Among a slew of roster moves this afternoon, the Pirates have designated former top-100 prospect Nick Kingham for assignment. The 27-year-old, who established residence on Pirates top ten lists for much of the decade, has been largely ineffective in 110 big-league innings since his MLB debut last summer.
Kingham’s main issue has been the gopher ball – he’s allowed over two per nine over that stretch – but the 6’5 righty’s also struggled to command the ball and keep it on the ground. His 91.4 average fastball velocity is down from the 92-94 MPH reported range in which he sat before his 2015 Tommy John surgery, and Kingham’s swinging strike rates and overall contact percentage against have also been trending in the wrong direction of late. He still sports some affinity for bat-missing, though, so it’s likely another organization will swoop in and attempt to nab the potential reclamation project.
The Pirate staff, currently minus Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Keone Kela, Nick Burdi, and Chris Stratton, was thin to begin and is now almost in shambles. Both Chris Archer and Joe Musgrove have been hammered in recent weeks, and the S.O.S. calls for Kingham, Steven Brault, and Rookie Davis were met mostly with deaf ears. The club may need to turn for good to top prospect Mitch Keller, who’s lately been lights out for AAA-Indianapolis, and hope for unlikely production from any number of sources if it’s to stay afloat in a very competitive NL Central.