Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 MLB Draft: Sixth Round Pick

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken a third baseman and two catchers so far today.  For their sixth round pick in this year’s MLB Draft, they decided to invest in a starting pitcher.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their 6th round pick which was slated at 178th overall.  With the 178th overall pick, the Bucs decided to take a prep right-handed pitcher.  The player they drafted is Cody Bolton from the Tracy High School in California.  Bolton is listed as 6’3” and 180 pounds and throws right handed.  According to Baseball America, Bolton has a very strong commitment to the University of Michigan.

Bolton is not ranked very highly across the board.  First, he is not ranked on MLB Pipeline’s top 200 list at all.  This is reinforced by Baseball America who has him ranked as 414 best prospect available.  So what do the Pittsburgh Pirates like in this kid?  Here is Baseball America’s write up on the prep starter:

"“Most scouts think his best days are definitely ahead of him. He’s projectable at 6-foot-3, 183 pounds. He had a strong spring in terms of results, going 9-1, 1.24 with 88 strikeouts in 62 innings, but he doesn’t quite dominate at this stage. He’s flashed two pitches that should help him compete in the Big Ten early on. He has a fastball in the 88-91 mph range that touches as high as 93-94, and a slider that flashes above-average. He’s not considered signable.”"

Bolton sounds like a prototypical prep starter that the Pittsburgh Pirates like to target in the mid rounds. However, it sounds like Bolton has read scouting reports on himself and that he knows going to college will help improve his stock.  Last year the Bucs took three prep righties who were considered tough signs in Max Kranick (11th), Braeden Ogle (4th), and Travis MacGregor (2nd).  Bolton may be similar to Travis MacGregor in this scenario.  MacGregor was projected to be a day two draft pick.  Due to this, many thought he would possibly just go to Clemson.  Instead, the Bucs reached on him in terms of the rankings and took him on day one. They were able to sign him since he went much higher than he thought he would and received a bigger bonus.

The same might happen with Bolton. He may have assumed that he would not be drafted until day three, but he was drafted about 300 picks higher than projected. This result and the potential bonus may influence him to pass on his commitment to Michigan.  The bonus value for the 178th pick is 255,900 dollars.  The Bucs will likely have to go over slot, but appear willing to since they drafted him so high.  Ultimately Bolton may decide that, because of these factors, signing is too lucrative to pass on.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates 3rd Round Pick

Reason for Optimism

One note is that he has already changed his Twitter bio to “Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball player”  and tweeted that he is “so excited for this opportunity to play for the Pirates, now it’s grind time”. One thing that could be possible is that Bolton and the Bucs could have had prior conversation about their interest level in him.  They may have worked out that if he was drafted around this round he would consider the bonus and signing with them. Hopefully, that is the case, as he sounds like just the type of pitcher the Bucs are known for developing.