Site Updates: Big Prospect Watch Upgrades, Plus Tons of Live Coverage

One of the best features we have on the site is our nightly Prospect Watch. Sure, everyone does a nightly recap of the minor league system. However, ours is backed with live reports throughout the system, plus background on every player with information that no other site has.

Today, the Prospect Watch gets even better.

A lot of you have been asking about stats over the years. In the past, we did the Prospect Watch manually, which meant we had to type out the stats for every single player mentioned. It was a tedious process, and it was the biggest drawback to having additional stats beyond the limited amount of information we had. So when we worked to have a stats database, one of the big features I wanted was an upgrade to the Prospect Watch, with box scores, stat lines for the top 30, and more.

The new look is actually live on last night’s Prospect Watch (it went live this afternoon, so if you read the Prospect Watch early, you might have missed it). It will make its official debut tonight, and will see a few more upgrades in the next week. Here are the details of the new addition, along with some planned upgrades coming soon.

1. Box Scores

Each game will have the box score of the Pirates’ affiliate, complete with their season triple slash line, and any game notes that are available (pitches/strikes, season totals for home runs and other extra base hits, game scores, groundouts/flyouts). The goal here is that you can go to one page and see what every player in the system did that night.

2. Game Notes

We will still have our normal game notes, although with less work to put into the stats, we’ll have more time to seek out trends and provide more info beyond the stats. Also, the game notes are where you will find our live game reports.

3. Top 30 Summary

We will still have the stats for everyone in the top 30, giving you a quick snapshot of what the top prospects in the system did that day.

4. Upgraded Top Performers Section (Coming Soon)

We’re still working on getting this added to the Prospect Watch, and it should be up in the next week. Right now the top performers section includes the top pitcher, the top hitter, and anyone who hit a home run. Here is what the new section will look like, using last night’s games as an example.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 3.49.48 PM

There are still a few things to iron out here, but this will be available at some point this week.

5. Live updates (Coming Soon)

This is another feature that we hope to have in the next week. The goal would be to upload the Prospect Watch right when the first game of the day starts. From there, you could get updates throughout the day by refreshing the page. When another game starts, the box score will go live. The top performers section will update throughout the day. When the games are over at the end of the night, we will add our notes or reports.

The new Prospect Watch will provide a one-stop area for stats, game reports, and hopefully an area for comments on the minor league system throughout the day once the live updates are added. You will be able to know everything that is happening in the minor league system on any given night, all from one page, complete with our usual analysis and live reports on the farm system. And when we complete the stats database, the goal is that you will be able to click any player’s name on the Prospect Watch and go to their player page on the site, which will feature all of their individual stats.

This is all part of a $4,000 project that we started back in May, thanks to your subscription dollars. The goal, as always, is to give you the most information you can find on the Pirates’ system all on one site. And for those of you who aren’t subscribers, this is just one of many great features you get for $2.99 per month or less.

A Ton of Live Coverage Coming Up

The MLB season still has a little over two months remaining, but the minor league season has a little over a month left, not counting playoffs. I’ve been planning my schedule to cover the Pirates’ system over the last month of the season, and next week I will start a long stretch of live game coverage to wrap up the season. Here is how the schedule looks so far:

July 27th-31st: In between trade deadline updates, I’ll be covering the Bristol Pirates live for 4-5 games. This will allow me to see everyone on the team at least once. I’ve already seen a lot of their players several times this year in extended Spring Training, but this will give me a first look at the new draft picks.

August 1st-3rd: I’ll have three games covering the West Virginia Power. I’ve seen them already this year, but am hoping to update on the progress of some of the younger players, while hoping that I’ll see Yeudy Garcia and/or Stephen Tarpley pitch one of these games.

August 4th-8th: The next stop will be Morgantown for five games seeing the West Virginia Black Bears. Just like Bristol, I’ve seen several of these guys already this season, and we’ve had live coverage of the new draft picks. This will be my first time seeing the new picks, and my first chance of seeing everyone else since extended Spring Training.

August 9th: The Pirates have the Sunday night game on ESPN, and I’ll be at the game providing MLB coverage, along with one of our other writers.

August 10th: I’ll be making my way back down to Bradenton, with another stop in Charleston for a West Virginia Power game.

