Pittsburgh Pirates Top 30 Prospects 2019 Season Rewind: Cody Bolton

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

After a strong showing at the High-A level in the 2019 season, Cody Bolton is starting to emerge as arguably the Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospect.

In the 6th round of the 2017 MLB Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected prep pitcher Cody Bolton. After being drafted Bolton quickly started to rise the Pirates’ prospect rankings. Now, he has become arguably the team’s top pitching prospect.

When Bolton was drafted in 2017 his commitment to the University of Michigan played a role in where he got drafted. Many people believed the California prep star was set of signing with the Wolverines, which led to him sliding some in the draft.

After the Pirates offered him an above slot value $300,000, Bolton spurred the Wolverines to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This was a great choice by Bolton. Not only did he receive a nice sum of money, he also avoided having to live in Ann Arbor for three years.

Bolton throws a four-seamed fastball that sits in the mid-90s. He also throws a power sinker that induces weak contact and often times gets beat into the ground. Bolton’s slider has started to make progress, but his change up remains a work in progress.

In 2019 Bolton started the season with the High-A Bradenton Marauders. Bolton pitched 61 2/3 innings in 12 starts with the Marauders. In these 12 starts Bolton posted a 1.61 ERA, 1.96 FIP, a 5.9% walk rate, and he struck out 28.9% of batters faced.

His success with Bradenton led to Bolton getting promoted to Double-A Altoona. This led to Bolton making his final nine starts of the season with the Altoona Curve.

With Altoona, Bolton would struggle. He posted a 5.85 ERA and a 4.67 FIP across 40 innings of work in his nine starts. His home run rate rose from 0.15 HR/9 with Bradenton to 1.35 HR/9 with Altoona. His walk rate rose from 5.9% to 9.6%, while his strikeout rate fell from 28.9% to 19.8%.

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2020 will be a big season for Bolton. He will start the season back with Double-A Altoona. Bolton will need to show improved results with the Curve in 2020. If he does this, he could earn a promotion to the Triple-A level before the end of the season.