Prospect Notebook: A Look at Nick Kingham’s Constantly Increasing Velocity

Nick Kingham was sitting 93-95 MPH through two innings today.

Nick Kingham was sitting 93-95 MPH through two innings today.

Nick Kingham pitched his first game today against the New York Yankees minor league system. Kingham started the Double-A game, going two innings while allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The right-hander ran into some trouble in the first inning, getting hit around and having some trouble with his fastball command. After a visit to the mound from pitching coach Justin Meccage, Kingham responded with two quick outs, including striking out the last batter of the inning.

“He just said attack,” Kingham said of what Meccage told him. “Go get the hitter, don’t try to trick him, or do anything, or falling behind and trying to use too much off-speed. Just go ahead and get the fastball, attack with that, and establish that, and work off that.”

The right-hander noted that he had some trouble locating his fastball today, which made it harder to establish the pitch and use his other offerings. One thing that did stand out was his velocity. Kingham was sitting 93-95 MPH throughout his two innings, hitting 95 pretty frequently. In the last two years he’s seen his velocity slowly creep up to the mid-90s. When I saw him in State College in 2011 he was 90-93 MPH in the early innings. Last year in Spring Training he was 92-94, touching 95 a few times. He was touching 95-96 throughout the year. Today he was consistently 93-95.

“I definitely feel like I’m getting stronger every year I come back for Spring, and with a little more [velocity],” Kingham said.

A few weeks ago I spoke with Larry Broadway about Kingham. Broadway praised Kingham’s work to get control of his body.

“He’s done well from a physical standpoint,” Broadway said. “He’s maturing. He’s strong. He’s leaned up. From a pitching standpoint he’s got really good control of his body right now. All of these guys, when you take risks on big, long, tall, lanky high school guys, it takes a while to get control of the body. He’s done a great job of that. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he goes about his work very seriously. You watch him throw his throwing program, you watch him throw in the pen, and there’s a sense of professionalism that he’s starting to gain and going about his work every day. And it carries over on to the field.”

One problem Kingham has had in the past is that he hasn’t been able to hold his velocity after the first few innings. The velocity always tends to drop a few MPH after 3-4 innings, sometimes as low as the upper 80s. It’s too early to tell if that will be the case for Kingham this year, since he’s only to the point of throwing two innings in a start.

Kingham is a very promising pitcher. Normally his fastball is on, and he throws it down in the zone with good velocity and movement. The added velocity over the years — going from low to mid 90s — only makes that fastball better. He also has a curveball and a changeup which both can be above-average pitches. He has the frame to be a 200 inning per year workhorse. All of that combined gives him a chance to be a number three starter one day. The right-hander will most likely start the 2013 season in Bradenton.

 

Brian Esposito Signed

Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported yesterday that the Pirates had signed catcher Brian Esposito. I confirmed today that Espositio was coming in as a player coach, meaning he’s probably not going to be playing for any of the affiliates.

 

Pitcher Notes

**Vic Black came on in the 9th inning of the Triple-A game and dominated. He started out with a strikeout on a 97 MPH fastball at the knees. That came two pitches after an 83 MPH slider at the knees, which was borderline and went for a ball. Black was consistently throwing 95-97 MPH today, working with his fastball and slider combo.

**Zack Dodson pitched two innings after Kingham, giving up one run on three hits, with a walk and two strikeouts. His curve has always been a good pitch, and it was on today. His first strikeout was from his curveball, and the second was on a fastball looking. Dodson was mostly sitting 88-90 MPH with his fastball.

**Mike Colla came on to pitch an inning in relief in the Triple-A game, and was 89-91 with his two-seam fastball.

**Ethan Hollingsworth got the start in the Triple-A game. I didn’t get to see much of him since I was focused on Kingham and Dodson. Hollingsworth pitched 2.2 shutout innings, allowing three hits, no walks, and striking out two. He was 87-89 MPH with his fastball.

**David Bromberg was 87-90 MPH with his fastball. The Pirates added him as a minor league free agent over the off-season. He’s got a really jerky delivery, which could add some deception.

