Site Updates: Get a Free 7-Day Trial to Pirates Prospects

One of the debates I had when I switched over to a pay site was finding the best way to offer free previews to readers who hadn’t subscribed yet. This was a difficult process, because we weren’t a new site. This is the seventh year that we’ve been around, which means under MLB terms, the site is eligible for free agency at the end of the year. Even if you go by our regular MLB coverage, this is the fourth year for the site having a regular writer at PNC Park, which means we’re in the arbitration years. Either way, I plan on making a qualified offer or working out an extension.

The challenge with being around for years as a free site and then switching to paid is that readers already know what you produce, but you still need to give a reminder of the quality of content (I’ve heard from many recent subscribers that they forgot how much they missed reading the site on a daily basis).

I didn’t like the “X articles free” model, because there isn’t a membership software out there that actually allows this to work properly (not saying I haven’t considered that approach, but that’s the major hangup). We’d give free articles from time to time, but I hated that process. That’s mostly because I wanted to send the best articles out to get new subscribers, but I felt it sucked that current subscribers were paying, only to see some of the best articles go out for free.

One idea I have been kicking around, and which became possible when we switched membership software at the end of June, is a free trial. This is a common approach by other sports sites, and it’s something I wanted to try out here once the trade deadline and travel died down.

We are now offering a 7-day FREE trial for the site, attached to any membership plan. Just go to the subscription page, select any plan, and on the checkout page enter “P2FREETRIAL” in the coupon box. That will give you 7 days for free. If you don’t wish to subscribe after that point, just cancel the plan before your 7-day trial is up. If you do decide to stick around after the trial (and we’d love to have you!), do nothing and your account will be charged automatically at the end of the 7-day period.

This promotion does not combine with any other coupon codes, and doesn’t work with our DraftKings promotion (details on that below). I’m not sure at the moment if this trial will be an ongoing thing, or just something we offer for a short period of time. That might depend on how the first run goes. So be sure to use the coupon above, start your free trial today, and my hope is that the 7-day span will be enough for you to get hooked on the site’s content, to the point where you won’t mind paying our extremely reasonable prices. As for what you’ll be getting, here is a look at our upcoming live coverage.

Upcoming Live Coverage

The playoff race for the Pirates is heating up, and our goal is to have as much live coverage during that race as possible. Pete Ellis has been covering the team at home all week, and will continue through their final home game of the stretch on Sunday. I will be traveling down to Miami next week to cover their four game road trip. After that, we will have live coverage again from PNC Park to wrap up the month. Out of the 27 games this month, we will have covered 19 of them live. That is in addition to all of our live coverage throughout the minors (including my two-week trip through the lower levels at the start of the month).

I’m hoping to continue that coverage in September. We will have all of the home games, of course. But I’m looking into the possibility of covering the road games from a financial aspect. The current considerations:

  1. The Pirates have two minor league teams leading their divisions, plus a few other teams in striking distance of the playoffs. I want to have as much live minor league playoff coverage as possible, you know, since this is Pirates Prospects. So right now, part of the budget is being earmarked for the minor league playoffs, with plans for more than two teams making the post-season.
  2. The Pirates will almost certainly make the playoffs in some capacity, and for the third year in a row, we will have live coverage of every game. And of course that process involves planning on the Pirates making it through game seven of the World Series, and setting aside the money to cover every game through that point.

As a result, I don’t know how much road coverage we will have in September. That said, I’m about 90% sure we’ll be covering the Cubs series at the end of September (which might be a big series if the Pirates and Cubs are still the top two Wild Card teams at the time). I’m also aiming to cover the Cardinals series during the first week of the month. And there are a few other trips that might be possible. The advantage here is that we’ve been credentialed for years by teams other than the Pirates, so getting access to cover the road games is no problem.

Upgrades Available

Did you know that you can upgrade your plan at any time, getting a pro-rated rate in the process? Maybe not, because I haven’t mentioned it much. If you’re signed in, you can go to the subscription page, and the pro-rated prices will be automatically calculated. Your new upgraded plan will start the day you make the upgrade, and any amount you have remaining on your old plan will be deducted from the new price.

DraftKings subscribers who want to upgrade to a three-year plan should e-mail me at

The 2016 Prospect Guide

We’re getting toward the end of the 2015 minor league season, and in previous years, this is when I’d start thinking about working on the annual Prospect Guide. That work usually starts in September, and finishes up the second week of December, after the Rule 5 draft (although technically the work takes place all year while gathering info for the book, but I’m talking about the process of setting the book up).

With the change to a subscription site, I’ve delayed plans for the book until the end of the year, focusing instead on the transition to a pay site and the massive boost in live coverage that has come with that transition.

Now that we’re getting close to the end of the year (this season flew by fast!), I’ve been reviewing the plans for the Prospect Guide, and know that we will have the book again this year. I’m also planning on expanding the book, to include all of our expanded coverage this year.

The best part of all is that I’m working on something that will tie in to the subscription model, giving a discount on the book to those who subscribe to the site. I’m hoping to finish all of the details and have more information on this soon.

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 ( 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.