Robert Kaminsky is one of the best pitching prospects in high school. The lefty has that mixture scouts love: velocity and control. Kaminsky is a Jew and throws left-handed, which invariably means he gets compared to that greatest of hard-throwing left-handed Jewish pitchers: Sandy Koufax.
“Sandy Koufax was a Jewish guy playing baseball, and so am I, and that’s rare,” Kaminsky told the New York Daily News. “Even being in the same sentence with him would be an incredible honor.”
Kaminsky isn’t exactly downplaying the comparison either. Last year’s New Jersey State Player of the Year has one very prized possession that sits on a shelf next to his bed: A Sandy Koufax baseball card.
The importance of Koufax was inculcated in Kaminsky from an early age. The precocious ballplayer’s father, Alan,was also very much a fan, and imparted the Koufax lore on his son, especially the story of how he sat during a playoff game because it fell on Yom Kippur.
“(That) decision has been a source of inspiration for legions of sports fans, both Jews and non-Jews, (and) has taken on legendary significance,” Alan Kaminsky told the New York Daily News.
Kaminsky might just end up getting his chance to emulate Koufax in the pros. Scouts are salivating over his skill-set and he’s projected as a top pick in this spring’s Major League Baseball draft.
“He’s a major-league curveball right now,” Frank Rendini, a Jersey-based scout for the Seattle Mariners, told the Daily News.
Adds an NL scout who asked to remain nameless, “There’s no question about his ability. The big point he has in his favor is that he’s a pitcher more than a thrower. He understands you don’t have to break the radar gun to win. For the most part he can put the ball right where he wants. That’s not something you see from very many kids his age.”
Kaminsky’s dominance at the high school level is obvious. His record for the season is 4-0 and he hasn’t given up an earned run in 26 innings.
“I’ve been doing this 26 years and he’s not just the best player I’ve ever coached; he’s one of the best people I’ve ever coached,” Frank Salvano, Kaminsky’s coach at St. Joseph Regional High School of Montvale, N.J, says. “If you walked in our locker room, you couldn’t tell Rob from anybody else. He just wants to be one of the guys and help his team win games.”
Kaminsky, whose Bar Mitzvah was baseball-themed, has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of North Carolina, but his future remains up in the air, especially considering the possible payday that would accompany a high draft slot. Whatever happens, it can’t hurt to have such a model of excellence inspiring him.
Watch a video of Kaminsky below: