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Kaminsky makes big impression

Showcase : : Story
Nick Kappel        
Published: Saturday, June 16, 2012

The PG National Showcase is an opportunity for high school players to show their talents in front of hundreds of college and professional scouts. On Saturday, LHP Robert Kaminsky (2013, St. Joseph Regional HS, Englewood Cliffs, NJ) did that and then some.

Kaminksy struck out the side in the first inning of Game 10 as he worked in the 89-92 mph range, touching 94. And then—as if 94 mph from a 17-year-old left-hander wasn’t enough—he pounded the strike zone with a high-70s hammer curveball. He also flashed a “nasty change-up with run,” according to a PG scout.

That curveball was really sharp and had a lot of depth to it,” said PG Scouting Coordinator, Todd Gold. “But more impressive than that, he commanded it well. It’s the best curveball I’ve seen here, and it’s right up there with the best offerings we’ve seen from any pitcher here.”

In the second inning, with all eyes now on him, Kaminsky continued his dominance, turning in what Gold said was “Probably the single-most impressive performance we’ve seen on the mound here at the National Showcase.”

Kaminsky’s first victim of the second inning reached on a dropped third strike after whiffing at a monster curve. He froze the next hitter on strike three—another yacker—prompting one major league scout to say, “This guy is out there with a dirty paintbrush.”

The third batter was retired on—you guessed it—another curve. Kaminsky punched out the final batter of the inning on a 91 mph fastball.

All told, he struck out each of the seven batters he faced, four in the second inning alone, three of them on his curveball.

This is the kind of stage where players go from being good prospects to very high level prospects,” Gold said. “And he just did that.”

I felt great,” Kaminsky said in the dugout after his dominating performance. “Every kid (here) is going to a major D-I college. It’s different than high school ball or any other experience. I’ve been to a bunch of tournaments with Perfect Game, but this is my first showcase. I was told I had to come here and I’m glad I did. This is something else.”

Kaminsky has impressed in previous PG tournaments, including the 2011 PG WWBA World Championship and the 2011 16U and 17U PG BCS Finals. His top velocity in those events was 91 mph. Since then, he’s worked hard to improve.

I fixed something in my mechanics,” he said. “Before, I was falling forward. I finally firmed that up by working with my pitching coach. Now, it works.”

Kaminsky’s father played high school baseball and has been a big influence on Robert’s progress. His uncle, the “pitching guru,” gives him pointers as well.

My uncle has helped a lot,” he said. “Actually, he’s at home watching (on the Perfect Game/eCoach Sports Network iHigh broadcast). He loves Perfect Game stuff.”

Kaminsky has yet to commit to a college, but it’s not because he doesn’t have any offers. In fact, he has about 15 right now.

I kind of have it narrowed down, to the ACC or SEC,” he said. “But everything is an option right now: Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and others.”

If he keeps pitching like he did today on the big stage, he’ll get several more offers.

It’s unbelievable,” Kaminsky said about playing in front of some 300 scouts. “It gets you hyped up. It’s easy to perform in these situations because you don’t have to amp yourself up. It’s just an awesome experience.”

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