In the next installment of our Pittsburgh Pirates‘ top 10prospects series, we have reached No. 7, Nick Kingham. Kingham is a big, 6-foot-5 right-handed hurler that was drafted out of high school in 2010. He has a plus-fastball that can reach the mid-90′s, a sharp, swing-and-miss curveball, and a changeup that projects to be very good.
Kingham, 22, has been in the Pirates’ system since 2010 and reached Double-A in 2013, getting 12 starts for the Altoona Curve; 2013 was a huge breakout campaign for the tall right-handed pitcher. Before being promoted to the Curve, Kingham made 13 starts with the Pirates’ high-A team, the Bradenton Marauders. In those 13 high-A starts, Kingham went 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA. His peripheral numbers included a 0.99 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9 and 9.6 K/9. In 14 games (12 starts) for the Curve in Double-A, Kingham went 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA. He had a 1.36 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9.
At just 22 years old, Kingham is likely going to spend another year or two in the minor leagues before getting his call-up to the MLB. The Pirates tend to take it very slowly with their prospects, because they don’t want to rush them and potentially hurt their development.
Kingham has the size to project as a workhorse type of front-line starter, but his safe projection is a mid-rotation pitcher. Given his size and arsenal, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which he doesn’t at least become an above average pitcher in the big leagues. The Pirates keep drafting young, prep pitchers with huge upside, and until they stop doing so, their farm system is going to be stocked with some of the best pitching prospects in the game.