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The Indians long-term win in trading Brandon Moss for Rob Kaminsky


The Cleveland Indians have traded right fielder and first baseman, Brandon Moss to the St. Louis Cardinals for LHP Rob Kaminsky. Kaminsky is the Cardinals third-rated prospect.

Brandon Moss has struggled mightily in 2015. His isolated power is down below .200 for the first time in four years. This is his first big league season of more than 20 games with an OBP below .300.

Though, one can expect the results to improve in some ways, Moss hasn't been the player he was in Oakland  and the roughly 8-10 million dollars still owed over the next 1 1/3 Indians makes him very expendable despite his power profile. For the Cardinals, Moss covers a hole created by injuries to Matt Adams and Matt Holliday.

For the Indians, having fallen out of contention, the financial commitment to Moss, as well as his recent struggles, have made moving him a slowly increasing priority.

Rob Kaminsky is nationally regarded as a top-100 prospect, as well as one of the top 10 left handed starting pitching prospects in all of baseball. There are classical concerns regarding Kaminsky's size (he's just under six-feet tall) as well as having rather choppy 3/4-slot arm action.

Kaminsky utilizes three pitches. First is the fastball, which sits around 89-90 and Kaminsky can run it up to 93-94. One of the positives people note with regards to Kaminsky is his ability to add and subtract with the fastball.

The second, and best offering, is a curveball. which Kaminsky throws in the high 70's.  Baseball types rave about this offering as it has both significant depth as well as really good command.

Lastly, is the changeup, which appears to be an average offering, and ultimately competent enough to add  a layer to the pitcher-hitter game theory battle.

Now for the early results. When monitoring pitchers at any level, but especially the low minors, the only data of value is K% and BB%. 

In both these regards, Kaminsky has gotten really good results. In A+ Kaminsky is walking just 7.1% and has reduced his walk rate while moving up levels each of the last two years. Further, his K% also improved over his 2014 season from 19.4% to 20.1% while climbing a level.

Both of these are very positive indicators as is Kaminsky's batted ball profile.
As you can see, Kaminsky is ground ball dominant, which is tremendously advantageous as a pitcher, because it limits the frequency of extra base hits.

Obviously, acquiring a low minors starting pitcher has risk, as does every acquisition, but it appears that Kaminsky has an advanced feel for pitching, a full repertoire and is getting outstanding results. This is exactly the type of pitching prospect to bet on.

A couple of further impacts of this deal worth considering; Kaminsky becomes a really strong asset which can be moved for a center fielder if the Indians choose. This appears to be a deal where the asset was simply too good for the Indians to pass on.

Financially, this clears roughly $8 million, depending on arbitration off the Indians 2016 payroll, which creates more flexibility.

For the Indians in a lost season, this appears to be an absolute win.
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