Pittsburgh Pirates Top 30 Prospects: Ranking 12-7

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

#8, Right Handed Pitcher, Nick Kingham

The Pirates drafted Kingham in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He was one of nine pitchers – seven from high school – that the Pirates took with their first 10 picks that year.  Kingham, who is from Las Vegas, would have already made his Major League debut if it was not for Tommy John surgery in 2015.

After a start against the New York Yankees this spring, co-editor Nick wrote this about Kingham:

"“The pitch he threw the most was a two-seam fastball.  The fastball sat at 93 miles per hour, but his velocity ranged from 91-95 through his two innings. After his fastball, Kingham used his changeup the most.  It looked like a circle-change coming out of his hand, and faded down and in against righties as a circle change does.  It looked like a plus pitch, he mainly threw it from 85-86 miles per hour.  There is enough movement and enough variance in speed from his fastball that it should be a plus pitch for him as he develops. The last pitch to look at is his curveball.  Coming up through the minors, Kingham’s curveball has always been seen as a plus pitch.  It is similar to Jameson Taillon’s where it moves in a 12-6 direction.  It has relatively big break, and it looks like a pitch that will freeze hitters, or they will swing over the top of it pounding it into a ground ball out or a swing and miss. This pitch mainly sat in the low 80s, hitting 81 numerous times.”"

While Kingham won’t sit in the mid-90s despite being 6’6″, he does possess a fastball with nice movement.  His changeup is his next best pitch, and he will throw the pitch more than his curveball, and MLB Pipeline called it his “bread and butter pitch.”  His hook is his worst pitch, and as Nick noticed it breaks 12-6, and it will be an above average pitch for him going forward.  However, do not expect it to be as good as Jameson Taillon’s bender.  His stuff plays well, and he should be a middle of the rotation arm for the Pirates.

Kingham has the potential to be up in June (Super 2), and he will have a larger impact than Steven Brault or Trevor Williams.  Look for Kingham to follow the same path as Taillon did, starting the year in Indianapolis, making the Majors, and skipping a start here and there.

#7, Third Baseman, Ke’Bryan Hayes

After taking Kevin Newman with their first pick, the Pirates selected Ke’Bryan Hayes at pick number 32.  The now 20-year-old was drafted out of Concordia Lutheran High School in Texas. Also, he is the son of former Pirate Charlie Hayes.

Ke’Bryan only posted a 106 wRC+ last season, but he did deal with injuries, as a back injury sidelined him most of July and August.  He only played in two games in August before he was shut down for the season.

Hayes does make solid contact and he should develop more power as he matures.  At just 19 years old, and a -2.4 year age differential, Hayes did post a .130 ISO for West Virginia, showing he has projectable power and will develop more as he grows.

Hayes possesses good hands and a strong arm, which should allow him to stay at third base in the future, and he can develop into being more than that.  MLB Pipeline says,

"“Hayes nonetheless has the footwork and range, not to mention excellent hands, instincts and a plus arm to be an above-average defender at the hot corner.”"

While he will never be a Nolan Arendao or Adrian Beltre, Hayes developing into an above average defensive third baseman will be huge for the Pirates.

Getting Hayes healthy again and letting his bat further develop will be huge in 2017.  He is the best third base prospect in the system. Furthermore, he has the potential to be an everyday starter for the club.