The Pittsburgh Pirates have purchased the contract of 22-year-old shortstop Nick King from the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League. He played just four games for the team, going 1-for-14 at the plate and handling all of his chances in the field cleanly.
King was a senior at Georgia this year, where he hit .236/.288/.282 in 55 games, going 13-for-16 in stolen bases and he had a .952 fielding percentage at shortstop. All of those stats were slightly down from his junior year, when he had a .639 OPS, with 16 steals and just eight errors in 54 starts at shortstop. He’s an athletic player, who starred in both football and basketball during high school.
The Pirates have two middle infielders at Morgantown who were injured in the first week (Stephen Alemais and Trae Arbet), so King will likely report there, though nothing has been announced.
UPDATED: The Pirates also signed infield Daniel Cucjen, who spent four seasons at Alabama, two as a teammate of 2015 third round pick Casey Hughston. He has played shortstop, third base and second base during his career. He’s 23 years old and started 57 games over his college career, including a career high 31 games this season. In 112 at-bats this season, he hit .205/.264/.250, with eight walks and three stolen bases. He has been assigned to Bristol.
Cucjen is the son of Romy Cucjen, who was a fourth round draft in 1982. He reached Triple-A for two seasons, playing his last year with Indianapolis in 1990 when the Indians were a Montreal Expos affiliate.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Feed Nick King enough pig meat, and he might turn into a top pitching prospect.
(This joke is bad, and I should feel bad.)
Darn, I was hoping they signed me. But I’m a first baseman playing in a rec league, not a shortstop in an independent league. Also, my triple slash is worse than his.
Oh well, maybe next year.
I waited 40 years to sign me. I was a lefty could pitch, play 1b and OF.
(not very well, of course, but still….I WAS LH!!!)
I’m hitting a robust .181/.250/.273 right now, but my K% has finally dropped below 40%, so I’ve got that going for me. Just in case you guys were wondering.
Check the lineage – with stats like that, he has to be a relative of somebody in the front office.
The next Kratz
I’m sure the Pirates just love the defense, speed and athleticism. If he can eventually hit, great. If not, you can never have enough solid players on your lower level teams to make everyone around them better.
another fill in for a fill in.
He’s is probably someone the Pirates were scouting, but he was further down on their draft list and they never got to him. He will probably be nothing, but you have someone who is very athletic with speed and defense at shortstop. He was also a two year starter at a major college, so he has some good experience. Can’t hurt to add him and hope something clicks. You never know what can happen when multi-sport stars concentrate on one sport
Already looking to King/Kang left side of the infield
Sorry, he has to change his first name to “Kevin” if he hopes to compete at the middle infield position.
(Rich, I understand PBC is looking at a Chinese 1B named “Kong,” so you can envision a double play from…….!”)