Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Prospects Who Could Debut in 2021
By Marty Leap
Starting Pitcher Cody Bolton
Right-handed pitcher Cody Bolton appeared to be on his way to reaching the Triple-A level in 2020. Well, then COVID happened and the minor league season was canceled. Instead, he spent his season with Sawggerty and Weiman at the alternate training site in Altoona.
Bolton started the 2019 season at the High-A level. With Bradenton he overwhelmed opposing batters to the tune of a 5.9 % walk rate, 28.9% strikeout rate, one home run allowed, a 1.61 ERA, and a 1.96 FIP in 61.2 innings pitched. His 61.2 innings of work came in 12 starts.
After making the jump to Double-A, Bolton pitched 40 innings in nine starts. Pittsburgh’s 10th best prospect according to FanGraphs, saw his walk rate rise to 9.6% and his strikeout rate drop to 19.8%. He was burnt by the home run ball, allowing six long balls, to go with a 5.85 ERA and a 4.67 FIP.
Bolton’s best pitch is his fastball, but he also throws a plus slider. Both pitches have a future value of 55 according to FanGraphs. His change up, however, remains a work in progress and is currently the biggest hurdle between him and the Big Leagues.
Like Swaggerty, Bolton has an ETA of 2021. He will start the 2021 season in the starting rotation for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, but look for him to become a rotation member for the Pittsburgh Pirates before the season is over.