Please Welcome Matt Gajtka to Pirates Prospects

I was sitting in a brewery in Tampa a few weeks ago, trying to hide away from the traffic combination of the NHL All-Star Game, and Gasparilla, which is a large parade where people dress up as Pirates, and not the kind featured on this site. I knew that Matt Gajtka was working the All-Star Game. I didn’t know that this would be his final assignment before leaving Dejan Kovacevic’s site. Had I known that, I would have quickly left my beer behind at Angry Chair, and would have made my way a few blocks over to try and recruit Matt.

So when Matt made the announcement that he was a “free agent” of sorts, I didn’t even get through reading it all before texting him. Then texting again. Then drawing up a 2018 site plan and budget that involved him and Alan Saunders sharing the MLB coverage on the site. Then discussing those plans with him. And now I’m pleased to announce that Matt Gajtka has joined Pirates Prospects.

I’ll have details tomorrow on how the 2018 site coverage will go. The quick hits for now:

**Alan and Matt will be the majority voice of the MLB side of things. There will be daily articles during the season, all from them. I’ve loved Alan’s work and take on the team in his year and a half on the site, and I’ve loved Matt’s work from afar. They both have a similar approach to their baseball analysis, and as good friends, they work well together.

**What the above means is that I’m scaling back my own part in the MLB coverage. I’ll still have a weekly column that will look at bigger stories throughout the organization. I’ll still have Spring Training coverage, and a few thoughts here and there. But I want the MLB coverage to come from Alan and Matt, while the majority of my work is heading up the prospect side of things on the site. You know, because of the site’s name and everything.

**The current plan for the site has 5-6 featured articles per day, with daily MLB articles, two features from the minor league side, a daily featured column, plus our normal features like the Morning Report and the Prospect Watch. That doesn’t include news and other unexpected articles. So we could be getting back to the normal average of ten posts per day on the site.

**Those features will include a weekly column from Matt, along with three other Pirates articles. Most of the daily MLB and prospect articles will be shorter, and the features will be the ones that expand beyond 1,000 words, going into greater detail.

In short, if you’re not already a subscriber, you’re going to want to subscribe, because we’re going to have all of the Pirates coverage you want, and now have another talented writer joining the team. I’m looking forward to working with Matt, and I hope you join me in welcoming him to the site.

And now, a brief welcome message from Matt:

What’s that line from the Hair Club for Men commercials? “I’m not only the president; I’m also a member.”

That doesn’t apply literally in my case, of course. Our man Tim Williams remains the owner/columnist here at Pirates Prospects, but I’m happy to announce that — after being a satisfied member of this ‘club’ for some time — I’m joining the staff of contributors here for the 2018 Major League Baseball season.

I’m looking forward to working alongside Tim and my good friend Alan Saunders in giving you greater insight into the big-league club, something I endeavored to do in my three years previous to this at DK Pittsburgh Sports, both as a beat reporter and an analyst.

Furthermore, I’ve admired Tim’s success with this site from afar. As an online entrepreneur now myself, it’ll be fun to play a role on a team that goes about things the right way. Maybe I can pick up a few pointers along the journey.

For me, baseball is more than a pastime. It’s an endlessly fascinating conversation piece in addition to being an engaging sport and a part of who I am. It’ll be my pleasure to explore the storylines of the 2018 Pirates and interact with all of you (yinz) in the process.

As I write this, I’m looking out the second-floor window of the North Hills house I share with my wife and our young son and all I see are snow-covered roofs and gray skies. Don’t get me wrong: I love winter. But, I’m looking forward to spending the warmer months around baseball once again.

Always nice to have something to anticipate. — Matt Gajtka

  • great pickup I subscribe to dk and matt is the best writer they have ever had……..looking forward to his stories!

  • Well Matt, this is great news! Have enjoyed your articles on DK site and now looking forward to a great season of coverage at PNC from you and Alan!

    Been an admirer of your writing skills for long time. Sure wish your tenure will see Pirates fortunes improve from the lackluster years we’ve just had!

  • Haven’t read your work before Matt, but if Tim thinks you are great that’s enough for me. Look forward to reading your insights!

  • Great news! Glad to be able to follow Matt’s work again.

  • This is wonderful! Loved Matt’s writing on DK’s site. Excited for his bucco’s coverage. Thumbs up!

  • This is great news. I’m delighted to know that Matt will be writing for Pirates Prospects, and especially glad to know you are expanding the site’s coverage of the major-league (so to speak) ballclub.

  • Ponunciation key, please?!!

    Is that a hunky name? Slavic or something?

    Is that pronounced like one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time: Gattica?
    Or is it more like “Inspector Gajtka”?

    Matt, I think you’re missing a vowell in there somewhere.


