It was a tale of two Nick Kingham’s on a cool spring Saturday night in Akron, Ohio. Kingham dazzled with consistency during the first three frames, working ahead in the count, repeating his delivery, and working quickly. During his final two frames, Kingham saw diminished control and got out of his quick rhythm on the mound.
On the night Kingham threw three pitches to a line up which featured top Indian prospects Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin and former half season big league wonder Bryan LaHair. Below is a break down of Kingham’s pitches on the night.
On a cool night in Akron, Nick Kingham’s fastball velocity was a little below expectations according to the readings from the Canal Park stadium gun. The fastball sat all night in the 91-92 MPH range. Not once did it go above the 92 mark and very rarely did it drop below the 91 mark. One thing you can say is that the pitch was consistent. I expected to see some slightly higher readings from Kingham. As for the pitch itself, in the first three innings Kingham located the pitch well and was consistently hitting the bottom of the zone for strikes. The majority of balls the Akron batters hit early on against Kingham produced weak contact, with the exception of a Joey Wendle double down the right field line. Of the six strikeouts Kingham produced, four of them came in the first three innings. In the fourth and fifth innings, Kingham lost the solid command of his fastball and began to miss and elevate the pitch. Akron took advantage of this and their patient batters began working counts, producing walks and hits.
Kingham seemed comfortable throwing his curveball. The pitch helped keep the Akron lineup off-balance, and at times locked up the predominantly left-handed hitting line up. He also used the pitch well against the right-handed batters in the lineup, getting them to chase the pitch as it tailed out of the zone away from the hitter. Kingham’s curve sat in the 81-83 MPH range throughout his five innings of work.
Kingham did not seem to use his change much in this game, and when he did, the pitch looked a lot like his fastball. On the Canal Park gun this pitch was hitting 86 to 87 MPH. Of his offerings, this was the pitch the Akron line up seemed to have the most success against. In the fifth inning, Franciso Lindor lined a double off an 87 MPH changeup. That was followed up by a hard hit single to center by Bryan LaHair, also on a changeup that came in at 86 MPH. This could have been due to his fastball velocity being a bit low and too close to his changeup speeds. If Kingham’s fastball was sitting a little higher or the changeup was a little lower, velocity-wise, then this pitch may have been more effective on the night.
Kingham looks like a potential workhorse on the mound. He has the body to be a 200 innings a year guy. He still needs to continue to build consistency throughout his starts. As mentioned above, Kingham looked the part of a pitcher ready to take the step to the next level early on. If he can start to put it together for longer stretches, he won’t be in Altoona by the end of the year. While his fastball was consistent, I hope to see the pitch sit slightly higher if I get to see him start again in the coming months.