Failure Is Greatest Teacher For Skye Bolt
A month into the 2018 season, the sky seemed to be falling in on Skye Bolt.
The 24-year-old outfielder finally had a chance to start the season at Double-A Midland, but his bat fell silent. He hit just .133 through 11 games before the call came that he was being demoted to high Class A Stockton.
“He realized he needed to go back and put some things together,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. “The best part was his ability to handle that move. He embraced it. He went back and remapped his approach at the plate. He went through a lot of video.
"We told him it was not about performance; it was about finding an approach. He really did well at Stockton.”
So well that Bolt returned to Midland on June 18, and his bat took off. He was named Texas League player of the month for August, when he hit .351 with nine doubles and eight home runs.
This was the take-off point for the 2015 fourth-rounder from North Carolina whose tools had exceeded his performance in the past. After a struggle to begin his career, Bolt showed so much promise that the Athletics added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Bolt appears to be a legitimate center fielder with the skills to play all three outfield positions. He grades above-average in terms of speed, arm strength and defense, and the switch-hitter has the potential to develop a plus bat.
Bolt hit .260/.347/.474 with 19 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 2018, showing legitimate power potential from both sides of the plate.
Bolt had a big freshman year at UNC but struggled the next two seasons. That pattern repeated in pro ball, when he struggled until the second half of 2018.
“Before it was all or nothing, let it fly,” Lieppman said. “He’s come to understand what kind of hitter he needs to be.”
Bolt finished in the Arizona Fall League as he embraced the changes in his swing and better use of his legs.
“It was not an easy task,” Lieppman said. “He met failure when the game stopped him in Midland. He overcame it and is ready for the next challenge. The failure has led to a promising future.”
Notes From The Coast: West Shut Out Of College World Series
For the first time in 23 years—and just the second time in NCAA baseball history—the West will not be represented in Omaha.
— Catcher Sean Murphy played 23 games in the Dominican League before returning as scheduled. He had missed much of the second half at Midland after breaking the hook of the hamate bone in his hand. Murphy hit .185 with two homers and 13 RBIs for Toros del Este.
— Righthander Grant Holmes continued to work out at the organization's complex in Mesa, Ariz. Reports are that he is fully recovered from his shoulder injury and is expected to be ready for spring training.