Skye Bolt has the name of a super hero and the talent to match. The Georgia native opened a lot of eyes early in his career at North Carolina, flashing five-tool potential. An injury slowed his progress with the Tar Heels and his numbers didn't match expectations over his final two seasons in college, however.
The Oakland A's believed in Bolt's raw talent, however, and were pleased to grab him with their fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft. Bolt got off to a slow start with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters and missed some time with injury, but he has been red-hot of late. In 13 games since the New York-Penn League All-Star break, Bolt is batting .368/.510/.605 with two homers and 11 walks. For the season, Bolt has 23 walks in 48 games and is batting .236/.328/.388 with four homers and 24 runs scored.
Oakland A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman has been impressed with what he has seen from Bolt. He had this to say about Bolt in an interview with OaklandClubhouse in late July:
Skye Bolt is very athletic. He homered [on Sunday] and is starting to show the talent that people had seen in him. I know he had had a little bit of a down-turn in his career [in college], but I think there is nothing but upside from what I have seen from him. He’s been outstanding. He’s a very good defender and he understands the game. He did some things while I was there, like throwing instinctively to bases and made plays and knew where to go with the ball defensively, that I didn’t realize he had that capability. He has a real good awareness of the game and what he is trying to do. -- Keith Lieppman
Donald Moore spoke with Bolt during a late July Lake Monsters' roadtrip in upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Skye, how is everything going for you so far this year?
Skye Bolt: It's going great, it's been a good transition thus far into pro ball and starting my career. I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by a good group of guys and talented guys and coaches that are working to get us better everyday. It's great, man. It's been fun so far.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
SB: Just really to continue to work on honing my skills and really get my feet wet in a sense that I don't want to take it slow, or this 50-game span for granted. I want to continue to progress and get a good jump start going into the Instructs here in the Fall and slingshot into next season.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
SB: I'd say my speed and defense. I think those are my two greatest assets, something I aim to continue to work on along with my switch-hitting ability. As long as you possess a good asset, you have to continue to work on it and continue to make it your best assets, so that is what I want to continue doing.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
SB: Consistency on the dish from both sides. You know, you ask any switch hitter and it's a struggle to maintain both sides and keep them both where you'd like them to be, especially at the same time. It is very rare to have both sides lined up have have them both exactly where you want them to be versus being one-sided or the other. I'm just continuing to work on a routine and figure out what it takes for me to get myself ready each and everyday from both sides of the dish and be at my best and compete against the best, on both sides of the plate.
DM: How are you adjusting professional baseball?
SB: The adjustment has been kind of a little bit like the past two summers. Staying on top of your nutrition, staying on top of your rest and staying on top of the minute intricacies of the season each and everyday. You might have taken it for granted whether it be in high school or in college, as I guess they were provided for you, but you have to do it on your own here at this level and again I can say this past two summers certainly has prepared me for this.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro athlete?
SB: I like the freedom and being able to work on my own, you know. There are no strings attached, there is no set time and guidelines as far as equality with the rest of your teammates. It's a team atmosphere, but at the same time, it's every man for themselves and honestly, I like being able to do whatever I want, at whatever hour I want to, and continue to improve and how I need to improve myself.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
SB: Cram as much food down my throat as possible before this five hour lull. My body needs as many calories as possible. I put on my sliding shorts on the same way, socks the same way, as far as that, I'm not a superstitious man, I think it is just is a matter of habit and thank the good Lord from up above for the good opportunity provided for me before each and every game.
DM: Any hobbies?
SB: I like to be outdoors, hunting, fishing, water skiing on the lake and ocean, anything outdoors is usually where you'll find me. I'm not a big video game or indoor person.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
SB: Atlanta Braves. I'm an Atlanta boy and raised with my team growing up. I love watching my favorite player, Chipper Jones, and swing at both sides of the dish.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
SB: That would be my father, hands down. He played in college and it is kind of a competitive desire between the two of us. You find nowadays the balance between parents wanting it more than their child, but he wants it as much as I do for me, and in a sense he wants to be better at understanding my game and how to translate what he sees, because he is the best mentor I ever had, and having seen the most swings out as any coach I ever had. So he is right there with me getting better himself in a sense that he is learning the game more and more as I go up the ladder and continuing to watch my swing and my intricacies.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
SB: Yeah, Vicmal de la Cruz the other night, took one off the knee cap and about rolled all the way back into the dugout from the batter's box. It's the craziest thing I have ever seen. Thankfully he was alright. I think myself and the rest of the dugout were laughing for a solid 10 minutes there.
DM: You have one of the most unique names in professional sports. Who named you?
SB: Well, the last name was already there, and my dad was an athlete and my mom was in the beauty and super-model scene. I guess when she was younger, and she was Miss Alabama in the seventies, she did a USA tour and I think you wrap that all together, and you have the last name Bolt, I think they wanted to name that pops, so sh*t, they got one. You know it's been a good thing and hopefully and luckily I made it into a good thing and it can be an attention grab for the better or worst and hopefully I continue to make it for the better.
DM: Where do you feel your future lies in professional baseball?
SB: As far as individually, at the highest level. I feel like I want to play in the major leagues. I think that is something realistic for me as long as I continue to work and bust my ass and I want to be a center fielder. There are three outfield positions and I see myself in the middle of the diamond and again, it's something that is not going to be easily given.
DM: It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with you and the best of luck to you and your baseball career in the future.
SB: Thank you.