**One sleeper reliever to watch is Emmanuel DeLeon, who was throwing 94-96 MPH. That’s typical for DeLeon, although it was interesting that he was throwing in the Double-A game, since he only has 39 innings above shot-season ball. He threw a shutout inning, allowing no hits, one walk, and striking out one.

 

Position Player Notes

**Stefan Welch had a hard hit ball down the first base line today for a double. Welch has shown some power in the minor leagues, hitting 13 homers in 440 at-bats between high-A and Double-A last year. He also homered in the World Baseball Classic.

**Andy Vasquez was playing center field in the Double-A game, and showing some nice range. He made an easy play running back to catch a ball that was hit pretty hard near the wall in deep center. Vasquez has played mostly infield in his career, but is athletic enough that he can play anywhere. Still, his upside seems to be a utility player in the upper levels of the minors, since he doesn’t do much with the bat.

**Charlie Cutler, who has been catching for the Triple-A team the last few days, hit a grand slam today. Cutler will probably return to Altoona this year as the backup catcher, but could spend some time as a backup in Indianapolis.

**Jerry Sands and Clint Robinson were playing in the Triple-A game today. Both had a few hard hit balls.

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pirate City Notes: Oliver to be a Starter; When will Heredia be in West Virginia?

Next Story »

Pirate City Notes: Jameson Taillon and A.J. Burnett Starting Today

  • emjayinTN

    Kingham is slowly developing as a guy with a future in the Rotation. He will pitch all of this year as a 22 year old with only about 200 innings on his arm, most of that happening last year with 127 innings at Lo A. I would not be surprised if he added another mph or two this year, with all of his games being at Hi A in Bradenton. He started 27 games in Lo A in 2012, and his K/W was 117/36, better than a 3 to 1 ratio, and almost averaging a K/IP. Cole and Taillon are ahead of him, as are Brandon Cumpton and Phil Irwin – a nice situation for the Pirates. Anything on Cumpton – he posts excellent numbers but is not a big thrower – just seems to know how to pitch with what he has – sort of a Correia-type?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

      agree….you can never have too much pitching.

      it is a welcome sign, totally opposite what we’ve had in previous regimes when all we seemed to have were some soft tossers.

      • emjayinTN

        A good indication of how pitiful it was can be seen in the minimal amount of time that Duke and Maholm spent in the minors – 3 yrs for Duke and 2 for Maholm, and then each ST we wondered if John Van Benschotten or Bryan Bullington would be ready.

  • buster09

    emjayinTN : In case you didn’t get to see many of the Orginization’s pitchers in ” the Littlefield days “,you only had to look at the numbers. I subjected myself to about 65 games @ AA at that time,and pitiful doesn’t even begin to describe the pitching during that period ! All it took was for a kid to come up from Lynchburg and throw a good game or two and he was either sent to Nashville or Indy and treated like a savior. Depressing….

Latest Analysis

  • Tarpley Brault

    Will the Snider Trade Result in the Pirates Finally Having a Left-Handed Starting Prospect?

    10 hours ago

    Despite adding plenty of pitching through the draft over the last several years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been short on the amount of quality left-handed pitching in their ...

    Read More
  • Connor Joe 2

    Meet Connor Joe: The First Round Pick You Know Nothing About

    16 hours ago

    This site is now in its seventh year of existence. For the last four years, I’ve been doing this full-time, allowing me to see every affiliate throughout the year, along ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What is the Difference Between Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton?

    1 day ago

    Mel Rojas Jr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The son of the former big league closer had ...

    Read More
  • Jose Tabata

    The Details of Jose Tabata’s New Swing

    3 days ago

    On Friday I wrote about how Jose Tabata talked to Marlon Byrd over the off-season, aimed at changing his swing to add some leverage, lift the ball, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What Led to Keon Broxton’s Breakout Year in Altoona?

    4 days ago

    Keon Broxton used to be one of the top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. Baseball America ranked him as high as tenth in the system ...

    Read More
  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    5 days ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement