The Cleveland Indians minor league fire sale – more or less the equivalent of a propane flame – continued on Thursday afternoon as the ball club looked to move another one of its impending free agents, underrated thumper Brandon Moss, to the St. Louis Cardinals. The move comes just two days after shipping platoon outfielder David Murphy to the Angels.
Moss, a former top prospect turned prospect bust turned 30-homer threat, wrapped up his brief stint in the AL Central with a bit of a lackluster showing at the Corner Carnegie and Ontario; the lefty-swinging first baseman/corner outfielder batted a lowly .217/.288/.407 with a team-leading 15 homeruns while donning the Block C. His overall production, per Weighted Runs Created Plus, fell 6% below the league average mark, his worst showing since 2009.
The Cardinals’ new acquisition provides insurance down the stretch as All-Star left fielder Matt Holliday continues to be hampered by a wonky quadriceps. Moss still offers up plenty of power in a power-deficient environment, and despite being pigeonholed into a silly platoon role – he’s sporting career platoon splits of .241/.319/.462 and .252/.326/.414 – he should be capable of playing four or five days a week during Holliday’s stay on the DL.
As for the Tribe, well, they were able to flip a nondescript minor league second baseman who’s failed to stand out against younger competition over the past two years (Joey Wendle) into a solid left-handed pitching prospect in a roundabout way by rostering – and paying Moss – for a couple months of the season.
Kaminsky, a 2013 first round pick, made his High Class A debut in 2015, throwing 94.2 innings of solid ball; he’s averaged 7.51 punch outs and just 2.66 free passes per innings. The best part: the 5-foot-11 southpaw is just one of four qualified 20-year-old hurlers in the Florida State League season. And of those four pitchers, Kaminsky’s overall production stands head and shoulders above his peers. Hell, he paces the entire Florida State League in ERA (2.09) and falls to second in Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP (2.58).
Kaminsky isn’t overly dominant – he’s never missed a whole lot of bats in his career – and some of his success this season is fluky – he hasn’t allowed a homerun in 94.2 innings – but he does limit base on balls with the best of them and generates a ton of action on the ground. He essentially has the perfect mix of age, poise, and success to suggest that he’s capable of developing into a back-of-the-rotation caliber starting pitcher – a flat-out steal considering the club dealt their way from a Quad-A middle infielder into a promising young arm in eight months’ time.