First Pitch

First Pitch: Pirates Prospects Site Updates

First Pitch: Pirates Prospects Site Updates

There are a lot of great things about my job. I can live wherever I want, set my own hours during most of the year, and normally when I’m working, it involves watching baseball and giving my analysis. But the downside to being the owner of an independent media outlet is that my job as a sports writer is only one of many jobs that I have. I’m also the webmaster, the HR department, the IT department, and countless other jobs that those big market media outlets probably have separate individual people to fill.

As a result, there are days where I have to take off from sports writing and focus on the other jobs. I haven’t done a lot of that lately, which means that today my main focus was on all of that other stuff. As a result, there are a ton of updates on the site to talk about today, with Spring Training coverage resuming tomorrow. Here are the details on the updates.


I’ve been meaning to change the comment system for some time now. Many of you who use the comments probably noticed that after so many replies in a discussion, the messages would become very narrow, making it nearly impossible to read. That was annoying for me as well, and I wanted to make a switch to Disqus. However, I wanted to make a switch that would allow you to sign in with your Pirates Prospects site account, rather than forcing people to set up a new account with Disqus. If you already have an account with Disqus, feel free to use that one.

The comment section will no longer have the old problem with replies, and it will have a lot more features. I’ll be adding a few more features in the upcoming days, but for now that’s one problem solved.

New Writers and Logo

Today I posted some new job openings on the site. I’m looking for Major League coverage, Minor League coverage, a Database Manager, and an Ad Sales Representative. I will mention that in the past we’ve had just one writer at a time covering the Pirates. We’re not just looking for one writer, and the approach is going to be much different from the previous two years, both at the Major League and Minor League levels. I’m pretty excited about the ideas I’ve got for this year, and there have already been some interesting candidates who have applied so far. I’ll be contacting people over the weekend to start the interview process.

I also posted a contest for a new site logo. I’ve had several graphics designers in the past offer to create a new logo for free. That was when I wasn’t ready to make a change. Now that I am, I decided to do a contest, with the winning logo getting a $50 prize. That’s probably not the best business approach to turn down free and then offer a paid contest, but I think the contest will be fun, and I’m interested in seeing all of the ideas that come in. The early submissions have been pretty interesting. You’ve got a week to send in your idea. I might post some of the best logos on the site for feedback.

Links and Notes

**If you haven’t ordered your copy of the 2014 Prospect Guide, you had better act fast. We’re currently on the last case of books. I say that’s the last case because I don’t think I’ll be ordering more this year. Each year I order the books in bulk through the publisher, which allows me to save several dollars per book, and I pass that savings on to you to keep the price of the book low. You’ll still be able to buy the book from the publisher after I sell my supply, but the bulk discount price won’t be included, which means you’ll be paying $25, plus $3.99 for shipping. Right now you can buy the book for $25 shipped on the products page of the site.

**Pirates Prospects Logo Contest

**Pirates Prospects Job Openings

**FanGraphs Releases Top 15 Pirates Prospects List

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: Congratulations on being able to kick this off during probably your busiest time of the season where it has to be a 3 ring circus in Bradenton, with all three 3 going at once. Disqus should be an improvement, especially on eliminating the one word per line reponses.
    As far as the Forum is concerned, I agree 100% that they usually disintegrate into childish exchanges, but that is also possible on the type of delivery you provided with you providing all of the subject matter and then allowing for comment. However, because of the constant infusion of new subject matters being presented, it does not allow time for writers to go back and forth too often.
    Watched part of the game last night and saw some nice things like Polanco and Rojas going yard, Morton and Locke looking very sharp, and Lambo picking one nicely in the 3rd inning, and his first two AB’s were line drives to RF and LC and he had nothing to show for them. McGuinness looked good also.

    • indybucfan

      I have to say that Lambo looked good at first. I only watched the first 4 innings but I was impressed. I look forward to Polanco getting called up whenever that may be.

      • emjayinTN

        indy: The reason GP needs more time in AAA is that the Pirates want to avoid a full year of MLB Service and Super Two Status. In order to get a year of service he will have to be up for 172 days – since the season is only 184 days long, it is assured he will not make that. Super Two is another subject altogether. The top 22% of the players who have at least 2 years of service qualify for Super Two Status – a 4th year of Arbitration. After the 2012 season the cutoff for the Top 22% was 2 Years and 139 days. After the 2013 season the cutoff for the Top 22% was 2 years and 122 days. Let’s use 122 days just to be safe. If he comes up June 1, he will be able to make exactly 122 days. Since the number does fluctuate, I have estimated that both he and Jameson Taillon will be in uniform for the Pirates 10 game homestand that begins in late June – I think June 26.

        • indybucfan

          I wasn’t implying that he should start in pittsburgh. I’m also aware of the circumstances around it. I live in Indiana so I’m looking forward to catching a couple games before he gets called up. It’s been a long winter and I’m ready to get this show on the road!!!

  • dcpinpgh

    Feuds in forums are why you read forums. like watching NASCAR for the crashes…

    • michaelbro8

      great point. The only difference is that, unlike the NASCAR crashes, we sometimes get INVOLVED in the forum feud crashes. Ouch

  • Wabbit_Season


    Here’s something. Can you, once you get done cleaning up around the shop, get the blue headline to quit obstructing the photograph at the top of the article? There’s always a good masthead photo up there but I can only ever see the top of his ball cap.

    Second. I’d love to help out but I can’t be consistently at games. I’m a retired journalist with no special expertise at baseball other than I played it all day every day as a kid in the sandlot and I’m not qualified to tell you whether a pitcher is overextending or pulling off his pitches or what have you.

    I could be good at a game story or two. I have always tended to write up something when I go to a game on the Asylum Blog and I usually try to incorporate the key facts of the game itself but, since The Altoona Mirror (where I live) and other outlets have game stories and there’s always links provided by my brother inmates, I feel the need to color the game story more so it isn’t the same story you’d get off the wire.

    I’d offer that for nothing. I do it anyway. But I couldn’t, like, go to work for you except as a fill in or stringer. Matter of fact, I just got contacted by someone from the Centre Daily Times in State College about picking up the pen again… so I dunno. They ain’t gonna pay me either, brother.

    Anyway, might I feel free to drop some copy on you at some point and you could use it or not?

    Thanks. Love the site. It is the go-to Pirates site now. My Bucco diet starts on the Asylum and flips to P2 and I read Brink, Reeno and Jen over at PBC, but I ain’t gonna pay for that for long since they made a hash of our forum over there.

    Shawn Inlow
    Osceola Mills, Pa.

  • buster09

    Tim,good luck with all the prospective moves you are making. In my own opinion,your’s is the best of all the Pirate sites,hands down before the improvements. And that is no slap at any one else out there. In baseball topics,I was very happily surprised at Lambo’s seeming comfort around first base yesterday in Tampa. He looked much more at ease than when I saw him playing there in Altoona last season. emjay,if anything,you are sticking with your plan for Taillon and Polanco’s call up date !

    • emjayinTN

      buster: Yes, I think Polanco is an absolute lock for late June, and I would love to see a situation where the Rotation was doing so well that they did not want to change by bringing up Jameson Taillon. I doubt that will occur and although I want to win in 2014, I also think it is important to build for 2015 and beyond at the same time. Taillon pitched to contact for 2 innings yesterday and only faced 7 batters. In fact, guys like Lambo, McGuinness, Locke, Rojas, etc. are really putting the Pirates in the catbird seat for possible trades.

