Site Updates: Credit to Our Team, and a Huge Site Upgrade Today

Before I get to the updates, I want to take a moment to run through the behind the scenes stuff at the site yesterday. If you’re not interested in the whole “day in the life” thing, then feel free to skip past this. You can just sum it up as “we’ve got an amazing team here at Pirates Prospects, and I couldn’t do it without them.”

Yesterday was a busy day for us. We had 11 articles go up on the site in a 24 hour span. We had 46,000+ page views, which is actually not even close to one of our busiest days in site history (143,917 at the 2013 Trade Deadline is the record), but it was our busiest day since switching over to a subscription site. There were a lot of subscriptions rolling in yesterday and today, although I don’t know how many because I haven’t stopped to count them.

But the big stuff happened right around the deadline, and that’s where the team aspect came into play.

I was waiting on call all day for any moves, with a Facebook chat open with John Dreker so we could alert each other of what we saw (this isn’t just the deadline…that chat is open all the time on my computer, as John plays a huge role on this site, especially with keeping it all up to date). Despite waiting all day, the deadline arrived and the Pirates had done nothing. And that’s when the madness kicked in.

The first trade was announced just after 4:00. It was Jose Tabata for Michael Morse. I quickly got the initial article posted, with the usual “More to come” addition, just to get the news out right away. As I was wrapping up some basic details, I got a press release — J.A. Happ for Adrian Sampson.

I switched over to the Sampson article, and John stepped in to finish updating the details of Tabata/Morse. At that same time, Sean McCool had a few minor league transactions in Altoona, in addition to the promotion of Dan Gamache to Indianapolis that he reported earlier that day. So while I was writing about Sampson/Happ, and John was updating Tabata/Morse, Sean stepped in and updated the minor league moves, adding the moves I had received from Bradenton and West Virginia.

This was all incredibly important, as there was a snag on the server side of the site, which led me to working on the Sampson article while chatting with the server support staff to get things back to full speed (apparently there was a theme conflict that involved both retina displays, and something with the comments that I didn’t understand, but was able to fix with their help). Once that was done, we all posted our article updates.

By this time it’s getting close to 6:00, and we’re waiting on the corresponding moves. The Pirates sent out the press release at 5:50. I got it and posted the basic information about A.J. Burnett, then updated the Happ article with the link, noting that this was why Happ was acquired. Shortly after that, they announced the Morse deal as official. John had been watching for news on that, and updated his article.

At this point, it was time for me to head over to the stadium in Bristol to watch Billy Roth pitch. Sean was in Altoona. And John was watching the site for news. The Pirates sent out information about a conference call with Neal Huntington about the deadline, which is a usual thing after a big day like this. The call was at 7:15, and I wanted to see Roth pitch. So I called up Ryan Palencer, who was covering the Indianapolis game (where they actually have a quiet place for a conference call), and he participated in the call and sent me the transcription around 7:45.

After Roth was done pitching, I started putting together an article. Meanwhile, Ryan was working on the Prospect Watch from last night, writing game notes on the games where we didn’t have people in attendance, and piecing together the information where we did have writers in attendance. This included his own game in Indianapolis, plus Sean in Altoona, myself in Bristol, and Wilbur Miller in the GCL. Wilbur was also busy during this time keeping the player pages updated, and already had the pages uploaded for Happ and Morse when I went to update the 40-man roster page.

But the night wasn’t over. Right after I got out of the Bristol clubhouse, I got an alert: Josh Bell was going to Indianapolis. I tweeted out the news, then asked John to post the basic details of the transaction on the site. When John was done, Sean stepped in and added his thoughts, after seeing Bell so often in Altoona. One of the top prospects in the system was promoted, and we had the news up on the site with analysis from our live coverage, and I didn’t have to type a single word. That allowed me to work on First Pitch, along with my report on Roth from last night. John stepped in to edit the Prospect Watch during this time, and when my report was done, we uploaded it.

From there, I had conversations with Sean and Ryan about weekend coverage and their upcoming articles, planning out some of the fallout from the day’s moves, but specifically looking at the coverage from the promotions of Glasnow and Bell to Indianapolis.

I’d say this was all just one crazy day, but we started all over again today. And it happens often like this, although maybe not to this extreme. We’ve got a great team here, and I’m proud that they’re all contributing to the site. But beyond that, I’ve got a group that is willing to go beyond their standard roles. Ryan isn’t just limited to Indianapolis. Sean isn’t limited to Altoona. John is like Josh Harrison 2014. Wilbur keeps all of the player pages up to date, and sends in reports from various levels of the system. Our photographer, David Hague, not only gets photos from PNC Park, but travels to minor league affiliates to get additional shots to use on the site. Pete Ellis has stepped up with some MLB coverage recently, while also getting content from West Virginia throughout the year.

This site is independently run by me, and it’s a business that I own 100%. But there’s no way I’d be able to maintain this level of coverage without these guys. And thankfully I’m able to pay them for all of their hard work this year, due to the subscription model that makes this all possible.

