Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #10 – Nick Kingham
The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Jin-De Jhang, C
18. Vic Black, RHP
13. Tony Sanchez, C
11. Clay Holmes, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 10 prospect, Nick Kingham.
10. Nick Kingham, RHP
Kingham showed a lot of promise during his first year in State College. He came in with a 90-93 MPH fastball with good life, and displayed flashes of an above-average curveball and changeup. The secondary pitches struggled at times throughout the year, mostly due to the heavy fastball approach.
Heading into the 2012 season, Kingham’s stuff looked better. In Spring Training he saw an increase in his velocity, hitting 95 consistently, and sitting 90-93 early in the outings. He saw that velocity drop in the later innings, going down to the upper 80s by the fifth frame. As he gets older and stronger, he should be able to maintain that velocity, and might be able to consistently work in the mid-90s.
Kingham threw his curve and changeup more often in West Virginia, and saw both pitches improve. They both have the potential to be above-average pitches, and the curve has the look of a strikeout pitch.
The right-hander struggled at the start of the season, putting up an 8.59 ERA in his first five starts. He settled down, and really hit his groove in the second half, posting a 3.69 ERA in 68.1 innings after the South Atlantic League All-Star break. That included a 61:17 K/BB ratio, and a month of August where he had a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 innings with a 28:6 K/BB ratio.
Kingham has looked like a very polished pitcher for his age. He’s got good fastball command, with the ability to throw the pitch on a downward plane and to either side of the plate. His curveball acts as a strikeout pitch when it’s on, and his changeup does its job to take care of left-handers. He has the build of a future workhorse, and is already seeing his inning count rising, throwing 127 innings in his second full season.
His second half numbers earned him a promotion to Bradenton in 2013. During the 2013 season he will need to continue working on getting his off-speed pitches to their full potential. As he gets stronger he should get to the point where he holds his velocity deeper into the game. He’s got a good chance at a plus fastball and two above-average off-speed pitches, plus great command. That would make him a strong number three starter with the potential for 200 innings a year.