. The Ohio native gave up one run, walked one, and struckout four.
When we look at his minor league numbers you find a pitcher that has been hittable to the tune of 551 hits over 488.2 innings pitched. That adds up to 10.1 hits per nine innings while he has struck out 400, or 7.4 per nine innings.
He’s pitched as a professional since he was 18 years old after being selected by the Marlins in the 25th round back in the 2007 draft. Kaminska pounds the zone with some average pitches including a 90ish fastball, but he allowed just 96 walks in his six years in the minors.
So how in the hell is doing rather well in the hitter friendly Arizona Fall League?
If you look at some of the game logs for Kaminska, he has shown a tendency to string strong outings together. Back when he was 19, we saw that he put up some solid numbers in five July starts: 9.9 K/9, with a 30/2 K/BB ratio. But the Marlins eventually tired of the inconsistency and gave up on Kaminska as a starter.
The Pirates got their first glimpse of Kaminska with the Double-A Curve.
The Pirates sent him to the Bradenton Marauders to work solely on being a starter. In his final start he faced his old teammates and guess what? Kaminska was unhittable over six innings.
Looking at his career, Kaminska has produced in spurts. He has shown more consistency with the Pirates. In 12 innings with Altoona, he made one start and came out of the bullpen three times, the right hander struckout 11 in 12 innings while walking none. For Bradenton, he made three starts and allowed ten hits over 16 innings while striking out 11.
It will be interesting to see if he can build on the momentum against the talented bats of the AFL. He has thrown 13 innings thus far for the Scottsdale Scorpions which is tied for the league lead, striking out ten while giving up nine hits. If he can continue his success, his quote from when he pitched six-innings of no-hit baseball in August just might finally come true:
“….that’s my strength, getting ground balls and getting sinkers….I’ve got to work and continue the road to the big legaues. That’s what I’d like to do.”