At the end of 2019, I didn’t know what I wanted this site to eventually become. I knew it needed to change, and I knew that I needed to take on a new role to avoid burnout.
Because of the uncertainty, I removed the paywall from the site. We still had subscribers on recurring subscriptions, but we stopped taking new subscribers in December 2019. Just when you’d want to make a big change, in hindsight.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the site continued to evolve without a paywall. I put the paywall back up in July, protecting our premium article drops. What was reassuring was that we were able to survive through these changes, without taking on new customers. That is due to our long-term supporters, and I can’t thank them enough for keeping this going for so long.
Pirates Prospects was originally supported by advertising. We switched to a full paywall in 2015, and had very few free articles between then and when I took the paywall down in 2019. The site was able to grow tremendously during that time, in terms of resources and coverage. It wasn’t able to grow as much in terms of readers, with all of our content hidden.
Starting today, I’m removing the paywall from Pirates Prospects and moving to an open support system.
You’ll notice a yellow “Contribute” box at the top of the site. Or, you might notice a banner on some of the new pages or at the bottom of each article. These will take you to the area where you can support our work. You can contribute as little as $1, and there is no maximum.
Rather than asking a few thousand people for $50 a year — and then having to deal with all of the access issues that take my time away from developing the site — we’re going to open the site up to everyone, with the hope that Pirates fans will find enough value to Contribute and keep this going.
I will be cancelling the auto-renew of existing subscriptions over the next few weeks. If you were a subscriber, I’m asking that you consider your previous subscription to be your Contribution to the site.
You’ll notice that there are no advertisements on this site. There’s no paywall. This site is filled with our own Pirates coverage, and it’s all absolutely free. The catch is that, to keep it free, we’re going to need some form of support.
All we’re asking for each reader is to give what they can at whatever interval they choose, based on how they value the site. If you want to hit that Contribute button once a month, that’s awesome! If you only hit it every few years, that’s great as well! I honestly have no clue how this experiment will work, but I do know that this site has enough readers, supporters, and value for this new approach to work.
The new approach on the site this year led to the need for a new site design, which took us offline a few days, but is finally completed! Below you can find more information on the new Pirates Prospects.
New Site Design
Aside from the paywall going down, the big change is the new design on Pirates Prospects. This is meant to make the site far more organized, beyond just the presentation of articles.
That part is very important, though. Our coverage has evolved rapidly this year, and a new design was needed to present the new approach.
However, we didn’t have easily accessible information on the site, and that has been corrected. If you look under the Home link in the site’s menu, you can find new pages with information on the site, our writers, and how to get Help with your site account.
Our P2Daily section was introduced this year, with Anthony Murphy’s outstanding updates throughout the system leading the way. If you click the Daily link in the site’s menu, you’ll be taken to our new P2Daily page.
This page is designed to give you three days of updates. During the offseason, you’ll see the last three P2Daily articles, along with the latest Arizona Fall League and Winter League recaps. There is also a section recapping the latest news and rumors.
In a way, P2Daily represents what this site has always been — the latest updates on the team and a daily look through the farm system. Going forward, the actual P2Daily article will post at midnight every night.
Our newest site concept launches with the new site design…
The article drops at the start of 2022 were the beginning of the new Pirates Prospects. Those article drops are also part of the new P2Weekly schedule. You can find more information on the Weekly link in the menu.
While the P2Daily section represents more of a classic blog with updates, P2Weekly is more of an evolving magazine. It starts each week with this article, First Pitch, on Monday morning. The article drop will follow on Tuesday, giving our best seven features of the week.
From there, we dive into the opinions part of the week. All of our columns will now run on Wednesday. Our most popular new feature this year, Prospect Roundtable, will run on Thursday, giving our writers a chance to weigh in on various subjects around the system. Every Friday, we post our weekly discussion thread, led by Jeff Reed.
Over the weekend, John Dreker highlights what is happening in the Winter Leagues, and Ethan Hullihen provides his weekly payroll and roster updates.
P2Daily will run each day at midnight. The P2Weekly articles will run daily at noon.
The Weekly page also features a section for player features, which can also be found on the site’s homepage.
We’ve had a lot of questions lately about the status of The 2022 Guide. Those questions can now be answered on our new resources page. In short: The book is now a solo project by myself, separate from what you find on the site. It’s also expanded in focus, and will be different than what you’ve seen in the previous ten versions. Check out that link for all of the details.
The link above will eventually have all of the site resources, including Rankings, Payroll, trackers for the Draft and International market, and our Player Pages. Look for those in a future update.
This feature, First Pitch, has taken many forms over the years. I believe I’ve been writing this since 2012. It will now lead the P2Weekly schedule, serving as a Recap/Preview. Each week, you can read First Pitch to find what you missed the previous week on Pirates Prospects. This will also be the place where we preview the upcoming article drops.
I might have some input on the Pirates each week, though my role going forward is mostly going to be a Producer of the content on this site. My writing on the team will mostly be limited to The Guide.
I will have music recommendations and Sporcle quizzes in this feature, starting next week. Looking for a recommendation now? The new album by The 1975 is amazing.
If you have any issues with the site, use the new Help page.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.