Pirates Prospects celebrated its 14th anniversary on Monday.
I celebrated in the best way possible — getting proper rest, then finalizing and filing my Baseball America article on Malcom Nunez. BA subscribers can check out that article on the power hitting first base prospect who was acquired by the Pirates in the Jose Quintana trade.
From there, I went back to doing what I’ve been doing a lot this month — planning for the 2023 coverage on Pirates Prospects.
Fourteen years ago, I was starting this site on my own as a resource for Pirates fans to learn about the players in the farm system, and to track payroll and other roster resources. I wanted to pursue a sports writing career at age 25, after being a writing “prospect” with a few articles on ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the gone but never forgotten AOL Fanhouse. I was hoping this site would eventually pay my phone bill. It led to a full-time job, money to pay other people for their contributions, and I’ve been the Pirates’ correspondent for Baseball America over the last four years. I could have only dreamt of this in 2009.
The goal of the site is the same as always: To fill the gaps in coverage of this organization — and provide an independent look at the team.
At some point in the next few weeks, you’ll see a First Pitch titled “Pirates Prospects in 2023”, which will explain the 2023 coverage and my plan for this site as it enters its 15th season covering the Pirates.
Here’s a quick preview for that post:
**I will be doing less writing, and will eventually shift my work to podcasts and video.
**There will be Resources added prior to the season, including Ethan Hullihen’s payroll page. We’ll also have the Player Pages and Depth Charts loaded with new features.
**The Prospect Guide is still in the final stages of editing. Just like in 2010, when I wrote the first one, I’m trying something completely new. Just like in 2010, when I wrote the first one, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing some days. It will be finished by my hard deadline, which I’m not publishing. This is essentially an art project, and will release when it’s ready. Check back next week for the latest update. John Dreker’s History Book will be published with The Guide.
**The content schedule that I established in 2022 will largely be in place. That includes Pirates Prospects Weekly, centered around our Tuesday article drops. It also includes Pirates Prospects Daily, which Anthony Murphy has taken up.
**I want to build this site to four full-time jobs in the next few years. Those jobs: Producer, Editor/Pirates Writer, Minor League Scouting Director, and Photographer. Right now, I am the Producer. I’m also the Editor and the Pirates Writer. I’m the Scouting Director as well, though I’m slowly shifting that role to Anthony Murphy — whose video breakdowns and coverage of the system this past year have been incredible. As usual, David Hague is our photographer. When we grow big enough, I have a few people I’m eyeing for the Editor role.
**We will have minor league writers in each city this year for the first time since 2018. I’m aiming to have a feature on every player in the system by the end of 2023. The minor league writers will make up the Tuesday article drops. The way I envision it is that every Tuesday you will get a report from each affiliate — plus a Scouting Notes article from Anthony, and maybe a feature from me, if there’s time. These article drops will be very player-centric in 2023.
**I might move to Pittsburgh in 2023. I might also stay in Florida and focus on my health one more season while I get everything above in line. Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. Burnout is real, and takes years to recover from. Right now, this site wouldn’t last long without me. I’m trying to change that so the site can eventually continue separate from me and I can take a few years away from baseball. I’m committing to 6-8 more years of running this site, while writing my Time Traveler novels on the side.
**Here is what I need from our readers this week: What do you want to see on Pirates Prospects in 2023? You can leave your suggestion in the comments below, or email them to email@example.com.
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The site still needs user support to grow, even with the advertisements. In the past, we’ve received at least $80,000 in user support each year, via subscriptions. In most years, the support has been well over six-figures. My budget this year is going very conservative, planning for less than the previous low total, now that the site has removed the paywall.
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THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
We’ve got features on Carmen Mlodzinski and Johan Oviedo hitting the site on Tuesday. If you missed last week’s article drop, we had features on the Pirates scouting in Asia, the Greensboro outfield depth, and recently acquired pitcher Scott Randall.
Last week, I wrote a column looking at the position player depth in Pittsburgh in 2023 — from a 20th percentile projection perspective. This week, I’ll be looking at the pitching depth in the same way.
We returned with Roundtable last week, giving our favorite articles from 2022. No spoilers here on the weekly Roundtable topic.
We also will have a new concept for Pirates Discussion on Friday, which was a lot of fun to put together.
Over the weekend, John Dreker will have the Pirates Winter Report, and Ethan Hullihen will have Pirates Business. Check out John’s article from this past week on Duane Underwood Jr., and Ethan’s article on the 2022 official Pirates payroll numbers.
FUQUAY VINYL PLAYLIST
I loved the new stuff from boygenius ($20) and Caroline Rose (Miami) this week. The playlist is very boygenius heavy (boygenius = Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridges, and Lucy Dacus).
WEEKLY PIRATES QUIZ
How many of you are good with number associations?
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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.