  • jon6er

    I watched the whole game on my computer since it was a freebie. I know many people make the statement that spring training doesn’t mean much and for most of 20 years it didn’t but that was only because the competition didn’t really matter on our end. It was strictly about whether a player was going to go north or not and there wasn’t much hope for the fans. But I saw so many positives yesterday that I’m the most excited I’ve have ever been going into a season. The young guys know what is at stake for their futures and they represented themselves well. Lambo didn’t have any hits to show for it but he put up some really good ab’s and he made several good plays at fielding some not so great throws from Barmes and Harrison. He didn’t get anything hit at him so I can’t say much there. Watching Harrison’s throws from third didn’t give me much confidence in him being a back up solution for Pedro. Charlie and Jeff threw well hitting their locations nicely. I understand Murderer’s Row wasn’t batting but live is live and they did throw well.

  • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

    I live in Upstate New York, so I had a chance to watch the game on the YES network live and I have to agree with thoughts of Lambo. He made some nice picks on bad throws, but also showed great footwork on a couple of throws high and wide of the base. As good as he looked at first, Matt Hague looked really out of place at third base. Hope he improve there, we could use the depth.

    • michaelbro8

      It’s funny; in watching Lambo have to field all the crappy throws coming his way, I started wondering if Hurdle intentionally told the rest of the infield to “test him”. I’m sure that wouldn’t happen, but it was comical as to how many bad throws there were, even given the early ST games. Anyway, Lambo passed his first test.

  • Leefoo Rug Bug

    Tim…I love the new setup.

    • NorCalBuc

      Imagine Foo, were the Asylum site to have the format Tim just retired, you’d have nothing but “one-liners”! ha- ha

      I agree, nice format Tim.

  • Patrick Kelly

    Very solid addition to the site with the new discussion system. The old system made for easy reading, as long as the conversation was nice and short.

    With all of the updates, have you looked into optimizing the mobile site? I don’t know if it is a problem for anyone else, but on my GS4, the site is very very slow.

  • Stargell_Stars

    Thanks for doing a Q and A section. I’ve been meaning to ask you a question and now’s my chance!
    My son and I live in FL and have been making an annual trip to Bradenton for Bucs spring training. My question is this: I want to make sure I see the top prospects. Do you think that Polanco, Hanson, Taillon, Sadler, etc. will be in camp the whole time? I’m trying to decide which game to attend and how long in the month to wait.


    • NorCalBuc

      Here’s an easy answer, get there early, and then return later . . .

    • Be sure to post the questions in the actual Q&A thread on the forums.

      As for the question, I’m not sure when they’ll each be cut, but it will probably take place among the first cuts in early March.

      • OK, I’ll make sure to get to an earlier game. Thanks so much.

  • “since forums tend to break down with childish bickering”
    They do not!
    Do Too!
    Do Not.
    You’re just stupid!

    • michaelbro8

      No, I take that back
      Why ?
      Cause you’re stupid !

  • Cato the Elder

    Anyone else not able to access the comments section on a mobile device?

  • TonyPenaforHOF

    Tim, very nice job on the new additions and continued success in the future!

  • Doc

    Discuss, now this I could live with. Thanks for the change Tim

  • Fantastic. Glad to see these changes!

  • The 8-2 win over the Yanks was another breath of spring for me. So glad to see baseball and I may be in the minority but I love watching spring games to see ballplayers potential.
    For me, I loved seeing the new players and was more impressed with many things. A few notes on the game.
    1. Geez Matt Hauge looks thinner and like he’s trying to get more versatile. I’m not concerned about the 2 errors. He’s still in the mix as a prospect to me.
    2. Polanco looks like a beast. He’s not there yet though. Tons of movement in the box, needs to settle a bit I think but you can see the massive potential.
    3. Longer development maybe but Rojas seems to be developing nicely. Not just the power, but the easy calm approach at the plate. I now name him breakout of the year candidate.
    4. Alen Hanson is a stud. Man you can dream on this kid in two years! I like Jordy but this kid will definately take his job at SS.

    Beyond that I was impressed with the arms and I like the vets they brought in as competition. Has Tabata taken a step back? Didn’t see the continued progress in his body that I thought we might see this year.
    Can’t wait for the next TV game.

First Pitch

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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