This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Pirates pitching prospect Cody Bolton and ask him a few questions about his experience in the minor leagues.
Bolton was drafted out of High School in the 6th round of the 2017 MLB draft by the Pirates. Over the next five years, Bolton worked his way up through the Pirates farm system. He has played with every Pirates minor league team and is currently with their Triple-A squad, the Indianapolis Indians.
In his career, Bolton has primarily been used as a starting pitcher. However, with the Indians, Bolton has been used about half the time as a reliever. This season, he has appeared in 24 games (starting 11 of them) and is 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and a 9.8 K/9.
Bolton’s pitch arsenal consists of a fastball, slider, and changeup.
Bolton is one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects and is primed for the Major Leagues.
I asked Bolton about his experience in the minor leagues.
Here’s the Interview:
Q: What is the most overlooked attribute of becoming a professional?
A: The discipline it takes to push yourself to the next level. Along with a lot of sacrifices that have to be made as far as time, relationships, and expenses.
Q: Do you think the primary reason for being called up is because of potential or performance (accolades, winning, and overall good play)? Where have you seen teams call a player up because of a player’s potential or performance?
A: To me, they both flow from something else, which would be initiative. I’ve known guys that have a ton of potential and their performance naturally flows from that. Just a gifted athlete. But it takes initiative to continue to develop potential to be able to consistently perform.
I also think an initial call-up would mainly come because of potential. Rookies are going to get hit and hitters are going to whiff. But, do they learn from their experience and get better or try to stick with what got them there? In baseball, you have to learn to adapt.
Q: What is your ideal at-bat? Talk to me about pitches, the ideal batter you would like to face, etc.
A: 3 pitches 3 strikes, onto the next.
Q: You have been on every Pirates minor league team. Does it feel like you are a journeyman in the minors or does it all still feel like one team/organization and why?
A: Still feels like one organization, every guy in the organization is pretty close. I also still play with some of the same guys that were in my draft class.
Q: As pitchers get promoted to higher levels in their organization, are they adamant about sticking as a starter/reliever/closer? Or are they willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level? What about you?
A: The majority of guys will do what it takes to get to the next level. That’s where I stand, whatever the team needs me to do to help win games, I’ll take that role.
Thank you so much to Cody Bolton for these fantastic responses. I encourage all fans to support the minor leagues and try to attend games because the talent there is truly remarkable.