August 13th-17th: I’ll be back in Bradenton, and will have a five game series covering the Marauders.

August 18th-21st: The GCL Pirates are home for three of these four days, along with one day during the 13th-17th stretch. So expect some live coverage from the lowest level.

So in the next month, I’ll have live coverage for up to 24 games, covering six different teams, including the Pirates. This is all in addition to our normal live coverage from Ryan Palencer in Indianapolis, Sean McCool in Altoona, and Pete Ellis, Sean, and Ryan rotating the coverage of the Pirates.

Upgraded Photos on the Site

All of the photos you find on the site are shot by our writers and photographers. Our main photographer, David Hague, covers the Pirates, but also shoots some of the minor league affiliates as well, including two games next week where he will be getting photos from Indianapolis. David is a professional who has professional equipment, and that’s why he is responsible for a large majority of the photos on the site.

As for me, I’ve got a very old version of a professional camera, and am totally not a professional. I just bought a really nice camera with the proceeds from the very first Prospect Guide we sold, in order to have pictures on the site. And even at the time, that really nice camera was several years old.

Since I take a lot of the photos on the site, and since I’m about to go on the road and get photos of all the new players in the system (not to mention a few photos that will be candidates for the cover of the 2016 Prospect Guide), I figured it would be a great time to upgrade my camera.

Some of you might not care about photos much. I do know that I’ve heard a lot of comments from people who love the photos, especially of the minor league players, since it gives you a chance to see what those players look like. I also think that the photos just make the site look better.

One of the downsides with the old camera was that it couldn’t shoot in low light, which accounts for about every game I cover past the second inning, plus most games at Pirate City when a storm is rolling in (which is almost every game these days, it seems). The new camera is great at shooting in low light, which means more opportunities for pictures throughout the game. There’s also a video function, which will make it easier to get video clips of guys from a distance. I might test that a bit in my upcoming road trip.

DraftKings Promotion

We have a special promotion with DraftKings, where you can get a free one-year subscription to the site, simply by signing up as a new DraftKings customer and making a deposit. Just sign up for an account (using that link), make your first deposit ($5 minimum), and participate in a contest. Once you have completed those steps, send an e-mail to Javier Vargas at DraftKings (jvargas@draftkings.com) and let him know you are participating in the Pirates Prospects subscription promotion. Javier will confirm whether you’ve met the requirements, then will contact me so I can give you a coupon code that will allow you to set up your one year subscription.

One year of site access costs $29.99. You can get that, plus at least $5 to play a daily fantasy sports game (which gives you the chance to win money), plus a free $3 entry to a DraftKings contest, all for a minimum of $5. If you only consider the site subscription, and ignore all of the other benefits you’re receiving, then you’re getting one year of Pirates Prospects access for $0.42 per month. That’s an insane deal for all of the coverage we provide.

And if you don’t want to participate in the DraftKings promotion, you can subscribe at our already low prices to get the best coverage of the Pirates’ minor league system.

  • Corporate_Joe
    July 27, 2015 9:23 am

    any update on a potential Podcast or app?

  • Can’t get the full box score on my screen…i see no option to get this

  • Like the new features. I view on an iPad, and the box scores are getting cutoff, with no apparent method of expanding to see the hole view. In other words, not enough horizontal space

  • Great new feature Tim, makes the subscription cost an even better deal. Thanks for your efforts!

  • pantherfan83
    July 25, 2015 11:03 pm

    Im sure I’ll think I’m dumb after the answer. What’s TB?

  • Love the upgrades! Saw the box score feature this morning, was really excited by that. Thanks for all the work you do to continually improve the site!

  • Liking the box scores, thanks for adding that!

    One feature I think would be cool for a prospects site is on each player page, include a graph of their trending offensive lines. E.g., a plot of a prospect’s AVG or OPS over the course of the season, where each data point could be a 20 PA sample. Or, perhaps a graph of a prospect’s rank over the course of their minor league career (with 50 being the floor).

    I realize that there is some additional data processing and database-intensive operations to generate those charts on the fly, but if it’s feasible from a technical perspective it would be cool to see.

  • Nice job – looking forward to the upgrades.

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