Nick Kingham Will Be A Factor In The Pirate Rotation Soon

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

Due to injuries, Nick Kingham has become a bit of a forgotten man in the Pirate system. However, this will be changing soon.

In the 4th round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Nick Kingham. Quickly, Kingham began to climb the Pirates’ minor league system and shoot up their lists of top prospects.

In fact, Nick Kingham became one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Entering both the 2014 and 2015 seasons he was a top-100 prospect according to Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

Kingham seemed primed to make his Major League debut in 2015. He started the season at Triple-A Indianapolis and made 6 starts logging 31 1/3 innings. All signs pointed toward him joining the Pirate rotation in the summer of 2015. However, this is when the injury bug began to strike.

Nick Kingham would only make 6 starts at Triple-A in 2015 due to him requiring Tommy John Surgery. This would limit his 2016 season to just 10 starts across a trio of minor league levels. These levels were the Florida Gulf Coast League, High-A, and Double-A.

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When Spring Training began in 2017 Nick Kingham was ready to start the season in the Triple-A rotation. However, an ankle injury late in spring would derail this. Due to this injury, he did not join the Triple-A rotation until early May.

Since joining the rotation, though, Kingham has been healthy and is pitching like it. This is finally putting him in a position to be knocking on the door of the Major Leagues. And it is well deserved for Nick Kingham.

So far this season Nick Kingham has made 3 starts at Triple-A and a total of 4 minor league starts when you include a rehab start for High-A Bradenton.

In these 4 starts, he has pitched 23 innings. Kingham has allowed just 14 hits, 1 home run, and has walked just 6 batters in these 23 innings of work. His strong control numbers are great to see as one of the trademarks of Nick Kingham throughout his minor league career has been great control numbers (2.50 BB/9 in 603 2/3 career MiLB innings pitched).

Nick Kingham has allowed 6 earned runs (2.35 ERA) in his 23 MiLB innings this season. He owns a 3.85 FIP and a GO/AO of 0.73. While you would like to see a few more ground balls, that is still nothing concerning.

Throughout his professional career, Nick Kingham has been known for his plus changeup and plus curveball. It is a rare combination for a starting pitcher to when neither of their two best pitches is a fastball, and this is one of the traits that helps make Kingham such a promising prospect.

Prior to the start of the season, Neal Huntington said that Nick Kingham is a pitcher that the organization expected would help the Pirates at some point this season. Right now, Kingham is well on his way to making that happen. At some point this summer, probably around the All-Star Break, Nick Kingham will be in the Major Leagues.

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While injuries have delayed the process, Nick Kingham still has all of the tools needed to be a very good Major League starting pitcher. He is now closer than he has ever been to joining the Pirate rotation, and he should be a factor in it sooner rather than later. Hopefully for Kingham and the Bucs, once he does arrive he will pitch like the former top-100 prospect he once was.