- Full name Joshua Thomas Kinney
- Born 03/31/1979 in Coudersport, PA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Quincy University
- Debut 07/03/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kinney had accepted a job as a fly-fishing tour guide, packed his car and was driving away from baseball when the Cardinals signed him off an independent Frontier League team in suburban St. Louis. Five years later, he got six key outs in the National League Division Series, 10 more in the NL Championship Series and three more in the World Series. He didn't allow any runs in the postseason. Pitching coach Dave Duncan lauds Kinney's fearless approach and his ability to generate strikeouts and grounders. He works with an 89-90 mph sinker and a sweeping slider. He throws strikes and keeps the ball down in the zone. But he is what he is: a short reliever who's not overpowering and has little margin for error. He'll continue to succeed as long as he locates his pitches well, and he'll be in trouble if he can't. The Cardinals are counting on him to be a key cog in their bullpen again this year, capable of getting a clutch whiff or groundout when needed.
Kinney had a 2.31 ERA as a senior at NCAA Division II Quincy (Ill.), but he was passed over in the draft and signed with River City in the independent Frontier League. It took just three starts there before the Cardinals snapped him up, and he has moved up quickly if quietly as a reliever. He dominated in high Class A and was even better after a promotion to Double-A in 2003, then went to the Arizona Fall League after the season. Injured in his second AFL appearance, he didn't feel pain but couldn't get anything on the ball. An MRI revealed a partial tear of his labrum and he had shoulder surgery, though he's supposed to be healthy for spring training. Kinney is a sinker/slider pitcher, throwing his fastball at 88-90 mph with hard dowward action. His slider is more sweeping than sharp. He's a groundball pitcher who can come in and get a double-play ball. He doesn't use a changeup very often but doesn't usually need to. His command improved significantly last season, but it needs further refinement for him to be successful against advanced hitters. He'll stay in the bullpen and probably go back to Double-A to open 2004, assuming he's healthy. He could figure into the Cardinals' bullpen plans for 2005.