From the moment I started this site, the biggest inspirations I’ve had have come from other team prospect sites. There weren’t many of them in early 2009, but the few that were out there were really good. I started this site because I wanted to create a Pirates version of what I saw at Sox Prospects. Basically, I wanted a site that gave information on every player in the minor league system, with live coverage of those players. We achieved that a long time ago, and we continue expanding our coverage beyond what I had ever imagined at the start of this venture.
After the first year, I had a crazy idea that this could be a full-time job. At the time, it was unheard of for someone off the street with very little media experience to just start his own site and have that turn into a full-time deal. It’s still kind of rare, and requires a perfect mixture of hard work, good timing, good luck, and most importantly the readers. That last part was huge, as that’s a big reason why we were one of a few sites focusing on the minor leagues at the time, but the only one that managed to break through to the outlet you see today.
In order to make this a full-time job, I decided to release a book — the yearly Prospect Guide. The inspiration came from Indians Prospects Insider, who had a similar book that they released each year. After conversations with their site owner, I got the info I needed to create the book. On a related note, IPI switched to a subscription site this January, joining Scout.com. Their move, plus a few similar offers for this site to make such a jump to a regional network, was what inspired me to make our move to a subscription site. Conversations with Dejan Kovacevic during Spring Training about how his site was going over in Pittsburgh sealed the deal.
From the start of this move, I’ve been debating on what to do with the Prospect Guide. I definitely wanted to keep it around. We’ve released five versions so far, and this year we’re in the best position ever to provide information on every player in the system. As a result, this year’s book is lined up to include the most information of any book we’ve released. The big question was, how do we incorporate the book into the subscription service.
I’ve been thinking about this all season, and now that we’re a few weeks away from the time period where I’d normally start the three-month process of writing the book, I wanted to announce our plans:
The 2016 Prospect Guide will be FREE to anyone who has a Top Prospect Plan. Anyone with an Annual Plan will get the book for $10 off. There won’t be any discounts for Monthly Plans, although hopefully this will be incentive for you to upgrade. Maybe that’s not a good business strategy, since monthly subscribers pay more per year and per month than any other plan, and I’m offering additional discounts if they upgrade to a cheaper monthly plan. But we’ll ignore that right now.
If you haven’t signed up — and I don’t know what you’re waiting for — then you can do so on the subscription page. Our Top Prospect Plan averages out to just below $2.25 per month. With that, you get our full coverage from MLB to the DSL (and we’ve covered it all live this year), with anywhere from 5-10 Pirates articles on average per day. You also get the 2016 Prospect Guide, which will probably end up costing around $25 this year, due to the book expansions with our added coverage. That makes the monthly plan even more valuable.
If you have a Monthly or Annual plan, you can upgrade at a pro-rated price by going to the subscription page. If you already have a Top Prospect Plan, do nothing. When the book is released for pre-sales, we’ll send you a coupon code good for one copy of the book, shipping included! Based on previous years, I anticipate the book to be released for pre-sales around October, with the book release coming after the Winter Meetings in December.
Anyone who participated in the DraftKings promotion is eligible. If you upgraded your free one year subscription to a three-year plan, you don’t have to do anything. If you’d like to upgrade your free one-year plan now, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on the DraftKings promotion, see below.
This promotion only covers the 2016 Prospect Guide, and there are no current plans for future books. That said, my goal has always been to find the perfect mixture of expanding the site’s resources to provide the most coverage possible, combined with providing the most value for subscribers. So I’m not ruling anything out for future books, and my goal is to have discounts for those in the future.
As if this deal for the site and the book wasn’t good enough, let’s go to another announcement about expanding the site’s live coverage.
Upcoming Live Coverage
Last week I mentioned that I’m looking to expand the Pirates live coverage on the road at the end of the season. That started with this week’s trip to Miami, where I covered the four game series against the Marlins. The Pirates return home today, and Pete Ellis will have live coverage from PNC Park this weekend, joined by Sean McCool on Sunday.
A week from today the Pirates head out to St. Louis for one of the most important series of the year. I will now be covering that series. I’m also looking into the possibility of following that up by covering the Cincinnati Reds series on Monday-Wednesday of the following week.
My other priority this month is to cover the Cubs series in Chicago at the end of September. And I’m hoping to add more to that expanded coverage in the upcoming weeks. This is all in addition to our normal minor league coverage, which will be wrapping up shortly, and concluding with playoff coverage throughout the system.
We have a special promotion with DraftKings, where you can get a free one-year subscription to the site, simply by signing up as a new DraftKings customer (must be a new customer) and making a deposit. Just sign up for an account (using that link), make your first deposit ($5 minimum), and participate in a contest. Once you have completed those steps, send an e-mail to Javier Vargas at DraftKings (email@example.com) and let him know you are participating in the Pirates Prospects subscription promotion. Javier will confirm whether you’ve met the requirements, then will contact me so I can give you a coupon code that will allow you to set up your one year subscription.
This promotion makes the above deal even more of a value. Your $5 deposit to DraftKings will get you one year. After that, we’ll send you a code that you can upgrade to a three-year plan for $50 more (the $50 upgrade is paid when you sign up with us, and not when you deposit to DraftKings). So for a minimum of $55, you’d get three years on the site, plus the 2016 Prospect Guide for free. If you consider that the Prospect Guide will be around $25, then you’re basically getting three years of site access for $30, which is about $0.83 per month! That is the best deal you’re going to find, and it’s an insane rate for all of the live coverage we provide.