Prospect Watch: Nick Kingham Continues Recent Stretch of Success

P2 Top 30

A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today. If a player is in the majors for an extended time (Max Moroff), or loses his prospect eligibility, he will be removed from this list. Everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. If a player is out for the season, he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get more active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2017 Mid-Season Update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Mitch Keller, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] include_once (‘./p2-stats/stats_functions.php’);
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2. Austin Meadows, CF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(640457,’B’,’20170804′);
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3. Shane Baz, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(669358,’P’,’20170804′);
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4. Cole Tucker, SS, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(657061,’B’,’20170804′);
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5. Kevin Newman, SS, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(621028,’B’,’20170804′);
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6. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Bradenton -[insert_php] display_top30(663647,’B’,’20170804′);
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7. Will Craig, 1B, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(643269,’B’,’20170804′);
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8. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(553869,’B’,’20170804′);
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9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(621368,’P’,’20170804′);
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10. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Bradenton – [insert_php] display_top30(656543,’P’,’20170804′);
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11. Calvin Mitchell, OF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668751,’B’,’20170804′);
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12. Braeden Ogle, LHP, Bristol – [insert_php] display_top30(669180,’P’,’20170804′);
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13Edgar Santana, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(650828,’P’,’20170804′);
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14. Kevin Kramer, 2B, Altoona -[insert_php] display_top30(596012,’B’,’20170804′);
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15. Steven Brault, LHP, Indianapolis– [insert_php] display_top30(643230,’P’,’20170804′);
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16. Clay Holmes, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(605280,’P’,’20170804′);
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17. Jordan Luplow, LF, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(656669,’B’,’20170804′);
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18. Luis Escobar, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650813,’P’,’20170804′);
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19. Max Kranick, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(668820,’P’,’20170804′);
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20. Steven Jennings, RHP, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(675651,’P’,’20170804′);
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21. Adrian Valerio, SS, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(650832,’B’,’20170804′);
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22. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(592468,’P’,’20170804′);
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23. Conner Uselton, OF, GCL Pirates – Disabled List

24. Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP, Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(596720,’P’,’20170804′);
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25. Eric Wood, 3B, Indianapolis – [insert_php] display_top30(607780,’B’,’20170804′);
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26. Eduardo Vera, RHP, West Virginia – [insert_php] display_top30(622747,’P’,’20170804′);
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27. Logan Hill, LF, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(664930,’B’,’20170804′);
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28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Indianapolis -[insert_php] display_top30(621169,’P’,’20170804′);
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29. Lolo Sanchez, CF, GCL Pirates – [insert_php] display_top30(665975,’B’,’20170804′);
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30. Dario Agrazal, RHP, Altoona – [insert_php] display_top30(642607,’P’,’20170804′);
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P2 Top Performers

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Prospect-Watch-Indy

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Indianapolis won 1-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Nick Kingham. Coming into this game, Kingham had back-to-back outings of one run on eight hits and no walks over seven innings. This was a much different outing, yet similar results. He threw 7.2 shutout innings on three hits, three walks and a hit batter.

The last two outings included Kingham commanding all of his pitches well. This one wasn’t quite there, which led to the walks/HBP and he left some pitches over the middle of the plate. Only three balls were hit well though and all three went for hits. He had a few other soft liners, including one that hit off his left calf, but all resulted in outs, including a double play on one hit to Gift Ngoepe at second base. Everything else was soft contact and there was a lot of it. He had just two strikeouts, while putting up a 12:3 GO/AO ratio. You’d like to see more swing-and-misses (only a small handful in the game), otherwise this was another strong outing for Kingham, who has really turned things around these last three games.

Indianapolis got their only run in the second inning and it would be all they needed. Edwin Espinal and Elias Diaz hit back-to-back singles, each moving up a base on a fielding error. Christopher Bostick hit a chopper to shortstop for the RBI ground out. The Indians didn’t have much offense on the night, so they really needed the big outing from Kingham. Espinal also had a walk, while Diaz added a double. Kingham walked twice. Bostick had two hits. Kevin Newman led off the game with a single and a walk.

Prospect-Watch-Altoona-Curve

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Altoona lost 4-2 to Trenton, as they picked up just two hits in the game. Austin Coley started and wasn’t as sharp as usual, allowing three runs on ten hits over six innings. He was around the plate all game, with no walks, four strikeouts and 60 of his 86 pitches went for strikes. Coley now has a 2.96 ERA in 118.2 innings this season. Tanner Anderson followed and threw two innings, allowing just one unearned run due to a Connor Joe error. He threw three shutout innings in his first relief appearance just four days ago.

The Curve had no luck on offense until a former Pirate came to the mound. They had one hit through seven innings, then Colten Brewer gave up two runs on a hit, walk and two wild pitches. He stayed on for the ninth and got the save. The top six batters in the order for Altoona went 0-for-21. The only hits were singles by Jordan George and Michael Suchy, who each scored a run. Suchy also drew a walk.

Prospect-Watch-Bradenton

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Bradenton lost game one of a doubleheader tonight by a 7-4 score. The Marauders led 4-3 going into the seventh, but reliever Geoff Hartlieb allowed a one out walk-off grand slam. Bret Helton started and was coming off a month of July in which he allowed three runs over 25 innings. He gave up three runs in this outing over 4.2 innings.

Mitchell Tolman had a nice game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a single, double, walk, run scored and a stolen base. He now has 17 doubles on the season. Stephen Alemais had a double, which drove in two runs. He is hitting .469 over ten games since being promoted. Ty Moore had two hits, while Christian Kelley hit his 11th double. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Will Craig both went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Game Two Recap: The Marauders barely showed up in the second game. They got singles from Ke’Bryan Hayes and Casey Hughston, plus walks from Mitchell Tolman and Alfredo Reyes. Those were their only base runners in the game. Both Hughston and Reyes were thrown out stealing, while Hayes was immediately erased on a double play. Tolman stole his tenth base, making him the only runner for Bradenton to reach second base all game. He was also the only runner left on base.

Bradenton lost 3-0 as Sam Street made the spot start, the first of his pro career after 101 straight relief appearances. He gave up three runs in 4.2 innings, then gave way to Jordan Jess, who retired four of the five batters he faced in his High-A debut. He hit a batter and picked up a strikeout.

Prospect-Watch-WV-Power

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CHARLESTON, WV – This time last year I saw Oddy Nunez as a non-prospect. He was a tall, soft throwing lefty with a good slider, destined to pitch in relief in the lower levels, fading out at some point in A-ball. But Nunez came into the year with added velocity, hitting as high as 94 MPH on a consistent basis, and showing continued development with his secondary stuff. The Pirates liked the improvements enough to make him a starter this year in West Virginia.

That means that Nunez has been pitching more innings than ever this year. He just returned from the disabled list after feeling some minor soreness in his shoulder. It coincided with a scheduled day off, so the Pirates were able to stash him on the disabled list. He pitched four innings tonight, and looked fresh, sitting around 90 and topping out at 91.

Nunez was all-around impressive, even though he didn’t flash the 93-94 MPH he was hitting earlier in the year. He was working primarily off his fastball, getting seven strikeouts on the night, and only giving up one hit. The 6′ 8″ lefty has some deception with his delivery, hiding the ball behind his head, and then getting some short arm action before quickly switching to a full extension from a high three-quarters slot. This allowed him to dominate by mostly mixing between his sinker and four-seam fastball, using the sinker more often.

Nunez gave up just one hit, which came after 3.1 innings of no-hit ball. He was relieved by Matt Anderson, who pounded his sinker to the tune of four no-hit innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. Delmarva is a very aggressive club, so a sinker heavy approach is going to get good results against a team swinging away. But a year ago I thought Nunez would be a guy getting outs by working mostly with his off-speed stuff. I didn’t expect him to be dominating with his fastball, even against an aggressive lineup, which made tonight impressive, just like his season so far.

West Virginia quickly got on the board. Adrian Valerio took the first pitch he saw over the left field wall, hitting his eighth homer of the year, and second in as many games. After hits by Carlos Munoz and Albert Baur, the game was broken open by Yoel Gonzalez, who hit a three run shot to make it 4-0. It was the fourth homer for Gonzalez, which was impressive, since he has only been in West Virginia for 11 games.

Oneil Cruz is expected to make his debut in the system tomorrow. – Tim Williams

Prospect-Watch-Morgantown

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Morgantown won 4-1 over State College in a game that was called in the bottom of the fifth due to rain. Ike Schlabach started and had a nice bounce back after his first really tough outing of the season. He got the complete game, allowing one run on five hits and two walks in his five innings. Schlabach had two strikeouts and a 5:4 GO/AO ratio, while throwing 43 of his 76 pitches for strikes. The only run he allowed was on a lead-off homer in the third inning. He now has a 2.31 ERA through nine starts.

The Black Bears scored three runs in the second inning. Robbie Glendinning and Raul Hernandez hit singles, followed by a two-run double from Chris Sharpe. Jared Oliva followed with a single to score Sharpe. In the fourth inning, Glendinning singled on a ball that was misplayed for a two-base error. He then scored on an RBI ground out from Hernandez. Deon Stafford went 1-for-2 to raise his average to .305 through 27 games.

Prospect-Watch-Bristol
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Bristol should get half credit for a win tonight, sending the game into extra innings before losing 4-3 to Kingsport. They are now 9-33, just two losses away from clinching a losing season. Domingo Robles started and put up a solid outing. He gave up two runs (one earned) over 5.2 innings, on three hits and three walks. He struck out four batters and posted an impressive 10:1 GO/AO ratio.

