Thanks For Making This Our Best Year Covering the Pirates Farm System

We’ve had live coverage on this site from day one. In fact, part of the reason I started this site was to have a place to post live reports of the 2009 Lynchburg Hillcats and Pedro Alvarez’s development.

The Hillcats moved to Bradenton the following year, but I attempted to keep the live coverage going. I covered Altoona early in the season, then later in the year when they came down to Richmond. At the end of the season I did a tour of the minors, seeing State College, Altoona, and West Virginia in the span of a week. I also made it down to Bradenton that year for two days of Spring Training coverage.

My goal in 2011 was to increase that coverage. I wanted a week in Spring Training, and the chance to see certain teams more than once. Once again I saw Altoona, and made a few trips to West Virginia, this time to see Jameson Taillon. I did get that week in Spring Training, and we even had some coverage from Indianapolis and other areas due to the addition of writers to the site.

By the end of the 2011 season, this site had become a full-time job for me, and it was getting to the point where we could increase the live coverage. We did that each year, adding live coverage of every game at PNC Park, full coverage of Spring Training, and more and more coverage of the minor league teams.

Unfortunately, during the 2013-14 seasons, the ad network landscape took a major shift. While our traffic soared to all-time highs, the ad rates dropped. We were spending more to increase the live coverage and fill the new demand, but we were making the same or less, which isn’t a great combination. The invention of Ad Blockers, and the unreliable situation that comes with ad networks created a situation where we were faced with two choices — decrease live coverage, as we did in 2014, or take a shot at the subscription model, like several other prospect sites have done recently, along with plenty of other independent sites new and old, including Dejan Kovacevic here in Pittsburgh.

You obviously know the choice we made. And it’s one that I don’t regret at all.

This year was by far the best year for live coverage on the site. We had writers throughout the year who covered games from Indianapolis, Altoona, Bradenton, West Virginia, Morgantown, Bristol, and the GCL. That’s every single affiliate. I was able to travel for live coverage from Altoona, West Virginia, Morgantown, and Bristol, plus my usual coverage on the teams in Bradenton when I was in town. I was even able to travel to the Dominican Republic to get some live reports on the players down there, and what takes place at the Dominican Academy.

We also increased our coverage at the MLB level throughout the year. We’ve had a writer at every home game, with some games featuring multiple writers. We recently added Ed Giles for analysis on the team (his latest article comes out later today). And we not only covered home games, but I was able to travel to Miami, St. Louis, and a week from today, Chicago for road coverage. We will also have coverage of every playoff game, the Arizona Fall League, and the Fall Instructional League.

This is all something I never dreamed would be possible under the old model. In fact, to be honest, if we stuck with the old model, I’d probably be doing something else right now, and the site would be history. I’m sure there are some people who would have preferred that route, but fortunately there were a lot more who wanted to see the site stick around. Those subscriptions led to all of this, and I’m only hoping to keep improving the site going forward.

So with the minor league season wrapping up, I wanted to thank everyone for a great year. This was our seventh season covering the Pirates’ farm system, and it was by far the best season in terms of live coverage and knowing everything that was going on in the system. The subscriptions made that possible, and I’m hoping that both the subscriptions and the live coverage will continue to increase going forward, which is much preferred to the direction things were heading a year ago today.

For those of you who didn’t join this year, we’d love to have you on board. The price is extremely cheap for all of the coverage that we provide, and we even offer a very cheap offering through our special partnership with DraftKings. Click here to subscribe, or check below for more details on the coverage you get, and our special promotions.

Upcoming Live Coverage

I’ll have some live reports coming up from instructs, and Ryan Palencer will be covering Indianapolis in the playoffs as they fight to keep their season alive. A week from today I’ll be traveling to Chicago to cover the now very important three game series between the Cubs and the Pirates.

We will also be starting our minor league season recaps next week, which will be a summary of all of our live coverage to date on the top prospects at each level in the system.

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 (must be a new 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.

