Pirates Prospects has learned that right-handed pitcher Cody Bolton has been promoted to the Altoona Curve. Bolton has a 1.61 ERA and an 0.86 WHIP in 61.2 innings this season.
Bolton is coming off of a forearm injury that cost him half of the 2018 season, so the Pirates have been limiting his innings this season. That will allow him to pitch the entire year, while still not exceeding his total innings from last year by too much. The 21-year-old was a sixth round pick in 2017 and made the jump to Low-A during his first full-season, despite being just 19 years old at the time. He was pitching well before the injury last year, but he has taken it to another level this season.
Bolton has had just one game this year with more than two runs allowed and just two games with more than one earned run. In fact, half of his 12 starts include no earned runs, and ten of his 12 starts saw him give up 0-4 hits. He went four innings on Thursday and retired every batter he faced.
He was limited to four innings in that last game as part of the Pirates keeping his total innings down. Bolton spent two weeks on the injured list, partially due to just giving him a mid-season break. When he returned on June 13th, they kept him at three innings, then built him up to four innings on Thursday. So his first Double-A start this upcoming week will likely be limited to five innings or 75 pitches.
Bolton throws his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, sitting 93-96 MPH, while touching 97 often and occasionally hitting 98 MPH. He throws a cutter/slider that will sit 88-90 MPH, along with a slow version that comes in around 83-84 MPH and has more sideways break. Bolton has also been working hard on improving his changeup, which has been effective in limited looks this season. It sits high-80s with late downward break. He has walked just 14 batters this season and 29 total in 131.2 innings.
If we get word of any other moves made to open up a spot for Bolton or fill the open Bradenton spot, we will post an update. The Bolton move likely won’t be official for 1-2 days, so we might not hear anything else right away.