When Ryan Vogelsong was injured a week ago, Giants fans became on edge like they hadn’t in quite some time. The starting rotation hadn’t had a long-term injury since Barry Zito in 2011, but Zito wasn’t pitching well enough for anyone to be concerned. And his replacement was Vogelsong, who lit up the National League and collected an All-Star Game appearance and a few Cy Young votes along the way.
The Chronicle’s Henry Schulman thinks Kickham won’t be up for long, given that the Giants have 3 of 8 days off in early June. But two starts seems imminent, so here are some scouting reports on the young lefty:
Baseball Newshound: To sum, a plus fastball with good movement that touches 94. Sinker tails in the low 90s.
Baseball Prospect Nation: To sum, a long leveraged body allows him to get downward sink on his pitches. Struggles with consistency on his release point will give him trouble.
Kevin Goldstein, one of my favorites who now works for the Houston Astros, had this to say of Kickham before the 2012 season:
Kickham has plus low-90s velocity and became more comfortable with adding sink to the pitch and generating ground balls in the second half. He has a durable body, maintains his stuff deep into games, and generally throws strikes.
Kickham’s secondary pitches lag behind. His slider flashes average at times, but it often sweeps across the plate and lacks two-plane action. His changeup has improved, but it’s still below average
Gregor Blanco leads off and starts in center for the third straight day, with Angel Pagan still recovering from a sore hamstring. The Giants haven’t missed Pagan quite yet, as Andres Torres has been raking. When Blanco slid over to center, Torres took over in left and has gone 4-7 at the plate and 1,000,000-1,000,000 at the GIF machine. After a rough stretch, Torres is 10-18 since May 20 and has improved his line to .287/.323/.415. That’s pretty good for a fourth outfielder who has the ability to run the bases and defend all three outfield positions.
Here’s the lineup against RHP Jarrod Parker (2-6, 5.76):
LHP Kickham (ML debut)