- Full name Nicholas Gordon Kingham
- Born 11/08/1991 in Houston, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Sierra Vista
- Debut 04/29/2018
Drafted in the 4th round (117th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 (signed for $485,000).
View Draft ReportFour Corners scouts compare Kingham to Kevin Walter in that he's a physical righthander who came into the season with less attention than Kevin Gausman, but may end up as the better pitcher. Kingham is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds but has a solid, athletic frame, a smooth delivery and a clean arm action. He had to sit out his junior year after transferring to Sierra Vista from Calvary Chappel, but Kingham has improved every year, which scouts like to see. Kingham's fastball is in the 90-93 mph range with good life. His changeup is his second-best pitch and it's a solid-average offering. His curveball is below-average now and needs to be tightened up. He profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, but scouts love his frame and think one day he'll be able to handle a 200-inning workload. As one of the last additions to Oregon's outstanding recruiting class, Kingham may be too good for pro scouts to pass up and could go as high as the second round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kingham was one of several long-framed high school pitchers the Pirates went over slot to sign at the beginning of the decade. However, he has become a forgotten member of that group thanks to injury. He rose steadily through the organization until 2015, when he had Tommy John surgery while in his second season at Triple-A Indianapolis. That cost him most of that season and 2016, when he made just 10 starts. His 2017 campaign also got a late start thanks to a spring training ankle injury that kept him out until mid-May. Kingham's average fastball generally sits around 92 mph, but his 6-foot-6 frame allows him to create downhill plane. He has an average hard curveball with three-quarters break and a plus changeup with sinking action. His control is a strength, but he can sometimes get hit hard by staying in the zone too much. The Pirates consider Kingham one of 10 pitchers they would feel comfortable starting at the big league level, but the Pittsburgh rotation remained relatively injury free in 2017, and he was never called up. He will be in the rotation mix in 2018, but that's no guarantee that he'll be called up from Indianapolis.
Kingham was one of many high school pitchers the Pirates went over slot to sign before the bonus-pool system went into effect in 2012. They signed him for $485,000 to forego a scholarship to Oregon after he was high school teammates with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas. Scout Larry Broadway, now Pirates farm director, was persistent in getting Kingham to sign. Kingham's rise stalled when he injured his elbow in May 2015 while pitching at Triple-A Indianapolis, and it required Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound in the second half of 2016 and spent the half-season working his way back to Double-A Altona. Kingham has a fastball that sits in the low 90s but appears quicker because he uses his 6-foot-6 frame to get good downhill plane in his delivery. He also has a plus changeup as well as a curveball that is a solid third pitch. Kingham has retained outstanding command of his pitches post-surgery, pounds the zone and is a good athlete for his size. After tossing 46 innings in 2016, Kingham should begin 2017 back in Triple-A and is in position to make his major league debut at during the year.
Overshadowed by Las Vegas high school rival Bryce Harper during his senior season, Kingham signed for an over-slot bonus of $480,000 as a 2010 fourth-round pick, passing on a scholarship to Oregon. Kingham seemed on the cusp of making his major league debut in 2015 when he injured his elbow in mid-May at Triple-A Indianapolis and had season-ending Tommy John surgery. His fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range and reaches 95, and it looks faster to hitters because he creates deception with his overthe- top delivery. He also has good command of the heater. Kingham has a good feel for his changeup and uses it effectively, while his curveball is a potential plus offering, though he can be inconsistent in throwing it for strikes. He will begin the 2016 season rehabbing in extended spring training, but since the Pirates typically take it slow with injured pitchers, he probably won't join the Indianapolis rotation until the second half. If all goes well, he should reach the majors in 2017.
Kingham grew up playing in the fertile Las Vegas area, and one of the hitters he faced consistently throughout his amateur career was Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper. The Pirates selected Kingham in the fourth round in 2010 and signed him for $485,000, convincing him to spurn Oregon. Kingham doesn't have one clear plus pitch, but he succeeds because of his ability to mix pitches and above-average control. That comes about in part because of a clean delivery that he repeats. Kingham threw strikes on an above-average 64 percent of his pitches in 2014. He also utilizes his 6-foot-5 frame to throw all his pitches on a downhill plane. Kingham's fastball is an average offering that usually sits 92-93 mph, though he'll touch 95. His tick above-averge curveball continues to get better and is becoming a fall-off-thetable pitch. His straight changeup is an average pitch as well. It has some deception as he maintains his arm speed, but it relies on that deception as it's straight as a string. While Kingham throws strikes, he needs to improve his command within the zone. Kingham reached Triple-A Indianapolis in the second half of 2014, and the Pirates would like him to begin 2015 there. He is closing in on the major leagues and could be ready for a callup as early as June. He projects as a solid No. 4 starter.
Kingham was the third of seven pitchers the Pirates selected in the first 10 rounds of the 2010 draft. They signed him away from an Oregon commitment for $480,000, which was $225,300 over the recommended slot bonus. Kingham, who grew up playing against Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper in Las Vegas, broke out in 2013, earning a midseason promotion to Double-A Altoona. Kingham features an enviable combination of velocity, command and control. He throws downhill with a fastball that usually sits at 91-93 mph and can reach 95, and he can throw it for strikes to all four quadrants of the zone. His hybrid curveball stands out for his ability to locate it with good power at up to 85 mph. He knows how to use his changeup, which helped him limit lefthanded hitters to just two home runs in 229 plate appearances. Kingham has a good feel for pitching and has been adept at pitch sequencing and attacking hitters' weaknesses. He also repeats his mechanics well. Kingham raised his stock in 2013 with a fine season, and GM Neal Huntington said other teams bring him up frequently in trade talks. He'll return to Double-A to start 2014 and profiles as a mid-rotation workhorse, slotting into a future rotation alongside Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow.
