Pittsburgh Pirates: Intriguing Non-Roster Invitees to Spring Training
Right-handed pitcher Cody Bolton
Prior to the pandemic, Cody Bolton was one of the best pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system. However, after the pandemic shut down the 2020 minor league season and Bolton missing the 2021 season with a knee injury, his prospect status has plumetted.
With Pirate fans cheering for his comeback, Bolton finally pitched after almost two seasons away from baseball and he pitched well for Triple-A Indianapolis. With Indy, Bolton posted a 3.09 ERA, 3.81 FIP, struck out 82 batters, walked 40, and had a 1.28 WHIP across 14 starts and 79.2 innings pitched.
Bolton showed flashes of brilliance at times, but had some struggles as well, walking over 12.4% of the batters he faced (an alarming increase compared to prior seasons). He struggled toward the end of the season with command issues (especially with the increase in walked batters), but for the most part, he was arguably one of the better pitching prospects in our farm system.
With Vince Velasquez and Rich Hill most likely being traded at the deadline, Bolton has the potential to become a solid back of the rotation arm for the Pirates. Worst case scenario, he will be a dominant long reliever out of the bullpen. While some fans believe this was a fluke season, I'm optimistic that he can be a reliable pitcher in the majors. He will most likely be one of the first pitching prospects to be called up this season, alongside top pitching prospects Luis Ortiz, Mike Burrows, and Quinn Priester.