Righty Kingham earns high praise, promotion to Altoona
The 2010 draft was the year that the Pirates selected Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie plus a whole bunch of other high school pitchers who weren't guaranteed to sign let alone pan out.
Nick Kingham, drafted in the fourth round, was one of those other pitchers.
He was the third of seven high school arms taken with the Pirates' first 10 picks, but fourth-rounders don't get the big bonus money or the PNC Park news conferences that first- and second-rounders do. Kingham received a $480,000 bonus, which was still $225,300 over slot, but it was hardly the millions bestowed on Taillon, taken second overall, or Allie, the flame-thrower who many expected to go in the first round but dropped to the Pirates in the second.
Three years later, Allie has reinvented himself as a position player, and Kingham, after progressing steadily through the ranks, is a teammate of Taillon at Double-A Altoona. The 6-foot-5 right-hander also is earning high praise from Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.
“Nick is doing pretty much everything you need him to do — moving his fastball around the zone, throwing his breaking ball for strikes, good changeup for strikes, and we felt like he was ready to experience the next challenge,” Huntington said after promoting Kingham from High-A Bradenton to Altoona on June 11. “There's really no flaw in his game. It's just a continued refinement of how he uses his stuff and how he attacks hitters and building his overall pitch package.”
As Kingham sat in a room in Peoples Natural Gas Field before the Curve played a rain-delayed game against New Hampshire last week, his eyes widened when told of Huntington's assessment and admitted it was nice to hear.
“But I feel like I need to be more consistent maybe with my pitches and execute what I'm throwing,” said Kingham, a native of Las Vegas. “Work on pitch sequences, maybe what to throw to what hitter in what count, just try to do a better job with that to give me the best advantage to get the hitter out. That's probably what I have to work on right now.”
Kingham was 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts in Bradenton before earning the promotion to Altoona. He also saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio go from 3.25 in Low-A West Virginia in 2012 to 5.36 in Bradenton and his WHIP drop from 1.189 in West Virginia to 0.986.
“I definitely was improving as the season went on down there,” Kingham said. “Every day I tried to go out and get a little better than the day before, and for the most part of felt like I did that. But I still have so much room to grow, and I need to get a lot better to get to Pittsburgh from where I am right now.”
Kingham, who pitched five scoreless innings in his first Double-A start, is rooming with Taillon, among others. Despite spending lots of time together at Pirate City and spring training, the two are teammates for the first time.
“I was just watching his bullpen,” Taillon said. “He has good command of all his pitches, and he's got a really good feel for how good of stuff he has. He can flip a curveball for a strike, he can bury it, throw his changeup for a strike and command the zone real well.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates showing interest in starting pitcher Masterson
- Boros: Alvarez’s power too valuable for Pirates to let him leave as free agent
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- Baseball America names Pirates as organization of the year
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Rossi: Baseball should retire Roberto Clemente’s No. 21
- Pirates protect top prospects in advance of Rule 5 draft
- Pirates sign independent league pitcher