The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide will be released later this week, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, 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 ten prospects over the next week. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
We start the countdown with the number ten prospect, Nick Kingham.
10. Nick Kingham, RHP
Kingham had a lot of success in his first professional season in State College, and really stood out as a guy to follow going forward. His scouting reports out of the draft said that he threw 90-93 MPH with good life, along with a solid-average changeup and a below average curveball. Kingham displayed the 90-93 MPH fastball this year, and his secondary pitches ended up being much better than advertised.
His curveball looked strong early in the season, fooling a lot of hitters, and used as a strikeout pitch. The focus on fastball command led Kingham to use the curve only two or three times per outing, which led to the pitch getting rusty late in the season. When the pitch was on, it was an average to above-average offering. His best off-speed pitch was his changeup, which was very effective against left handers, grading out as an above-average pitch.
His fastball sits in the 90-93 MPH range early in outings, but he’s not to the point where he can carry that velocity past the first few innings. He attacks both sides of the plate with the fastball, and does a great job using the pitch to set up his off-speed stuff.
Kingham saw some improvements in his fastball velocity heading in to his junior year of high school, and he could see further improvements to all of his pitches as he moves throughout the minors. He profiles as a strong number three starter with the ability to throw 200 innings a year due to his build.
The Pirates will send Kingham to West Virginia for full season ball in 2012. He will get a chance to use his off-speed stuff more often, and will add to his workload. He already has an advantage there, throwing 71 innings in 2011. That could allow him to top 125 innings in 2012, which will be a good step towards building him up towards that workhorse role.