RHP Cody Bolton is currently ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system, according to Baseball America.
In 2019, Bolton had a breakout season of sorts, dominating High-A before getting called up to AA. On Monday, I had the pleasure of talking with the 21-year-old and asking him a few questions.
What is your offseason routine like?
Bolton: I work out four days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with one of the Tigers strength coaches from a couple years ago, Kyle Bergman. It’s me, him, and a couple other minor leaguers that work out along with one guy who’s had some time up in the big leagues. I’m also giving lessons and helping out my dad with his church.
What type of workouts have you been doing?
Bolton: I’m just starting to throw but it’s mainly weight training, a lot of lower body and core work while also getting a good amount of upper body in there.
Last year was a breakout season for you in terms of moving up the prospect boards. What do you attribute that success to?
Bolton: The thing that got me there was having a good strength coach during my offseasons and having that underdog mentality of not being a super high draft pick and wanting to outperform those guys that were drafted above me and do better. When I go out on the field, I want to be the best person I can, be the best player, and do my best. That’s something that has played into my success so far.
How would you describe your development as a player since being drafted by the Pirates out of high school?
Bolton: I’d say my development has come a long way in terms of how they (the Pirates) have taught me to pitch in certain situations, that’s a big thing. Learning how to pitch in certain counts, when to throw what pitch, how to pitch backwards. I’d say from high school to pro ball, I’ve definitely gotten a lot better thanks to the pitching coaches that I’ve had. Joel Hanrahan, Drew Benes, those guys have really helped in that.
What are your goals this upcoming season?
Bolton: I’m hoping to get my velo up a little bit more. I maxed out at 98 this past season so touching 99 or 100 this year would be awesome. I’m hoping that maybe it’s a possibility that by the end of the year, I can get that shot at the big league level. That’d be amazing.
You added a cutter last year and I was wondering how you added that pitch to your repertoire?
Bolton: It kind of happened during the spring. I normally throw the four-seam and two-seam. I had that slider but we took that out of the arsenal and stuck with the cutter. With that cutter, I can throw it in between 84 to 87 mph or I can throw it harder as a true cutter at 88 to 91-92. I also have the change up. But the cutter came in during spring last year when we were messing around with it in the bullpen one day. I stuck with it and it ended up working out really well.
What is the process like of developing a new pitch and implementing it into the game?
Bolton: The first time I threw the cutter, it felt really weird. Then I threw it in another bullpen and it ended up feeling really good out of the hand. I got some really good action on it and threw it in the game starting in spring last year. I had good results with it so I stuck with it throughout the season.
What’s your favorite part about pitching?
Bolton: My favorite part is just having fun. Like if I’m not having fun on the mound then I don’t know, I just always try to make it fun because I love the game. I love pitching. I just try to have fun with it.
What kind of music do you like?
Bolton: I’m a big country guy.
Bolton: Florida Georgia Line, Luke Combs, and Jason Aldean.
Are you a sports fan outside of baseball?
Bolton: I used to play football. When I was in high school, I played my freshman year and then I stopped playing just to focus on baseball but I like watching college football.
Bolton: I grew up liking Virginia Tech, the Florida Gators, and Oregon.
As minor leaguer, what is it like being on the road? I’ve heard bad things.
Bolton: It’s not that bad, I don’t mind going on the road, I actually enjoy it. Sleeping in nice hotel beds. It’s not bad. You get wifi at the hotels so a bunch of us will bring our Play Station or Xbox or whatever with us and it’s not too bad.
What games do you play?
Bolton: Right now I’ve been big into Call of Duty. That’s what I’ve spent some time on.
Last question. I’ve always wonder this. Being a professional athlete, has there ever been a time in your childhood where you’ve played a sport, it doesn’t have to be baseball, where you’ve absolutely dominated against, you know, regular kids?
Bolton: Soccer. I used to play soccer when I was a little kid and I loved playing. I want to say I was probably like eight or nine when I stopped. The year before they added the offside rule is when I stopped, I just didn’t like being offsides and all that stuff. But when I was eight or nine, I’d say I dominated that soccer team. I don’t know how many goals I had, but it was really fun.