ERA, HR/9, and Batting Average against (Starting Pitcher)
Cody Bolton just barely squeaked out the ERA title for Pittsburgh Pirates minor league starting pitchers. Not only did he barely meet the requisite number of starts with 14, but he also didn’t have the lead until the very last game of Indianapolis’ season. Because Preister surrendered four earned runs in 4.1 innings in his final game of the season, Bolton just overtook the top 100 prospect.
Bolton had a solid return to the mound after sitting out 2020 because of the pandemic and 2021 because of a season-ending knee injury. Despite not pitching competitively for two seasons, he came back in 2022 to have a 3.09 ERA, 3.81 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP through 75.2 innings of work.
The right-hander struck out just over a quarter of the batters he faced with a 25.4% strikeout rate and only allowed four home runs all season, which was the second stat that Bolton led all Pirates minor league starters in. But the downside included a 12.4% walk rate and 4.85 xFIP, which stems from his 5.1% HR/FB ratio. Batters had a hard time getting hits off of Bolton, who held opponents to a .205 batting average against.
Bolton was used in a swing-man role, starting only 14 of the 30 total games he appeared in. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible for the second year in a row, but after his solid year at Triple-A, the Pirates may decide to protect him. After all, he would be a better option in the bullpen next year than Duane Underwood Jr. and a better roster filler than many of the depth arms they currently have on the 40-man roster.