Kingham pitched in the large shadow of Bryce Harper during his high school years in Las Vegas, but he didn't escape the notice of area scout Larry Broadway, who is now the Pirates' farm director. Pittsburgh selected Kingham in the fourth round in 2010, higher than many organizations had him on their boards, and signed him for $480,000. He has a big, projectable body that has yet to fill out. He works at 90-92 mph with his fastball, touches 95 and could gain more velocity as he gets stronger. His big-breaking curveball has the makings of a plus pitch but is erratic. He's also working to improve his changeup. Kingham also needs better control and consistency. He'll have stretches when he dominates, like when he posted a 1.68 ERA in his final nine starts for West Virginia last season, but also stretches when he struggles. He'll have to do a better job of damage control, as he has a tendency to give up big innings. Kingham has the body and stuff to be a dependable mid-rotation starter down the road. He'll move up to high Class A this season.
Another over-slot high school pitcher, Kingham signed for $480,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2010 and turned down a commitment to Oregon. He saw his first extensive pro action last summer, when his 2.15 ERA ranked third in the short-season New York-Penn League (and first among teenagers). Kingham has a long, projectable body and his 91-93 mph fastball appears even quicker because he pitches on a steep downhill plane. He figures to add a little more velocity once his body fills out. Kingham has an advanced changeup, which gives him a leg up on most young pitchers, and is working on tightening up his inconsistent curveball. He controls his body well for such a big pitcher and has a smooth delivery, which gives him good control and command. He'll get his first taste of full-season ball in low Class A this year and eventually could be a No. 3 starter in the big leagues.
Minor League Top Prospects
Yet another Las Vegas prep product blazing a path to the majors, Kingham began the year with Double-A Altoona and earned a promotion to the IL even after a 1-7 start. He was the Indians' youngest pitcher and showcased a fastball that can reach 96 mph, though he pitches comfortably in the 91-93 range. "It comes down to fastball command," Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said. "He just needs to use (his fastball) a little more." Kingham's clean delivery and efficient use of the strike zone enabled him to average six innings of work in 14 starts with Indianapolis. He gets good angle on all of his pitches. His changeup can be an above-average pitch and is his best secondary offering. He throws both a hard slider and curveball that grade as fringy pitches.
Another in the Pirates' mill of pitching prospects, Kingham is gifted with a prototypical pitcher's body, and his height allows him to get downhill with his repeatable, high three-quarters delivery. Kingham's primary offering is his fastball, which sits between 90-95 mph and features sink and occasionally cut. He complements the pitch with a slider that sits in the low-80s but can touch higher velocities, and a changeup in the high-80s with solid fading action late. Kingham lost his final seven decisions after winning his first start, but he had a strong finishing kick. He tossed at least seven innings in each of his final four starts before a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis, and he dominated righthanded hitters in both stops (.651 OPS in the Eastern league, .562 in the International League). If his changeup improves, he could be a No. 3 starter, though he more safely projects as a durable No. 4.
Beyond the Pirates? big-name duo of Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon lurks Kingham, a big, physical righthander who features a 90-94 mph heater that can touch 96. That pitch, plus a mid-80s breaking ball and a firm but effective changeup, helped him strike out 8.5 batters per nine innings in half a season in the EL. Kingham maintains his velocity well deep into games. While he had bouts of wildness with Altoona?his walk rate of 3.7 per nine doubled following his promotion from high Class A performance?Kingham was consistent after his promotion. He has the size, stuff and delivery to profile as a mid-rotation workhorse, slotting in behind Cole and Taillon.
Kingham made The Leap as a prospect in 2013. He?d struggled giving up home runs in 2012 at low Class A but worked more downhill with his fastball this season. He jumped to Double-A in mid-June, preceding teammates Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson to Altoona. Adding that downhill plane to his 90-94 mph heat helped Kingham pitch off his fastball more effectively, and the more he used it, the more he gained a feel for it and for throwing quality strikes. That helped him set up his breaking ball, a plus pitch with power in the mid-80s. Scouts alternate between calling it a slider and curve, and one finally just called it a ?hybrid bender.? Kingham?s changeup comes in firm at 84-86 mph, but the pitch has good action down in the zone as well. He has the durable frame and sound delivery to become a solid No. 3 starter.
Kingham made a three-inning cameo in the Gulf Coast League in his 2010 debut, but his first significant pro action came this summer in tne NY-P. He thrived, with his 2.15 ERA ranking third in the league and first among teenagers. Kingham is still filling out his tall, lanky frame. His body and smooth arm action both suggest he has plenty of projectability remaining and he already flashes plus velocity, working around 90-93 mph and topping out at 95. He pitches with a downhill angle that makes it tough for hitters to see the ball and square it up. His changeup has been Kingham's No. 2 pitch since high school, and he continued to make great strides with it this summer. It has a chance to be a plus offering. He's working on tightening his curveball and it made progress as well.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014
- Rated Best Changeup in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014