The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted prep right-hander Cody Bolton out of Tracy high school in California in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB draft. After taking three college hitters to start the day, the Pirates returned to the prep ranks, taking another high school pitcher. Bolton has a commitment to Michigan, and the slot price here is $255,900. So either the Pirates know he will sign for that amount, or they figure to have enough over-slot money to get him to sign. They should already have some extra with fourth round pick Jason Delay, who is a college senior.
Bolton is more projectable than first round prep pitcher Shane Baz, and even second round prep pitcher Steve Jennings. He’s got a projectable frame, at 6′ 3″, 183 pounds, with plenty of room to fill out. He currently sits 88-91 MPH, touching as high as 93-94. He pairs that with a slider that is above-average at times. He had a 1.24 ERA this year in 62 innings, with 88 strikeouts.
Baseball America rated him as the 414th best prospect, but said that he isn’t considered signable. They described him as academically oriented, and expected to honor his Michigan commitment. It should be noted that the Pirates don’t get compensation if they don’t sign Bolton. So again, they must feel he is actually signable.
Bolton would add to an interesting GCL rotation this year, slotting in behind Baz and Jennings if he signs. He’d also add to the growing young pitching depth in the system, giving another lottery ticket for the Pirates to work with.
UPDATE: Maybe Bolton isn’t that hard to sign. He already has updated his Twitter profile to read “Pittsburg Pirates Baseball player.” (Spelling is correct.) That doesn’t mean that he is signed, but also doesn’t point to a guy who has no interest in signing.
There’s also this:
So excited for this opportunity to play for the Pirates, now it's grind time⚾️ https://t.co/ckPfXVWPxb
— Cody Bolton (@Cody_Bolton8) June 13, 2017