  • Well represented on the latest KATOH projections:

    The highlight is Hayes and Tucker being side by side in the top 20. KATOH is also fairly bullish on Meadows compared to other outlets. It seems like it’s projecting Keller to be a mid-rotation guy.

    On top of that we had 3 other prospects show up Moran, Sanchez, and Stallings. Strange that it’s Stallings and not Diaz but, if I’m being honest, I was more impressed by Stallings than Diaz in their short time at the majors.

  • Biggest free agent signing by any Pirates related organization in quite a while!

  • The most notable difference between the DKPittsburgh site and this one is true Pirates fans exist here whereas there is filled with Pittsburgh fans in general, but not necessarily Pirates fans. The negativity in the Pirates comment sections there is palpable.

  • Tim–Excellent hire, as I have enjoyed Gajtka’s work at DK’s site and consider him an excellent sports writer.

    I am sure you’re excited about the possibilities facing you, but–as a legitimate “gray heard” and watching DK’s experience, a site I still enjoy–don’t try and grow too fast.

  • Congrats and welcome! Never read DK’s site, but love PP and you coming on-board just makes a great thing better.

  • Welcome and good luck Matt. No drama here. Just baseball. Nothin but baseball.

  • As a lurker you probably know that many people here were part of DK’s PG community so we’ve had our DK breakup too, lol.
    I’m not sure how you interact with the people but it’s one of the special features of PP IMO that makes the work “conversational” rather than dictating.
    Welcome to the family.

  • Tim … You may have just spent more in free agency this winter than Neal!

    • On a more serious note, are we witnessing the site transitioning to all things Pirates as in full blown coverage of all the Pirates’ games?

      Also, if I can put in an early request for Matt to do some follow up articles on NH’s drafting success. I think that would be an excellent connection between the two universes.

  • Matt. Are you wealthy? We need you to buy the Pirates please. Tim hiring you is a smokescreen for why we really want you.

  • Does this mean that the site might have a limited expansion in coverage to the Pens and Steelers during the somewhat slower times of the baseball offseason?

  • I’ve always loved this writer. I couldn’t/wouldn’t follow him because of who he was working for, but now that he’s on the good side I’m thrilled to be able to enjoy his work.

    Welcome aboard Matt!

  • Nice to see Williams isn’t afraid to add to that championship-caliber core.

  • This is great!

  • This is great news. Welcome to PP Matt. Can’t wait to be entertained by your coverage!!

  • Very happy to see him join this site. His stats and writing style will bring a fresh view.

  • rickmontgomery
    February 7, 2018 3:24 pm

    Good addition. And you didn’t have to give up a writer to be named later! Tim Williams for GM! Oh, and welcome to the site, Matt. I don’t read other sites so I don’t know your work (yet) but I’m looking forward to being edumacated.

    • Haha I’ve been lurking here for a while. Thought it might be awkward for a reporter/analyst at another site to comment here. No more worries.

      • I’m sure I’m new to you but I hope you give me a fair shake Matt. A lot of people here feel I’m a hopeless Huntington apologist and pollyanna always trying to shine things up in Piratesland. But anyway, I very much enjoy your work.

  • “Spend those dollars!”
    I mean, if the Pirates could compete somewhere near the level Tim is doing here they would have been much better…

    Apart from that, Welcome Matt!

  • I was hoping this would happened after you left DK Sports, looking forward to your coverage Matt!

  • Great news, now I will not be going back and forth between DK just to read Matt’s coverage on the Pirates.

  • Welcome Matt! You were by far the best writer at DKPS and your integrity showed in you journalism. I am glad you escaped the Pirates coverage over there. I look forward to reading your stuff here.
    Tim, this is a fantastic move and I think it will payoff with many new subscribers.

  • Yeah, and in three years when everyone in the league has figured out his writing, you’ll have to package him up with some promising WV Power beat writer to dump his salary on Toronto in exchange for a quad-A columnist who’ll write three or four columns then quietly elect to go freelance. SMH.

  • does he have any tight sweaters?

  • So stoked about this. Matt was the best read on dk.

  • Hugh C. McBride
    February 7, 2018 1:34 pm

    Matt’s coverage of the Pirates was one of the main reasons I subscribed to that site – and his removal from the Bucs’ beat was one of many reasons why DK lost my business. Didn’t realize he’d left there, & beyond thrilled to learn that he’ll be part of Pirates Prospects going forward. Tremendous addition to an already fantastic organization. This must be what Astros fans felt like when their squad got Gerrit Cole.

    • Hopefully I can live up to the hype.

      Yes, I left DKPS about a week ago. Onward we go …

  • Welcome, Matt! I always enjoyed your Pirates work on DK’s site, and I am looking forward to reading your work here.