Yondry Contreras had a single, two walks and his fourth stolen base. He now has a six-game hitting streak, with walks in four of those games. Paul Brands had three hits. Huascar Fuentes and Nelson Jorge each had two hits.

The defense continued to be the worst in the system and the Appalachian League. They made four errors in this game, including two by Kyle Watson, who has 14 in 20 games. In 42 games, Bristol has more errors than Altoona, Bradenton and Indianapolis, teams that have played between 65 and 70 more games.

Prospect-Watch-GCL

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The GCL Pirates lost 6-5 to the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon. Austin Shields started and breezed through the first three innings, then ran into trouble in the fourth. He gave up a single and two walks, before a one out ground out scored the first run. Shields was an out away from getting out of the inning, but he gave up a two-run triple. The next batter reached on an error and brought home a fourth run, which was unearned. Angel Vasquez pitched the rest of the game, giving up two runs over 4.1 innings for the loss.

The Pirates got first inning home runs from Lolo Sanchez and Rodolfo Castro, the third of the season for both of them. Castro would add a double and a run scored later in the game. In the second inning, Jeremias Portorreal brought home two runs with a single, giving the Pirates an early 4-0 lead at the time. Blue Jays pitched retired 15 batters in a row at one point and the Pirates had just two hits after the second inning.

Prospect-Watch-DSL

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The DSL Pirates pulled off the opposite results as the GCL team, coming back from a deficit to win by a 6-5 score. The Pirates loaded the bases in the eighth inning, then Williams Calderon hit his fifth triple of the season to give them the lead. That triple was the team’s first hit of the day with runners in scoring position.

Sherten Apostel reached base all four times up with two singles and two walks. He hasn’t been seeing many pitches to hit recently, but still drove in his 43rd run, which leads the league. Apostel now has 40 walks, which ties him for the team lead with Francisco Acuna and ranks him in the top five in the league.

Venezuelan lefty Jose Marcano has turned into the best pitcher on the team recently. After today’s five inning performance, he has made three straight starts (16 innings combined) with no earned runs allowed. That has his ERA down to 2.63 through 51.1 innings. Marcano struck out six batters, which represents a new career best.

  • rickmontgomery
    August 6, 2017 7:28 am

    Yoel Gonzalez; this week’s Mason Martin?

  • Kingham with a off season to continue his conditioning looks to be on the roster next year. We will see how Williams and Kuhl finish up and Tallion gets back on track. Cole is the only real commodity that carries a significant trade appeal.

    • Nova for a lefty bat with some pop, preferably a third baseman. If Kang comes back then it’s a good problem to have.

  • John: The Pirates liked a lot of what they saw in Rodolfo Castro last year as a SS and as a hitter with some pop in the bat. But, it seems as if the Pirates are giving Vincent Ngoepe a lot more action at SS while Castro is seeing more play at 3B/2B. Ngoepe has the defensive tools like his older brother, but also the same lack of talent with the bat.

    Castro is not the defensive player that Ngoepe is, but his overall game seems to have the much, much higher ceiling. Right now, Ngoepe has played at SS in 20 games and Castro 8 games – I would think the opposite would be more beneficial for the club.

    • Castro is playing 3B right now because Jesse Medrano is out with a hand injury and he was supposed to get the bulk of playing time at third base. Francisco Mepris was injured last week, so that forced Castro into full-time duty at third base. They only have three healthy infielders right now (not including first basemen). Ngoepe has never played third base and Cristopher Perez is a lot worse there than Castro.

  • Kingham will be in the Pen next year for Buccos

    • There are no other options really, unless he wins the 5th spot in the rotation. He has to make the team, has no more options left.

    • It will be an interesting offseason.

      There will be a spot made for Glasgow.

      Kingham has earned a look…that’s two slots.

      Don’t assume that’s Williams and Kuhl that are going to go…they’ve been just as strong as everyone else in the rotation.

      This offseason everything is on the table. No one may go…any of the top five might be shipped off

      • It should be interesting, and the Pirates have plenty of MLB and AAAA SP, and there are many teams that would appreciate getting some of that pitching talent.

        Will the Pirates wait for that phone to ring, or will they identify specific needs and players to fill those needs and then push the agenda? That’s what I would like to see them do and have that agenda prepped and ready to go by the end of the season.

      • If other GMs have been paying attention, Williams and Kuhl should be building up decent value. One or both of them might make the most sense to move or Nova. Before TJ, Kingham had higher upside than either of Williams or Kuhl.

        • Before TJ I liked Kingham better than Taillon. But that was before Taillon learned to keep the ball down in the zone.

      • Nova or Cole would get the highest return.

    • rickmontgomery
      August 5, 2017 6:44 am

      Not only will the off season be interesting, the competition in Spring Training should be fierce.

    • He has way too much value as a starter. He’s got a higher ceiling than everyone but Keller and Hearn in the minors. He was top 10 before TJ and I think he still can be a very good #3 in the majors.

  • Is lantigua hurt?

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