Pittsburgh Pirates: Roster Moves That Must Be Made to Finish the Season

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Ji-Hwan Bae #81 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Ji-Hwan Bae #81 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Cody Bolton #68 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 16: Cody Bolton #68 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a picture during the 2022 Photo Day at LECOM Park on March 16, 2022 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Option Zach Thompson, re-call Cody Bolton

At one point Cody Bolton was arguably the best pitching prospect in the Pirate farm system. However, after Bolton struggled at Double-A in 2019, did not pitch in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then missed all of 2021 due to a knee injury, his prospect stock has taken a big hit.

This season, however, Bolton has had arguably the biggest bounce back season of anyone in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. Bolton entered play on Sunday with a 2.72 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 13.8% walk rate, and 25.4% strikeout rate with one home run allowed in 56.1 innings pitched at Triple-A.

While Bolton allowed 2 runs while walking a pair in 2 innings pitched Sunday afternoon, he still struck out three batters. On the season his ERA is still a strong 2.93. He still has more than earned his first MLB promotion.

As for Zach Thompson, he has been woeful for the Pirates this season. He owns a 5.51 ERA, 5.48 FIP, and has allowed home runs at a 1.72 HR/9 rate in 99.2 MLB innings pitched this season. He also ranks in the bottom 10% of baseball in whiff rate, chase rate, and strikeout rate. The near 29-year-old Thompson is showing why he was a career minor leaguer prior to last season.

Thompson is adding nothing to the Pittsburgh Pirates right now. He will also add nothing to the team in the long-term. As for Bolton, he could add long-term value. Bolton could be used as a reliever, a starter, or even as a piggyback guy. Regardless of how he is used, it’s time for Bolton to earn his first MLB promotion.

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