Three years ago we released the Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide, which was a book that featured profiles of every player in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. The book was a big reason that this site became a full time job, and allowed the site to expand to provide more coverage of the minors, and the prospects making the jump to the major league level. It has always been my intention to keep the articles on the site free. The ad revenue and the site’s high traffic helps a lot, but the Prospect Guide sales allow the site to do more.
If you’ve ever had a question about a prospect, or if you frequently go to minor league games, the Prospect Guide is an excellent resource to have. I have a copy on my desk at all times, and take a copy with me when I’m on the road. I use the book as a reference for articles on the site on a daily basis. It’s my job to know as much about the minor league system as possible, and I still need the book as a reference throughout the year.
This December we will be releasing the 2014 Prospect Guide, which is the fourth Prospect Guide that we’ve produced. The 2014 Prospect Guide will feature profiles of every player in the system, along with helpful resources like signing bonus information, Rule 5 dates, and the upcoming Minor League Free Agents. It is also the only place to find our top 50 prospect list. All of the reports are compiled from information we’ve obtained from seeing the players in action, talking to team officials, coaches, opposing scouts, and the players themselves.
You can now pre-order the 2014 Prospect Guide, which is expected to be completed right after the 2014 Winter Meetings, and is expected to ship in mid-December, just in time for Christmas. As I mentioned above, the Prospect Guide has been a driving force for this site. In buying it, not only are you getting a great product with tons of information on the system, but you’re also supporting the site and helping the site continue to grow. To pre-order the book, head over to the products page and place your order.
Last year we started a new process of putting the Player or Pitcher of the Year on the cover. That replaced the previous selection process, called “Which top prospects do we have a picture of?” This year’s cover shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has followed my Twitter account. Tyler Glasnow was our 2013 Pitcher of the Year, and he was one of the biggest breakout players in baseball this season. Thus, he is on the cover of the 2014 Prospect Guide.
What’s New in 2014?
This year we’re doing a complete overhaul of the rankings system. Previously, everyone would submit a top 50, and those top 50 rankings would be averaged out in a variety of ways to find the overall top 50. Then we would argue players up and down, based on who saw the players. It wasn’t the most scientific approach, and it was a bit messy at times.
This year everyone will be submitting grades on every player in the system, using the 2-8 scouting scale. We will be projecting the likely upside for each player, using the following scale.
|6||Above-Average Starter / Strong #3 Innings Eater / Impact Closer|
|5||Average Major Leaguer / #3-5 SP / Closer Candidate|
|4||Impactful Bench Player / Spot Starter / Strong Middle Reliever|
|3||Up & Down Player|
Everyone involved will also be submitting floor and ceiling rankings, to get an idea of the risk involved with each player. This is very similar to the process that Baseball America added a few years ago. I like that, because it shows how close players really are in talent. In some cases you could have a guy outside the top 50 who is ranked just as good as someone in the top 50. In other cases you could see how there’s not much difference between prospect number 15 and prospect number 25. And down the line it will be easier to compare the talent in the system year to year, since we’ll be using the same scale.
Digital Version and Other Books
Once again, there will be a digital version of the Prospect Guide, although that will not be available for pre-sales, and will come out shortly after the Prospect Guide is released. The digital version will be an e-book that can be accessed on any e-reader, including iPads, Kindles, and Smartphones.
In previous years we have released the Pirates Prospects Annual in mid-to-late February. The Annual won’t be returning this year, although we might have some sort of Spring Training preview. That’s still up in the air, but for now there will only be one book this year, and that’s the Prospect Guide.