Get a Free 2016 Prospect Guide

The 2016 Prospect Guide will be FREE to Top Prospect subscribers. Anyone who is currently under a Monthly or Annual plan can upgrade to our three-year plan by going to your Subscription page and clicking “Upgrade”. This will give you a pro-rated upgrade price, with your three-year plan starting today.

Anyone under an Annual plan will receive $10 off the book. There are no discounts for Monthly plans, although upgrading to an Annual or Top Prospect plan does give you a discount on your monthly price, not to mention the discounts for the book.

This promotion also works for the DraftKings accounts. If you wish to upgrade your DraftKings account to a three-year plan, send me an e-mail at tim@piratesprospects.com.

Anyone currently under a Top Prospect Plan is already eligible for this promotion. You will receive a coupon code when the book is released for pre-sales.

  • Just one word….excellent!

  • Great job this season Tim, including all of your contributors. Great picture of PNG, and one that is extremely familiar to me.

  • Tim, Great work this year and my everlasting thanks for putting up this site to really cover the Pirates exciting minor league activity. Where would we be without your coverage/
    I traveled from my Pennsylvania home to see games this year involving 4 of the top 5 Pirates minor league teams, from Altoona to Lakewood NJ to Scranton to Hagerstown Md to Williamsport and State College, using your guide book all the time, of course. You even inspired me to take off on an 800 mile round trip several weeks ago to see games at Charleston and Morgantown West Virginia. Love that brand new park in Morgantown and how about those Black Bears and their championship season? Great drafting by Neil Huntington and crew.
    Finally kudos to the West Virginia Power and their overpowering season! That “factory building” motif they’ve used to build the Power ballpark is really something special. Every seat is a good one!
    Onward and upward for Pirates Prospects. There’s good times ahead!

  • Tim, u are a Rock Star!!! Can’t wait to meet u at Spring Training next season!!

  • So you’re saying that without Pedro Alvarez, there would never have been a Pirates Prospects?

    OK then, everyone get off Pedro’s back!

  • The site is fantastic. Thank you for the great content and fueling our love for the game overall and this team in particular.

  • Congrats, Tim. Great site. Great American success story. A guy with a dream doing what he loves. Bravo!

  • Too bad Pedro Alvarez didn’t develop as well as we would have hoped. Nonetheless, it turned into a reason for the development of this site!

  • Congrats on the success, its well deserved. And way to get something positive up in the wake of all this Jung-Ho crap, haha.

  • Great site Tim, thanks for all the good info. You guys do great work.

    Awhile back you mentioned the possibility of creating an app for your site. Just wondering if that’s still on the radar.

    • That is, although I think it’s going to be an off-season thing. It’s hard for me to oversee stuff like that during the season, especially the last two months since I’ve been on the road so much.

  • The content is top notch, and I’m happy with the new model that I no longer have to explain to my wife why my screen is covered with ads for busty asian singles.

  • Was the 1st site I visited everyday when it was free, it has only gotten better. Worth every penny. Enjoy the work done by all of the contributors. Great job building your business/passion Tim.

  • Best site on the planet.

  • Call me a Top Prospect then. I gave P2 a year trial run and you’ve got the best Pirates site anywhere. Even dropped DK, whose writing I love, but who’s scope is bigger than I want. I don’t follow all the Pittsburgh sports teams. Pirates only for me. And you guys have earned the upgrade by outworking every other outlet. Thanks for doing what you do. It is easy to pay for quality.
    ————————————-
    “Ah! Redcap! Bring the car around boy and be quick about it. I’m a heavy dipper.”
    -Wabbit

  • You have clearly enhanced your product over the last year Tim and your efforts are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  • Thanks for the thanks! 🙂

  • Tim, will the 2016 Prospect Guide–which I’ll get free as a 3-year subscriber–also available in ebook format?

    • I’ll have the answer to this around the time the book comes out. It just depends on the distribution of the eBook, which will probably change this year from previous years. I’m still planning on having the eBook version.

  • The site is great Tim. Maybe we will see you at spring training next year.

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