Pittsburgh Pirates: Rum Bunter’s Top 10 Prospects

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 06: A general view of the field in the fifth inning during the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

10. Cody Bolton

Starting the list off at number 10 we have right handed pitcher Cody Bolton. After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 6th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Bolton has steadily been climbing his way up through the minor leagues.

In his first professional season, Bolton pitched solid through his first 25.2 innings. At Rookie-Ball, the right hander had a 3.16 ERA, 3.15 FIP and 1.21 WHIP. He also posted a 3.31 xFIP. Bolton didn’t get many strikeouts with a 20.4% strikeout rate, but did have a 7.4% walk rate and HR/9 of just 0.35.

The following year, Bolton made his way to West Virginia. Though he did see his ERA, FIP and HR/9 rise to 3.65, 3.74 and 1.20, Bolton saw his strikeout rate jump to 25.1% and his walk rate drop to just 3.9%.

The first half of 2019 is what put Bolton on prospect boards. Through 61.2 innings at High-A Bradenton, the right hander tossed 61.2 innings posting a 1.61 ERA, 1.91 FIP and 0.85 WHIP. To go with that, Bolton saw his strikeout rate take yet another leap forward to 28.9% and his walk rate remain at a strong 5.9%. He also surrendered just one home run.

This all helped him put up a 2.46 xFIP. Bolton did struggle when he was promoted to Double-A. However, it was only 40 innings, and he did spend some time on the injured list throughout the season with a pair of 7-day injured list stints.

Bolton uses three pitches. His fastball sits in the 92-95 MPH range, and he can touch the high-90s with it. Not only can he throw it fairly hard, he can also put a decent amount of spin on it. He averaged 2450 RPM in 2019, which would have sat somewhere in the top 85th-88th percentile in baseball last year. FanGraphs gives the pitch a 55 current and future grade. It’s not his best pitch though. His slider has a 55 current but 60 future grade as it has 2600 RPM. His third offering is a change up, which sits at a 45 current grade but has a future of 50.