Former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Nick Kingham finds himself at a crossroads now that he has been released from the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization.
It was not that long ago that Nick Kingham was one of the top prospects, not just on the Pittsburgh Pirates, but in all of baseball. He was considered a top 100 prospect prior to the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the type of pitcher that the Pirates could potentially build around moving forward.
He never lived up to that potential, struggling in his time in the majors with the Pirates and Blue Jays. Signed by the SK Wyverns for 2020, Kingham lasted two starts before being shut down with an elbow injury. As his injury has yet to heal, the Wyverns have reportedly released the former top prospect.
Kingham had a rough go during his time in the majors. Over his 131.2 innings between the Pirates and Blue Jays, he posted a 6.09 ERA and a 1.580 WHiP. Although he struck out 115 batters with just 51 walks, he also allowed 157 hits.
While he did not have much of an opportunity to show what he could do in Korea, Kingham also did not do himself any favors with his performance over those two outings. He allowed 11 runs, eight earned, on 16 hits and four walks in his 10.2 innings, striking out just six batters.
That performance just was not worth holding a roster spot for. The KBO allows for just three foreign players on team rosters, with a maximum of two pitchers. Considering that his elbow was not getting any better, coupled with his disappointing showing in those two appearances, the Wyverns could not afford to waste one of those roster slots.
Kingham is now also at a crossroads. While his status as a former top prospect will lead to chances, that will only last for so long. He has not exactly set AAA on fire during his career, and did not perform well in the KBO. Injuries may have had a part in his 2020 struggles, but Kingham needed a strong performance to re-establish himself as a potential major league option. That just did not happen.
Perhaps Nick Kingham gets another chance. But for now, the former Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect is just another player who could not live up to his potential.