Nick Kingham to Make Major League Debut Against Cardinals

After eight years in the minor leagues the Pirates 12th ranked prospect is finally getting the call.

Noah Hiles
April 29, 2018 - 10:20 am

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Written by: Noah Hiles

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – After eight years of being in the Pirates minor league system, right hander Nick Kingham will make his MLB debut on Sunday at PNC Park against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kingham, who is listed on MLB pipeline as the Pirates 12th best prospect, was once ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball was just a few steps away from being called up to the major leagues early in 2015 until his season unexpectedly came to an end after suffering an injury that required Tommy John surgery.

“It’s not how you draw it up and it’s not how I imagined it when I signed here eight years ago but it is my path, my journey and my story,” said Kingham on Saturday when he talked to the media during his first batting practice as a big leaguer.

“I couldn’t be more excited and I couldn’t be more prepared to finally pitch at the big league level. The length that it took me to get here has made me who I am and has made me even more prepared than I ever could’ve been.”

After pitching at the high A and double A levels in 2016, Kingham completed his first full season following the 2017 at AAA Indianapolis where he went 9-6 with an earned run average of 4.13.

Following the end of last season, Kingham had the his first opportunity to prepare to take his final step following his arm surgery. For Kingham, though his numbers may not have been off the charts, the confidence he gained from staying healthy for a full season allowed him to prepare in a different and more effective way.

“It’s huge especially after coming off of last year, a full season post-surgery, it gives me a sense of security and the peace of mind that my body is in shape and can sustain a full season,” said Kingham. “Having that off season knowing that I could push myself a little bit more to get my body where it needs to be to play a full season.”

One player Kingham goes to for guidance is Pirates starter, Jameson Taillon. As someone who also had a less than smooth path to the majors due to having Tommy John surgery, Taillon knew first hand what Kingham was going through. In addition to giving tips on recovery and training, Taillon was able to give Kingham a few pointers on his mental approach while on the mound.

“Jameson told me ‘You can always pitch like a big leaguer, even if you’re pitching at a high school game’”, said Kingham. “This season, I went out on the mound and I pitched like a big leaguer and I acted like there were big league hitters in [the batter’s box]. Some of the guys that I faced have had successful big league careers and they are trying to get back there so every batter I just pretended that it was a big league batter and went about my ways the best I could.”

At AAA Indianapolis, Kingam has a 2-1 record with a 1.59 ERA and has allowed two runs or less in all four of his starts this season. The Las Vegas native will make his major league debut on Sunday with both parents in the stands along with younger brother who in the area with the University of Texas baseball team who played at West Virginia in Morgantown this weekend.