Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Cody Bolton Continues to Dominate

(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have some quality starting pitching prospects.  There is one prospect who is the midst of a breakout campaign.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have always prioritized having strong pitching.  It is what led them to the playoffs for three consecutive years and what this year’s team is built around.  So with that, the Pittsburgh Pirates have also always tried to draft and develop as many pitching prospects as possible.

In 2017, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted a right-handed prep pitcher by the name of Cody Bolton. Bolton was a prep arm out of California who was originally committed to Michigan.  The team was able to get him to forgo his commitment and sign for an above-slot deal.

Bolton has proved to be well worth the above slot deal.  So far he has been very impressive in his minor league career.  In his 2017 début, he threw 25.2 innings for a 3.16 ERA at the Gulf Coast League.  Then, last year, he took a step forward and pitched at Low-A.  He threw 44.1 innings and had a solid 3.65 ERA.  He showed the ability to strike people out through those two years posting 67 punch outs while only walking 15.

However, this year Bolton has proved to be one of, if not the, most dominant pitching prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.  The 6’3” right-hander has made five starts so far this year and has earned a win in four of them and has yet to take a loss.

Bolton has not given up anymore than one run in any of his starts.  He has thrown two games where he has not given up any runs.  In total, Bolton has thrown 28 total innings and has only allowed 17 hits, for a batting average against of .167.  Meanwhile, his WHIP is sitting at an impressive 0.86.  Bolton is also striking out more than one batter per inning, with 29 punchouts in his 28 innings pitched.  He also is producing groundballs at the highest rate of his career, sitting at 52 percent. Anything over 45 percent is considered good.

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All in all, Cody Bolton has an earned run average of 0.96 this year.  He was drafted as a high upside prep arm and was given an above-slot draft bonus because the Pittsburgh Pirates really liked what they saw in him.  So far, Bolton has done a good job of showing why the team really liked him.  This year, Bolton looks like he is going to go from a solid pitching prospect to a top pitching prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.