Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Future For These Players

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13: Tyler Beede #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park on August 13, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13: Tyler Beede #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park on August 13, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/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) /

These five Pittsburgh Pirates players have an uncertain role in the team’s future, so what is the likliest role they could play?

Not every Pittsburgh Pirates player has a clear role in the organization’s future. That’s bound to happen when the Pirates have collected many prospects at many positions. But just because there isn’t a clear role in some players future doesn’t mean they don’t have a future with the Pirates.

Some players have already made their debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates or are approaching the major leagues in a crowded position. The Pirates could find a future on the major league team for each of these five players, so what kind of role could these players have soon?

Cody Bolton

It’s been a turbulent professional career for Cody Bolton. By the end of the 2019 campaign, Bolton was seen as one of the Pirates’ best pitching prospects. While that was before the additions of Jared Jones, Roansy Contreras, Miguel Yajure, Carmen Mlodzinski, Bubba Chandler, and Anthony Solometo, Bolton looked on his way to becoming a potential starter for the Bucs.

But after sitting out the 2020 campaign because of COVID-19 shutting down the minor leagues and 2021 being another waste year for Bolton as he was injured, 2022 was going to be a real question mark for the right-hander. But Bolton has responded with solid results as a swing-man for Triple-A Indianapolis.

In 58.1 innings, Bolton has a 2.93 ERA, 3.57 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP. Ten have been starts in the 22 total games he has appeared in. Bolton has a healthy 25.5% strikeout rate and a phenomenal 0.15 HR/9. However, he’s dished out walks to 13.9% of the batters he’s faced. Bolton has continued to display three solid offerings with a four-seam fastball, slider, and changeup.

Bolton may not be a guy with top-of-the-line stuff, but he consistently has gotten the job done. It would be nice to see Bolton in the same rotation as Roansy Contreras, Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows, and Mitch Keller in early-to-mid 2023. I do think he’ll get some starts, but he’s not the only starting capable player the Pittsburgh Pirates have. Bolton will have to overcome a handful of other starting pitchers, though. JT Brubaker has looked quite solid this year, and both Bryse Wilson and Zach Thompson have flashed some potential.

Bolton has a higher ceiling than Thompson and a higher floor than Wilson, even with the latter’s sinker usage increasing. But I do think he eventually moves to a swing-man role. There’s no such thing as enough pitching depth, and having a reliable sixth starter is always welcomed.