Cody Bolton was one of the more intriguing prospects heading into the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Having not pitched since 2019, you knew that they were going to be cautious with him and ease him back into game action.
After getting only a handful of starts in Altoona, upon returning to baseball in 2022, Bolton was given the push to Triple-A, one step away from the majors.
Bolton has been good this season, with a 2.89 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings pitched this year.
As we are about halfway through the season, you can see Bolton possibly starting to fade a bit, struggling with his control in the month of June. Bolton has a 16.2% walk rate this month, the highest total of the season so far.
The Pirates have started to scale him back a bit. April saw him average about 44 pitches per outing, and as far throwing strikes, he was far more effective then.
MONTH: ERA / FIP / K% / BB% / AVG / Pitches/Outing
April: 3.86 / 2.87 / 29.2% / 14.6% / .244 / 44.0
May: 2.30 / 3.02 / 29.0% / 13.0% / .190 / 59.4
June: 2.76 / 5.18 / 17.6% / 16.2% / .145 / 53.8
You can see his results are kind of all over the place. The ERA is in the twos for the second straight month, and the opponent’s average continues to drop, but the walks and FIP continue to rise.
Bolton threw 91-pitches on June 2nd against the Omaha Storm Chasers, the highest mark of the season for him. Since then, he has thrown 55, 29, 30, and 64 pitches in his next four outings, respectively. He even came out the bullpen twice and pitched on two days rest in between the second and third outing.
In fact, Bolton has played three times (41 pitches per outing) in the last nine days, not exactly something you would expect to see from a starting pitcher.
His recent usage has really left in the air what exactly the plan is for Bolton the rest of the year. There are calls for him to take a spot in the rotation whenever a spot opens, this despite him averaging 52.4 pitches per outing.
With his control recently, Bolton walked five in 2 1/3 innings on Thursday. Those 50 pitches would be eaten up in the first couple of frames.
The Pirates seem to be playing towards a shorter outing role with Bolton right now, something he has shown he can thrive in at times. We’ve seen how valuable those type of pitchers have been out the bullpen this year.
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