For the first time since 2002, the Pittsburgh Pirates will only have one international rookie league team. The Pirates have had two teams for over a decade, either having a team in the Venezuelan Summer League, or two teams in the Dominican Summer League. In 2012, the Pirates dropped their VSL team, and added a second team in the DSL. This year, they will only have one DSL team.
This change comes in the same year that the Pirates added a new rookie level affiliate in Bristol. That's no coincidence. The Pirates have basically moved their second DSL team up to Bristol. They still have four short-season teams, but three of those teams are now in the US, rather than two teams in the US and two in the Dominican Republic.
The Pirates promoted a lot of players from the Dominican this year, in order to help fill the new team in Bristol, along with their team in the GCL. They ended up promoting almost twice as many players from the international levels as they had in previous years. The r...
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 AccuScore.com, 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.