  • Better FA pickup than the Pirates have made yet *rimshot*.
    This is a GREAT hire for PP. The analytics that Matt embraces is great and one can tell his love for the game from DK. Welcome to PP Matt.

  • Great hire!!!

  • This is a great hire and has likely solidified a subscription renewal from me (actually a gift subscription from my in laws).

    One question: will the new hire be forced to drink the ‘Huntington is good at drafting’ kool aid?

    • We don’t have any of that Kool Aid here. Although I am interested in looking at the data from Matt’s recent research and running it up against some of the questions I have about changes to the scouting and development process (EX: Has the drafting gotten better since they overhauled the scouting department after the 2009 draft?)

      • Would be great, Tim. You’ll recall my research looked into major-league WAR primarily as a grading tool. There are many other ways to do it.

        • What other grading tools did you consider when you looked into the topic last summer?

      • This analysis clearly says no. In fact, 2008 was one of their better drafts.

        • If I understand each of those things, I get the impression upper-level development and transition to the Majors was the bigger problem, rather than talent acquired by the draft. They have one of the highest pWAR values, but their actual Major League WAR production is in the bottom half. Like the players they drafter were well regarded and thought to be likely producers *until* they got to the Majors and faltered.

      • Would love to see some deeper investigation into whether the problem lies more in the drafting (WHO is taken) vs. the development (HOW they are groomed).

        Two very different variables; both are vital to the prospect pipeline.

        I know it’s something that’s hard to quantify (how do you tell if the failure is more development vs. the picks?), but I think the general perception is always that the scouts and GM are to blame for poor selections, and little thought is given to the coaches and organizational development approach of young players.

        • The problem I’ve run into with every draft analysis I’ve ever started is that it breaks off into different questions like the ones you mentioned. Is it drafting or development? Is the development issue the team or the player? Did the team improve or decline due to various changes? How do you account for value of traded players who didn’t work out, but had value? And so on. It’s a complex process, and difficult to put a pass/fail grade on.

      • Tim, lets be real, there is absolutely no way possible for it to have gotten worse after the 2009 draft, so the real question is has the draft gotten marginally better or significantly better. I would go with marginally, but I am always open to listening to different points of view.

  • Nice get, Tim! Best free agent on the market.

  • This is perfect. We get even better MLB coverage, Matt has something to look forward to in spite of current Pgh weather, and Tim gets to focus on stuff that makes the site even stronger. Congratulations to all!

  • Welcome!

  • I never gave DK any of my money, so I have not read anything by Matt. I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to see why others are so excited about this announcement.

    Best wishes for a great season to Matt, P2 & most importantly, the Pirates organization.

  • Fantastic! Looking forward to it.

  • Nice hire. Really enjoyed his stuff at DK.

  • very nice hire

  • Good hire, have enjoyed Matt’s pieces on the Pirates

  • Welcome aboard Matt! It’s great to have you over here and back focusing on baseball and hopefully baseball stats!

    (You may know me as my alter ego, rk98, from DK’s site.)

    • I do know your name well! Good to see we won’t be permanently estranged.

      I’m not a one-trick pony, though. Just bought in as a co-owner with with a friend of mine … that’s the entrepreneur
      stuff I was referencing in the welcome note above.

      As for football … I’m OK not covering it. 🙂

      • Nice! I checked out a few articles that seemed up my alley. I’ll put this on my daily read list.

        Too bad about football, I would have liked to have seen your take on spending close to $60 million on only three players (Ben, Brown, and Bell). It would have made for a good Matt’s Financial Stats article

  • Awesome news. Look forward to Matt’s contributions.

  • Welcome Matt! So what do you think about the Cole trade? 🙂

  • This is the best news I could have gotten. I only subscribed to DK’s site for Matt’s stuff, and I was hoping I’d get a chance to read him again. Welcome aboard, Matt!

  • Waitaminnit…is Tim adding hockey coverage?

    Seriously, tho, I think that this is a GREAT hire.

  • Wow, the best site around for coverage of the entire Pirates Organization from top to bottom just got even better.

    • WillyMoGarcia33
      February 7, 2018 12:37 pm

      Matt definitely adds another dimension of nice flow to the site. Barry Melrose would say he’s got nice salad.

  • Doooope.

    Glad to be able to enjoy your work again, Matt!

  • Don’t know much about Matt but his chest would look great on tv.

    Just kidding! This is a fantastic hire. Well done Tim and welcome aboard Matt.

  • justinblain1996
    February 7, 2018 12:18 pm

    YESSSS! Best of both worlds! One of my favorite reporters reporting for my favorite site. Can’t wait for the coverage this season. Welcome Matt!

  • Daniel Nava and now this! Too much great news! No, seriously welcome to the staff and it is great to know things will only get better. Well, I mean on this site, not the Pirates.