The MLB draft starts tonight, and this year’s draft will be the ninth draft that we have covered at Pirates Prospects. The draft is a special time for us, in part because it means an influx of new prospects to cover in the system. But it’s also special because every year it has provided the site a boost, with new people finding out about the site as they search for information on the new players.
When we first started out, the Pirates weren’t anything close to contenders, and were looking at the draft as a way to help climb out of the basement. It was a huge deal when they drafted guys like Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole, because you could imagine a day where those two were pitching in the Pittsburgh rotation, with the Pirates expected to be contenders.
While the shine has worn off the draft a bit, and the attention once paid to the draft has shifted to guys in Indianapolis, I’m still surprised at how many people still follow the draft, and go beyond the first round pick. It’s still a big focus for us, but has almost taken on a different role in recent years.
When we first started out, we didn’t have as much live coverage or insight into the lower levels as we do now. Our coverage expanding in recent years has given us a unique look at new draft picks, and I say that in relation to every other outlet. We’re now getting information that no other outlet has on players, just because no one is covering things this closely.
Take last year as an example. The scouting reports on Braeden Ogle had him touching 96 MPH, but not holding that velocity. They had him throwing a curveball that could be average at best. We talked to Ogle before he even pitched and found out that he was throwing a new slider, modeled after Noah Syndergaard’s slider. We watched him throughout the year, and saw that he was holding that 94-96 MPH velocity. Most reports didn’t even have that information at the end of the 2016 season.
It was the same for Max Kranick, Travis MacGregor, Austin Shields, and every other player we talked with. We were finding new information that no one else had reported. We were seeing things from these players before any other outlet saw them, and before most outlets even knew who they were.
That’s important, because it allows us to tell you who is next. It gives us the information and background to tell you that Mitch Keller was the next breakout pitcher coming up through the system, or that Kevin Kramer’s bat was actually good, and would start showing results in Altoona.
The Perfect Time to Join Pirates Prospects
We’re going to be extremely busy over the next few months. Aside from our normal coverage throughout the minor league system, we will have our first coverage of the new draft picks. That coverage starts over the next few days, with wall-to-wall coverage of every single player the Pirates draft, along with insight from Neal Huntington, Pirates’ scouting director Joe DelliCarri, and assistant General Manager Greg Smith.
After that, we will have news and updates whenever a player signs with the club, along with live reports on their early progress, and information on those players that you can’t find elsewhere. We’ll be covering them live in the Gulf Coast League, Bristol, and Morgantown, giving you our first impressions of the new draft class, all while continuing to cover all of the guys from the previous classes.
If you don’t currently subscribe to the site, now is the perfect time to join! We have tons of coverage all throughout the year, but the period just after the draft is when we are loaded with original content, making this the perfect time to subscribe.
We are currently working on a rebuild for our app. I’m not sure how long the process will take, as we continue running into obstacles with the iOS software and conflicts with our subscription software. For now, the site runs great in mobile browsers.