Kingham saw the numbers against his changeup worsen since last year, as the batting average against and wOBA jumped from .217 to .325 and .299 to .400, respectively, in roughly the same sample size (199 in 2018 versus 173 in 2019). He throws the pitch much more frequently against left-handed batters (146 times out of 201 in 2018 and 135 out of 172 in 2019). This may not necessarily be surprising if we take into account the fact that he generates a few inches more of horizontal break than league average, which naturally leads to dropping further away from lefties.
Kingham doubled the use of his curve in 2019 – a solid 38.2 K% made it is primary offspeed pitch. It was his fifth pitch only a year ago. In what was an awful year for the former starter, he will look to reinvent himself in Toronto.
The fastball was Kingham’s most used pitch, throwing it more than twice as much as the second highest. He struggled a lot with it as batters had a batting average of .386 against it along with a wOBA of .468, both significant increases from last year. He was able to decrease his flyball rate on the fastball by 5% from last year. However, that came at the expense of a slight increase in line drive rate from 27 to 29%.
Kingham’s cutter almost doubled in usage compared to last year, going from 7 to 13%, while also seeing an increase of 2 mph in velocity. Naturally, this velocity spike led to a decrease in vertical break of four inches, which unfortunately did not have the impact desired in the strikeout department as he saw that number dip from five last year to one this year despite throwing it 40 times more.
Kingham completely ditched his slider this year as its usage dropped from 19 to 1%. This is surprising since he had great success with it the previous season holding batters to a .174 average in 46 at-bats, while also generating the highest swinging-strike and whiff rate of all his pitches at 22% and 44% respectively.
The four-seamer was Kingham’s most frequently thrown pitch at 40.5%. It sat at just over 92 mph and topped out at 95.6 mph. He didn’t show much swing-and-miss ability with it, as baters had only a meager 4.7 % swinging-strike rate and a 13.5% whiff rate. Lefties in particular really murdered it for a .444 wOBA.
The slider was a Money Pitch for the rookie in 2018. It featured a 38.6% chase rate, 45.3% zone rate and a 22.4% swinging-strike rate (36.5% whiff rate). It was particularly effective against righties, against whom it had a 42.2% whiff rate, as opposed to a modest 22.2% whiff rate against lefties.
The sinker, which he threw 15.8% of the time, was hit really hard last year, allowing an unsightly .387 batting average and .444 wOBA. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: another bad sinker. Overall it was charged with a -8.9 pVal. Not good.
Kingham threw his changeup primarily to lefties, with 144 of the 199 he threw coming against southpaws. It was an effective pitch with an impressive swinging-strike rate of 20.6%. It also had a 40.7% chase rate and 32.2% zone rate. Both very solid marks.
Kingham’s fifth pitch, he used the curve just 9.7% of the time, though it did show an impressive whiff rate at 37.7% in a relatively small sample. It limited hitters to a meager .183 wOBA and .154 batting average.