Join the Team

Speaking of the team, I feel this is a good time to mention that we’re listening for job opportunities. The minor league season is wrapping up, and I’m currently on the road covering affiliates, so we may or may not add someone there. But we are looking for someone in Charleston, WV for coverage in the event that the team makes the playoffs. We’re also looking for more Pirates coverage down the stretch.

It’s preferred that applicants have a background in journalism, or at least some sort of writing experience. But in general, I want hard workers who can fit into the team atmosphere we have going on right now. Interested applicants should e-mail me at tim@piratesprospects.com.

The Prospect Watch Goes Live

We’ve had a lot of changes to the Prospect Watch in the last week, adding box scores, a nicer layout, a new top performers section, and with everything automated, we’ve been able to spend more time expanding on the game notes.

I’ve been mentioning that more changes are coming, and the biggest one will come tonight. The Prospect Watch is going live!

At 6:00 tonight, we will upload the Prospect Watch. This is a big change from how we normally do it, when it goes up at the end of the night. The box scores will go live when the games start, and you’ll be able to follow along by refreshing the page throughout the evening. The top performers section at the top of the page will stay updated with a quick snapshot of the system that day. The top 30 section will give you an updated line score of the best prospects in the system. And when games are finished, we will upload notes to the article.

My goal with the Prospect Watch was to create a one-stop area to get all of the information you need on the Pirates’ minor league system each day. On one page, you can find what every player in the system did that day, a list of the top performers in a few key categories, a snapshot of the top 30 prospects, and game reports and analysis from the day, including our live game reports from throughout the system.

And now that the Prospect Watch is live, this will provide a designated place for you to comment on the farm system throughout the day, rather than having conversations spread across different topics, or holding your comment because you didn’t want to go off-topic. I’ve heard the requests for something like this, providing an article for this type of discussion each day. There’s no better article than the Prospect Watch for that. And for those of you who want the same type of discussion article for the Pirates, that is the next thing I’ll be working on.

The Prospect Watch is 100% for subscribers. We don’t even have the free preview of the top 30 or the top performers anymore. For those of you who aren’t subscribed, this new feature, plus all of our other great coverage, is well worth your $2.99 per month.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject of teamwork, I definitely need to mention Brian Shirey, our database guy, who has worked hard the last few months to build a stats database, and allow for this upgrade to be implemented. We’ve still got more coming from Brian’s hard work, including stats on every player page.

Updated Coverage Schedule

August 1st-3rd: I’ll have three games covering the West Virginia Power. I’ll also be uploading some articles from Bristol during this time, with features on Carlos Munoz, Billy Roth, and the trio of 2014 prep pitchers (Mitch Keller, Trey Supak, and Gage Hinsz).

August 4th-7th: The next stop will be Morgantown for four games seeing the West Virginia Black Bears. This will be my first time seeing the new picks, and my first chance of seeing everyone else since extended Spring Training. I’ll be taking off the 8th to go visit a family friend.

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 covering West Virginia once again. Currently the schedule has me seeing Yeudy Garcia, and I’m hoping that holds up.

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.

This is all in addition to our normal live minor league coverage from Ryan Palencer in Indianapolis, Sean McCool in Altoona, and Wilbur Miller, who is currently sending in reports from Bradenton.

Subscribe Today

I mentioned this last night in First Pitch, but I’ll mention it again here: We had 11 articles a 24 hour span yesterday, and all of the articles were on the Pirates, with a lot of insight from our team above who cover the prospects and the big league team live. This wasn’t all just because of the trade deadline. During the month of July, we averaged over seven articles per day. And that doesn’t include all of the individual reports in the Prospect Watch, which are like mini-articles themselves at times.

For those of you who aren’t subscribers, you can get all of this Pirates coverage for $2.99 per month, or less on an annual plan. That breaks down to a penny per article, and you get all of our live coverage from all over the system, plus the best nightly prospect report out there, plus every update on the system, and analysis to go with each update.

I’ve been hearing lately from a lot of people who are finally getting around to subscribing after being site readers for years, and the response has been very positive, with people loving the new direction of the site since we changed formats. That was my goal from the start, and I’m glad that it’s working out so favorably for our subscribers.

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.

  • Timmy, LLOYD would like thank you and your squad for the great work. Congrats for proving those wrong who said a pay site wouldn’t work.

  • Thanks guys, much appreciated.

  • I’m a big fan of this site and how it’s evolved over the years, especially since switching from free to fee based. Thanks to you and your team, especially John, for all you guys do, Tim.

    Best wishes for continued success.

  • I thought your work during yesterday’s late afternoon frenzy was outstanding. There was so much happening so fast but you guys skillfully guided us through it and made for an interesting and fun time. My appreciation for your efforts can only be matched by how Mark Melancon felt towards Starling Marte after last night’ ninth inning.

  • Thanks for all the hard work and fantastic product. Nice insight on a “day in the life.”

  • Andrew Rothstein
    August 1, 2015 3:45 pm

    Keep up the great work! Really appreciate all your efforts to keep us updated.

  • The content is FANTASTIC… tip of the Bucco cap to you and your entire team for raising the bar and keeping us all connected to all aspects and angles of our favorite team. Your site is worth everything you charge, and then some. Keep up the great work!

  • John deserves a raise 🙂

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