P2Daily: Pirates Prospects Going Back to the Basics

I haven’t been posting on Pittsburgh Baseball Network lately as I’ve been working on aligning my focus for Spring Training.

I’m the type of person who will attempt three different things, before settling on one. I’ve been working to expand Pirates Prospects in some form, and one of those ideas was PBN. A little over a week ago I decided that PBN was not worth pursuing any further at this present time, in its present form. I’ll be shutting down the PBN site, and working to consolidate everything over to here, including the book orders for John Dreker’s book on the 1890 Pittsburgh Allegheny’s and the 2022 Prospect Guide.

Both books will be printed and shipped at the same time, and the Prospect Guide is getting information from the first two weeks of minor league camp before finalizing.

Pirates Prospects is at no risk of going away. That’s the saving grace that I’ve learned the last few years. We have a long-term, very supportive group of thousands of readers, and a network of connections that ensure I can keep this site running in whatever form I want.

I love this site, because I love stories about player development. I get access to see the inner workings of one of the biggest entertainment industries in America, and all of the people inside that industry trying their various attempts to find security from the idea that they are good enough. The ones who are good enough keep adjusting, no matter how many times their plan goes wrong or gets changed.

Pittsburgh Baseball will return in another form one day in the future. I always have a Plan B and a Plan C through Z.

All of the plans are ways to build Pirates Prospects to something bigger.

*****

At some point before my life really began, everyone I knew told me that my vision for Pirates Prospects sounded either unrealistic, or in its more supportive form, improbable.

I knew that my brain worked different than other people. I take in massive amounts of information about a subject, then I find ways to present that information to other people who didn’t have the time to do all of that research.

When I started this site, I also worked at a bakery. It was a volunteer status, but they were the best bakery for miles. I did the research on that, and I was thorough with my research.

My Plan B for Pirates Prospects was to become the best baker I could become. I would try at home to re-create Fat Witch brownies from Chelsea Market in New York City, ultimately trying to reach copycat perfection that wasn’t available in the small, but growing Virginia market I was looking to enter.

Instead, I created Sox Prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates, at a time when no local newspaper even cared about Pirates minor leaguers, and no one on social media was even thinking about the fact that players in the Dominican Republic exist, much less sharing daily video updates on them.

I eventually created my own thing that diverged from anything that resembles Sox Prospects, because imitation can only take you so far. Lasing change comes when you make an approach your own. I made Pirates Prospects my own in 2012-13, setting forth a process that would continuously grow and evolve this idea I once had.

It grows as I grow.

Over the years, I’ve built up trust across this industry that has allowed me access and knowledge about player development, which gives me a unique perspective that you can’t find anywhere else. That has made this site successful, through the best times and the worst times.

Several years ago, everyone I knew in the before times told me that my vision to expand Pirates Prospects sounded either unrealistic, or in its more supportive form, improbable. It was the same message from the majority of the people who I met once my life began.

That’s when I learned a valuable lesson about development. Those who don’t expect something to happen are always worried it will go away when it does happen. Those who live as if something will happen will eventually find their way to that happening.

And you can never tell people what is going to happen. You have to just show them.

*****

I always respected the hell out of Josh Bell.

I would literally sit a hundred feet away from him while he was doing his job live, in front of thousands of people.

I’d watch as he’d debut a brand new batting stance that no one had ever seen.

The next at-bat, a different stance.

He’d stick with changes that worked until they didn’t work.

He’d abandon something that wasn’t working, even though everyone saw him working on it and wondered why.

He’d try a few different things when nothing was working.

He made the majors, which is incredibly difficult for anyone, and was objectively replacement level.

He still keeps making changes on the highest level and has become an… Pirates fans from 2012 gasp… average MLB starter.

I still don’t think he’s hit his ceiling.

Josh Bell is a perfect, walking example of someone who is bound for success in some form due to a tireless devotion to evolving his game. He won’t stop pursuing his goal until he reaches it, and when he reaches a new level, he’ll try to figure out what he needs to do to reach the next rung.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned covering MLB player development over the years, it’s that people of the present always have some skepticism when hearing about the future, especially when it’s overtly positive or hopeful compared to the current status.

We all know how easily it can go wrong.

We all know the many ways that human beings can make mistakes.

We all have a threshold of how many mistakes we will make before we give up.

We all have pursuits in our life that we will never give up on, no matter how many mistakes it takes.

I think we’re all here, in this section of Prospect World on the internet, because like every other section of this world, we want to see examples of how it goes right.

We want to see examples of hope.

A story of a real person who made it pursuing their dreams and overcoming insurmountable odds and endless obstacles only to achieve that dream, even when everyone else said it was a dream and they should get one of the real jobs that pays actual money working for someone else who is pursuing their dream.

We want someone to believe in when we don’t believe in ourselves.

A real life example that no matter how bad things get, we can go to some remote training center in a warehouse in North Carolina and improve ourselves with their plan to better our lives.

Or, maybe you just want hope that the Pirates will be good again, and hopefully soon.

One of my favorite parts of Pirates Prospects is how it inherently comes with stories of hope, no matter how good or bad the farm system is. It’s following the development of human beings as they’re increasingly challenged and increasingly tested at higher and higher levels, wondering if they can make it in the real world.

It’s extreme education.

It’s a study of how we all learn, once you realize that how we all learn anything is the method in which we all learn everything.

And once you’ve cracked the code, you realize that we can all try to be Shohei Ohtani, or we can try to be our best selves and always be improving our game, pushing through any setbacks until we’re mentioned in the same sentence as Shohei Ohtani in the long-term.

That metaphor is more about Bubba Chandler, specifically, who is featured in the Pirates Prospects Spotlight.

However, the general principle stands.

I’m here to make Pirates Prospects the best that it can be, and I’m constantly trying to improve that process.

The only way to do that is to show it.

Site Updates

This week, we’ll have one P2Daily article about minor league camp, and one daily feature. Ethan Hullihen will have lockout thoughts. And I’m already working on next week’s Tuesday article drop.

P2Daily will take the place of the old First Pitch articles, with links to Pirates coverage around the internet, including our friends at Pittsburgh Baseball Now. We won’t be covering the Pirates as much here, unless it’s a focus on younger players making the transition into the majors, so check out Cody and Danny over there.

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

The Pirates Are Giving Bubba Chandler Work as a Two-Way Player

I’ve been waiting for awhile for the Pirates to develop a two-way player. I broke down how it would work with Bubba Chandler. I’ll have more on this in an upcoming article.

Daily Links

**Jason Mackey has a look at the unique swing from Henry Davis.

**Alex Stumpf looks at the recent changes driving hitting development.

**Former Pirates Pitcher Óliver Pérez Retires

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