The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that right-handed pitcher Nick Kingham underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, with the procedure performed by Dr. David Altcheck. Obviously the second opinion confirmed a torn UCL, which required the surgery.
This will put Kingham out for the entire 2015 season, obviously, and might hurt his chances of making it in 2016. Looking at the two big Tommy John surgery timelines from last year, I wouldn’t expect Kingham back until the very end of the season. Clay Holmes had his surgery in mid-March, and just threw an inning today. Jameson Taillon had his surgery at the start of April, and went three innings today (I’ll have an update on both shortly). Both are on pace to return by mid-June.
Kingham is having his surgery almost two months later than when Holmes and Taillon had their surgeries, which means he would probably return by mid-August 2016. I don’t know if that would give him enough time to make the majors, since he would probably still need some time in Indianapolis, and there would only be a few weeks left in that season. The most likely scenario is that he comes up in 2017, although a September call-up in 2016 is possible.
The most important thing here is a healthy recovery for Kingham. He was one of the top pitching prospects in the system prior to this injury, and he should return to that level when he’s healthy again. If the recovery goes well, I’d still project him as a guy who could be a key member of the Pirates’ rotation in the future, with the chance to be an innings eating number three starter.