Site Updates: Don’t Miss Our Upcoming Pirates Draft Coverage

The draft has always been the biggest event on the site. In fact, it has probably been the event that most advanced the site to the point where it is today.

The first big break for the site came in 2009 on day two of the draft. The Pirates took Tony Sanchez on day one, which was a questionable move at the time, and something that hasn’t worked out since then. Their plan became clear on day two when they went over-slot on a ton of prep pitchers, which was another thing that didn’t work out. That plan has worked in following years, and I definitely liked their follow-up approach better, which was “spend in the first round, and in the following rounds” from 2010 and 2011.

At the time, we didn’t know that all of the 2009 prep pitchers wouldn’t work out (although Zack Dodson is still around and putting up a fantastic season in Altoona). What we did know that the plan to spend so big on over-slot pitching was encouraging, and somewhat made sense of the selection of Tony Sanchez. I wrote about this, and the article was picked up by Rob Neyer when he was with ESPN. Prior to that, a busy day on the site saw about 500 page views. That day shattered our record at the time with over 6,000 views, and led to a month with 33,000 page views.

Each year after that, the site would see a huge boost in traffic in June, all due to the draft. We broke the 100,000 mark in 2010 with 185 K views. We set a new record in 2011 with 463 K views in June. The month of June 2012 was our first time with seven figures, seeing 1.1 million page views that month. We’ve stayed over that mark the last few years, topping 1.5 million views in a month.

Out of our top 11 traffic days in site history, seven were draft related. The other four are trade deadline related. The third best day in site history was on day two of the 2013 draft, following the selections of Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire. We saw 101,553 page views that day.

It was in 2011 that I really understood why the site saw this jump each year. It was the second week of July, and I was on vacation with my family. The site had not become a full-time deal yet, but was getting close. And despite this, I was staying close to the hotel room, checking my laptop constantly, waiting for a specific news announcement. It was only a week earlier that I heard and reported that third round pick Alex Dickerson had decided to sign, and would be joining State College soon. I was waiting for the official announcement, figuring it would be big news.

The announcement came when I was on vacation, and I was delayed in posting it. I wrote a five paragraph article, posted it, and then checked around to see what everyone else wrote about it. Every newspaper had something on the signing, but none of them had more than a sentence saying Dickerson had signed. I’m guessing some other blogs wrote a little more about him, but I don’t recall that. I just remember being shocked at the lack of mainstream coverage, since this was going to be one of the biggest news stories of that summer for this site (although the Derrek Lee trade was definitely the top one, along with Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell signing).

When I decided to switch over to a subscription site, my hope was that we could get to at least 2,500 subscriptions before the draft, and then see the big boost on draft week and in the weeks following that we would see in previous years. We are just about to reach that 2,500 mark in subscriptions, and we’re just shy of the two month mark.

Our draft coverage is going to be extensive. We will have articles covering each pick, along with player pages for each new player. After the draft, we will be talking with Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington, along with Assistant General Manager Greg Smith and Scouting Director Joe DelliCarri. We will be providing nightly analysis on all of the picks based on those conversations, combined with our research on the players.

When the draft is over, our coverage will continue. We will have live reports on the new players from Morgantown, Bristol, and the GCL. We will be reporting the signings the moment we hear about them. And we’ll continue covering the prospects during the Fall Instructional Leagues, at which point they will start making their first adjustments since entering the system.

I’ve already had several comments from people who have signed up this week saying they are looking forward to the draft coverage. I’m hoping that a lot more of you will be signing up next week. The subscriptions so far have allowed us to provide regular live coverage from Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Altoona, Bradenton, and West Virginia. We’ll add Morgantown and Bristol to that when they start up. In a few weeks I’ll be traveling down to the Dominican Republic to get some live reports from the Dominican Academy.

Not only will you be signing up for the best Pirates draft coverage, but you’ll be getting all of this live coverage from the minor league system, and the additional subscriptions will allow us to continue expanding the site’s coverage going forward. If you haven’t subscribed already, subscribe today to get all of our coverage.

Gift Subscriptions For Father’s Day

With Father’s Day coming up, I wanted to remind everyone that we offer Gift Subscriptions. They make a perfect gift if your father is a Pirates fan. Or you can buy one for a friend who might enjoy the site. We’ve also had members who have purchased gifts to donate to college students, people who can’t afford a subscription, or veterans.

If you’re already a member of the site, just go to the subscription page, choose the product you want, and on the checkout page click the “Is this a gift?” box.

If you don’t have an account on the site, you can fill out the form for a free account at the bottom of the subscription page. The free account just allows you to purchase products on the site, and you can use that to purchase a gift on the subscription page (once again, be sure to check the “Is this a gift?” box).

Job Openings

We currently have job openings in Morgantown, Bristol, and Charleston. We are looking for additional people to cover the West Virginia Power, the West Virginia (Morgantown) Black Bears, and the Bristol Pirates. Anyone interested who lives in the Bristol area should contact me at tim@piratesprospects.com with the position you are applying for. Strong writing skills are required, and a journalism background is preferred. These are all paid positions, based on games covered.

Player Stats Coming

In the last two updates I mentioned about how we’re working on adding a stats database. This is another new feature for the site brought on by subscriptions, as the database will cost about $4,000 to set up.

This will drastically upgrade the player pages. The end goal is to have a page for each player where you can see his stats, photos, links to all articles about the player, an archive of all of the videos we’ve shot of the player, where he has ranked in all of our prospect rankings each year, and every single report we’ve written about the player over the years from every single level. In addition to the pages, we will have sortable season stats, and stats for the Prospect Watch each night.

Right now we’re in the process of setting up the database, which is a time-consuming process. It should be ready for a rollout by this time next month.

Upcoming Coverage

Here is a rundown of our live coverage for the upcoming week. As usual, we will have features from every level throughout the week.

Indianapolis – Ryan Palencer will have an article on Elias Diaz tomorrow, and will have live coverage from Indianapolis starting back up at the end of next week.

Altoona – Sean McCool will be covering Altoona for their weekend series, and will have some player features, including Chad Kuhl, Adam Frazier, Gift Ngoepe, and Dan Gamache.

Bradenton – I won’t have any coverage of the Marauders in the early part of the week, due to the draft, but I got plenty of interviews for features this week, taking a look at guys like Luis Heredia, Harold Ramirez, Jin-De Jhang, Barrett Barnes, Cody Dickson, and Wyatt Mathisen.

West Virginia – I’ve got a Colten Brewer article this weekend, and we’ll have more live coverage from West Virginia in the coming weeks.

Extended Spring Training – I’ll be covering Monday’s extended Spring Training game, which will have the next steps in the rehab for Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes. I expect Taillon to go four innings and Holmes to go three.

  • I’m assuming Rob Neyer has a free ride to this site now?

    🙂 🙂

  • mike_carlini66
    June 5, 2015 6:58 pm

    Tim, I have been following your since that dreaded 2009 draft. I love what you have done with the site and my one complaint about this site has always been the lack of stats. I hate having to go to another site for player stats. This will complete this site’s transition. I love what you guys have done and continue to do. Keep up the great work.

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