One of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top pitching prospects has been granted a fourth option year for the 2018 season
On September 12th our good friend Jake Smail of Cannonball Corner mentioned that Nick Kingham could be eligible for a fourth option year in 2018. This was due to Nick Kingham failing to accrue a full season’s worth of time in 2011, 2015, and 2016 as a result of injuries.
On Tuesday, Pirates Prospects confirmed that Nick Kingham will be granted a fourth option year in 2018. So, what does this mean for Kingham and the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Had Nick Kingham not been granted a fourth option year then the Pirates would have faced two option. Either have Kingham make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training, or risk losing him on waivers.
There is no chance Neal Huntington and the Pirates would have risked losing a former top-100 prospect on waivers without giving him a fair shake at the Major League level. This means the Pirates would have placed Kingham on the Opening Day roster in 2018, but where?
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As it currently stands the Pirate rotation seems pretty set in stone. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and – sigh – Ivan Nova are locks for the 2018 starting rotation. It is nearly impossible to envision a scenario where Trevor Williams does not make the Opening Day rotation for 2018, while Chad Kuhl has a strong case to make as well.
Factor in Steven Brault being in the mix, as well as the possibility of the Pirates adding starting pitching help this offseason, and it is tough to envision a scenario where Nick Kingham would have had a spot in the team’s 2018 Opening Day rotation.
This more than likely means Kingham would have started the 2018 season in the Pirate bullpen. Doing this could have stunted the growth of Kingham which is not what the Pirates want to do. Especially since after making just 42 starts in the minor leagues between 2014, 2015, and 2016, Kingham had a strong 2017 season (3.59 FIP in 20 starts) at Triple-A.
Nick Kingham is best served to be starting a game every fifth day in 2018. Due to him being granted a fourth option year for 2018, he can now do this at Triple-A to start the season. This will allow Kingham to finish refining his game at Triple-A, before making his Major League debut at some point in the summer of 2018.
Being granted a fourth option year for 2018 is a great thing for Nick Kingham and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The young right-handed pitcher can now start the season in the Triple-A rotation while he finishes polishing off his game, before taking the Major League by storm later in the season.