Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 124 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Michael Joseph Kickham is a 6’4″, 205 lb. left-handed pitcher from St. Louis, Missouri. Born on December 12th, 1988, he was chosen in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the San Francisco Giants out of Crowder College. Follow Kickham on Twitter @mikekickham4.
Kickham did not sign, instead attending Missouri State and playing Division I ball for them in the 2010 season. In 96 innings of work over 15 starts, he was 4-9 with a 5.25 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP, and 103 strikeouts. In 2011, he was drafted again, but this time it took until the 33rd round, by the Detroit Tigers. thebaseballcube.com insists that Kickham was signed by both teams, but he joined the Giants.
"Is armed with an excellent slider, plus a good sinking fastball and an ideal pitchers’ frame (6-4, 220 pounds). Can also strike out plenty of batters in the minor leagues. – Scouting report on sportsforecaster.com"
Over the next five seasons, Kickham played at various levels of the Giants system, eventually making it to the major leagues in 2013. In 12 appearances that year, he struck out 29 in 28 1/3 innings, walking only 10. Unfortunately, he also gave up 32 runs on 46 hits for a 10.16 ERA and a 1.976 WHIP. His FIP, at 5.73, indicates that he was probably better than advertised, but still not quite up to par with his teammates. His ERA+ of 34 would have been the worst on the team with at least 28 innings pitched.
He got back to the Giants for a cup of coffee in 2014, but gave up eight hits and five runs in two innings of work. He has yet to get back to baseball’s top level. The Giants waived Kickham after the season, and the Chicago Cubs picked him up. A month later, they traded him to the Seattle Mariners for Lars Huijer.
The Texas Rangers claimed Kickham off waivers in May 2015, and released him after a month. Prior to 2016 Spring Training, the Giants signed him once again, only to release him a month into the season.
Going into 2017 Spring Training, the Miami Marlins signed Kickham to a minor league deal. He split the year between the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League and the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. In 27 games, including 25 starts, Kickham pitched to a 3.65 ERA and posted an 8-10 record, with 119 whiffs in 145 2/3 innings. His 1.146 WHIP suggested that he maybe had more to give at higher levels.
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In 2018, Kickham signed another one-year deal to remain in the Marlins system. On May 19th, he came off the disabled list and joined the Baby Cakes for one appearance, during which he struck out three and allowed only one baserunner over three frames in a 9-5 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Sent down a level to the Jumbo Shrimp soon after, Kickham struck out three over 3 1/3 innings in two perfect appearances. He was again promoted to New Orleans.
From June 2nd through July 22nd, Kickham played in 14 games for the Cakes, allowing an opposing slashline of .292/.346/.425, a 5.16 ERA, and a 1.416 WHIP. Sent back to the DL for four weeks, he closed the season with six perfect innings between the GCL Marlins and the Baby Cakes, with seven strikeouts.
On November 2nd, Kickham elected free agency along with a host of other Miami Marlins. He’s free to sign now with any team looking for a little bullpen depth, including the Marlins.
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