First Pitch: Pirates Prospects Gathering in Bradenton During Spring Training

One of the things I wanted to do this year while I’m on the road is to have Pirates Prospects gatherings in each city I travel to. It’s something that has been requested in the past, and honestly it pretty much happens informally, as I always get a few messages from people at every game telling me that they are in the park that night, and wanting to say hello. So why not have an official gathering?

The best place for the first one would be down here in Bradenton for Spring Training. I realize that not everyone makes it down during this time, and that the group might be limited. At the same time, I see some of you guys almost everyday at Pirate City. So I know some people will be available for this.

The best date looks to be March 22nd, and while I don’t want to make it official yet, that will most likely be the day I’m going with. The MLB team is off that day, which means I don’t have to go to McKechnie in the morning, and don’t have to leave Pirate City at a certain time in the afternoon (certain time = right before the MLB game ends so I can catch Clint Hurdle’s post-game press conference). This means that I can spend the entire day at Pirate City.

Looking at the schedule, the Triple-A and Double-A teams are home that day, so we would get a chance to see some of the talent in the upper levels. That’s also late enough that the top prospects will be down in minor league camp, giving us an almost guaranteed chance to see guys like Josh Bell, Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire, Max Moroff, and maybe one or two of the Indianapolis pitching group. We’d also most likely get to see Austin Meadows and all of the other top prospects who aren’t currently in MLB camp. Overall, it would be a great day for watching prospects.

We might work in something else beyond just watching the action at Pirate City. Perhaps a quick stop at Mixon’s for lunch and baseball talk, or a drive over to Darwin Brewing Company after the games for a beer and a Q&A session.

I’ll have more concrete announcements on this on Friday, but for now I wanted to throw this out there and get some feedback from you guys. I want to see who might be available for the gathering, and also your thoughts on the planned event (basically just an old fashioned approach of a few people watching and talking about baseball). And like I said, I’d want to do this in every Pirates’ minor league city, and plan on being at every city once again this year.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or if commenting isn’t your thing, send me an e-mail to

I’ve got nothing else for tonight. A lot of interviews to transcribe and a lot of features coming up for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow afternoon. But here are the articles from the last two days, if you missed any of them.

**Why We Could Start to See Power From Josh Bell in 2016. I wanted to highlight this one first, in case you missed it from Tuesday. I don’t want to say this was as good as my Jameson Taillon article from last year, as that was one of my favorite articles I’ve written on this site in the seven years it’s been around. But this article had all of the elements of my favorite articles to write, most importantly a long history of following one key goal (developing Josh Bell’s power) with years of video, analysis, and background on the player to work off of. This is analysis you can’t get anywhere else, and that’s not just a promotional line. No one else covers the system to the point where we do, where they know the specific details of Bell’s development and the right questions to ask to get more information on those details. These are the types of articles that this site was made for.

**Nutting: Access to Talent is the Most Important Thing For the Pirates in the CBA. Nutting talked about a lot of things, but managed to evade a lot of the big questions. He did have some interesting comments on the draft and international changes, and the importance of access to talent. Since that is minor league related, I felt this would be the best place to focus the article, for obvious reasons.

**No Restrictions For Cole, Kang Swings in Cages, Hamstring Strain For Luebke. The latest injury updates, with continued good news on Cole and Kang, but a downgrade for Cory Luebke.

**MLB Network to Show 15 Pirates Spring Training Games. No shortage of Pirates Spring Training games to watch this year.

**Pirates Notes: Kang Watches Pitches, Prospect Battles, Figueroa Gets a Look. Thoughts and notes from yesterday on Jung-ho Kang, Cole Figueroa, and some prospect battle videos.

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Sounds good for the 22nd. Either place is good. Leaving for PA on the 23rd so it should work.


That is a great idea, but my travel to Florida will take place in early March and then we start moving North to Savannah/Hilton Head for golf and some serious homage to the Irish. I hope to meet you guys at Pirate City or McKechnie the first week of March.


Not sure what the hotel situation looks like in Bradenton/Tampa that time of year, because I haven’t looked. I would love to go, and the wife ok’d the trip, but it would actually involve a lot of other things for me to be able to make it that date, like changing my vacation. So, unfortunately, I will not be able to make it.
However, since someone else brought it up, if you do make a tour of major league parks, I live midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, so if you make it up this way, let me know.


Haha I just took march 23rd off for the purpose of attending a st game. Oh well

Marty W

Tim, I too have tickets for the game against the Orioles on March 23. Will be driving down from my home in Oviedo, which is just outside Orlando. And today I got a ticket for the game against the Tigers in Lakeland next Tuesday. Bucco Fever! Catch It!

Mike Shutlock

Tim, I know it’s still in the planning stages, but what time frame are you thinking for the 22nd of March? I’m just trying to get an idea so I can make work plans accordingly. Appreciate it.

Leonard G

This sounds great. I will be at Spring training that week and think it would be great to go to Darwin for a cold craft beer and a Q&A.

Bill W

I would really like the ST event but conflicts are out there. Altoona, Morgantown and Charleston are doable with me. Would be neat to put faces with names. Oh on second thought………lol


I have a face for radio.

Brian Bernard

I will look forward to the Morgantown event and hopefully a future Bradenton meet.

joe s

Unfortunately I am stuck in NYC but would like to participate if it ever comes here.


You’re just going to do this in MiLB cities and not MLB cities? A P2 gathering in Philly would be awesome. Although the Black Bears play at Aberdeen. That would be cool. Too bad the Blue Rocks don’t play a Pirates’ affiliate.


Dude, Philly and Baltimore are awesome. You like craft beer. If you go to Philly, go to Eulogy in Old City. Here’s their selection:


Monday 5/22 could be a possibility for me. I am still working out my schedule but am supposed to start my internship at Darwin sometime around the 21st so there is a small chance I might even be at Darwin that day. If not I can probably change my work schedule to be off around 12 or 1pm. I also think I will be at the game with some friends on St. Patrick’s day.


Ok. If a meetup happens just keep me in the loop and I will try to plan around it.


Arrgh. We’re not going down this year after making it down the past three.

Personally, I’d suggest Star Fish Co.for a meetup as you’ll easily have a half hour standing in line with nothing else to do than talk Bucs 🙂

Wilbur Miller

Jose’s shouldn’t be a problem now.


March 22 sounds good to me! Can you post a schedule of the minor league spring training games? I’m in Clearwater and would love to know when the Pirates are playing at the Phillies and Jays.


Thanks, Tim, don’t know how I missed that!

Dave E

Great idea! I’ll be there on 22nd.

Mike Shutlock

I’d be in for the 22nd. Looking forward to it.

Rob W

We will be in Florida next week. Lakeland Tuesday for the game and Bradenton Wednesday for the game. Staying on Orlando Friday to Friday.


I’m in for Altoona

Zach H

Probably moving from Virginia to Clearfield at some point this summer. So I could probably do Altoona.

Tom G

I would absolutely like to go… As a long time reader that, while not into commenting personally, sincerely enjoys reading the comment threads — I think it would fun to put some faces to the names!
Consider me in!


Why don’t you come to Sydney for a PP gathering here! Bring Cutch!


Can you include me as your associate? Lol

Adrian Carnelutti

I second that. I think it’s a great idea and we have some great boutique breweries in Sydney


Tim, can’t make Florida. Great idea though! When will you be in Pittsburgh?

Robert Dawson

Tim, unfortunately I won’t be making a trip to Florida this spring but would love and look forward to a gathering in Altoona this summer. Sounds like a great idea and a good time!

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