Every year, there is normally a breakout prospect or two in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. MLB Pipeline has put out their prediction for who they think could be it this season.
As well as teams can draft, prospects are not always a guarantee to have success in the minor leagues. Every year, team’s see some of their top projected prospects struggle and find themselves no longer highly touted. The Pittsburgh Pirates have seen this with many top picks like Reese McGuire, Wyatt Mathisen, Cody Dickson, and so on. However, for every prospect who may struggle and find their status diminishing, there are others that step up and breakout.
Last year, one could say the Pittsburgh Pirates had a couple of breakout prospects. The most notable prospect that saw himself rise up the ranking boards was outfield prospect Lolo Sanchez. Sanchez went from unranked by all major prospect sites to being a close to, if not, top ten Pittsburgh Pirates prospect in 2018. Other prospects like Kevin Kramer and Luis Escobar also saw themselves rise up to become legitimate prospects who can make an impact.
So who could be a breakout prospect this year? MLB Pipeline, one of the top prospect sites, released their breakout predictions. Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Mike Rosenbaum picked one prospect from every organization. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, they went to the 2017 MLB Draft for their prediction of the organization’s 2018 breakout prospect. While top names like Shane Baz and Steven Jennings should take steps forward, it is another pitcher from the 2017 ranks that the MLB Pipeline team predict will stand out.
Cody Bolton is currently a prospect that does not fall in the Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospects, but MLB Pipeline believes he can rise into the rankings. Bolton was the Pittsburgh Pirates sixth round pick last year. He was taken out of California high school ranks. At the time, it was believed he had a strong commitment to the University of Michigan, however the Bucs paid him $300,000 to sign, which was about $50,000 over-slot to join the organization. Here is some of what MLB Pipeline is predicting for Bolton:
"The 6-foot-3 right-hander has some projection to him and the Pirates liked what they saw from him this Spring Training after a solid debut in the Gulf Coast League last summer."
Last year, Bolton pitched exclusively in the Gulf Coast League along side top draft picks Shane Baz and Steven Jennings. Bolton made nine appearances with all being starts. He threw a total of 25.2 innings and posted an ERA of 3.16, better than the numbers both Baz and Jennings’ produced. The 6’3” righty also struck out 22 hitters in total. He will likely pitch this year in Short Season-A ball at Bristol.