INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Cody Bolton was a bit of a forgotten prospect coming into the year.
After having not pitched in a couple of years due to injuries, Bolton was challenged to start the season in Triple-A. He has been up to that challenge, and more, all season long.
Coming into this week, Bolton has a 3.05 ERA in 41.1 innings in his Triple-A debut. He’s striking out over a batter an inning, and limiting opposing hitters to a .185 batting average against.
While Bolton offers a five-pitch mix, he and the Pirates have been very honed in lately on what offerings to focus on.
“We’ve simplified things,“ Bolton said. “Kind of just focusing on the four-seam, slider, and change up. We were just trying to get mechanics in tuned. I still have the cutter and the sinker, but we are trying to work on four-seam, slider, change up and it’s working pretty well.”
Bolton said he’s very comfortable with his bread and butter slider. He also admitted that his changeup has been a strong pitch for him this year, on days where he has a good feel for it. However, the change has seen some tinkering over the years.
“I’ve gone through like five different grips for a change up since I’ve been in pro ball,” Bolton said. “The one I’m throwing now, I’ve thrown for two or three years. I’m comfortable with it. I know it’s a little bit hard. We are going to start working on trying to drop it two or three miles per hour and keep the movement it has.”
Additionally, as Anthony Murphy pointed out two weeks ago, Bolton gets strong spin rates on his offerings.
With movement being a key to his game, some might think that he pays close attention to the spin rates. However, that could not be further from the truth.
“I don’t really pay attention to [spin rate] at all,” Bolton said. “I’m not a big numbers guy. The slider, I know spins a lot. It’s the same slider I’ve thrown since Little League. It’s a pitch that I’m really comfortable with. It’s one that I just grip it and rip it. It feels good when it comes out right.”
Bolton said that, unlike the past few years, everything physically feels good. He said that with all of the work that he put in last year on the sidelines, he is finally enjoying the rewards this season on the bump.
There hasn’t been any discussion on a potential innings limit or shutdown yet.
With how he has been handled through the first half of the season, it’s clear that the organization is not rushing the right hander. It’s also obvious that he is ahead of schedule in the results department.
With the kid gloves early, Bolton admitted that he definitely had gas remaining in the tank, and wanted to offer the team more. Whatever the future holds, he is on board for.
“I always want to do more,” Bolton said. “I want to give the team whatever I can. If there’s a limit, I’m going to throw my limit and do my best to help the team win and put us in a good spot.”
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Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.