Site Updates: 2016 Prospect Guide Progress, Off-Season Content, Upcoming Survey

This was my first full week back at home, which gave me a few days to rest last weekend, followed by getting a lot of work done on the 2016 Prospect Guide. At this point I’ve finished setting up the template for the book, adding new players, and got the ball rolling on our ranking process. By next week I’m hoping to have the bios and stats updated for every player (which is a long, tedious process), along with a few other features in the book, outside of the player profiles. We’ll also have a cover released soon, and shortly after that the book will be available for pre-sales.

Site subscribers can get the 2016 book for FREE or at a discount, depending on your membership level (details below). I’ll be sending out coupon codes for that once the book goes up for pre-sales.

The 2016 Prospect Guide will be released shortly after the Winter Meetings, which conclude December 10th. That gives me less than two months to finish the book, and as you can imagine, this time of year is crunch time for me.

During the season, we average about 6.5 posts per day on the team. As you would expect, the amount of posts goes down in the off-season, but we still have content daily. We’ve been running the season recaps this week, looking at every position on the team, along with a look at that position in the minor leagues. That will continue for the next week, along with our daily Winter League and AFL recaps.

There isn’t much opportunity for live coverage this time of year, although I will be heading to the AFL in early November to get some live reports on the prospects in the Fall League, along with some opinions from scouts who have been watching those players. The Pirates sent a good group this year, headlined by Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire, and Steven Brault, which should make it a good trip.

I wrote a few weeks ago about why monthly subscribers should stick around for the off-season, and the above is a big reason. The Pirates season is over, but you’re still going to find plenty of daily Pirates content on the site, along with a lot of great discussion in the comments. Even on the weekends, when I cut back on the content this time of year to focus on the book, we have plenty of articles. I don’t know if there’s another site out there that posts as many Pirates articles as we do during the off-season.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, if you’re subscribing from the start of Spring Training through the end of the playoffs, you’re paying for about nine months of coverage, which comes out to $26.91 per year on the monthly plan. By upgrading to the Annual plan, you get year-round coverage for a few dollars extra, getting access to all of our off-season content.

If you upgrade to the Top Prospect Plan, you’ll actually save a bit of money over the next three years versus monthly access during the season. Plus, you’d get the 2016 Prospect Guide for FREE, which is even more value. And at this point, you may be a subscriber longer than Andrew McCutchen is a member of the Pirates, since he has three years of control remaining. That’s a long subscription, especially for just $79.99.

If you’re a Pirates fan, then you’re not going to want to miss the off-season coverage, especially since the cost isn’t much higher than what the monthly cost would be from start to finish during the season. Those of you who haven’t subscribed can do so on our subscription page. Those of you who are already subscribed can upgrade your plans on your account page. Anyone having issues with either process should e-mail me at

What Do You Want to See?

Every year I send out a survey looking for input on the site from everyone who reads the site. These surveys have helped shape the site into what it is today, and it’s not a process I want to abandon. I’ll be looking for input into current features we have, the subscription process, the Prospect Guide, and new things that you want to see. This process has added some of our best features in the past, and I always look forward to the input and new ideas for the future.

Most outlets don’t take this approach. They don’t let the readers dictate how the site will be run, what types of articles they want to see, or what improvements they think can be made. I do this because, while I do own this site, I always have the feeling that it’s your site, and I’m just working here. That’s because I started this from scratch, at a time when independent professional sites were unheard of.

There were maybe a few people around the country in 2009 who were leaving newspapers and starting their own ventures. The idea of starting your own blog and making a living off of it was still pretty new at the time. I didn’t have a newspaper to launch my site from, and had about ten people who had ever read my work. It was only because of the readers that the site got to this point. I’d take credit for how groundbreaking this site is, but I’d just be stealing credit from you guys, since you made this possible. And as a result, I’m going to continue letting you shape the future of this site, and influence the features that you want to see.

Look for that survey to come out on Monday or Tuesday.

Get a FREE One-Year Subscription With DRAFTKINGS

I mention our special promotion with DraftKings during every update, but I just want to stress what a great deal this is, especially to monthly subscribers.

If you’re a monthly subscriber, then you’re probably going to be paying for at least two months out of the year. That’s $5.98 total. Our DraftKings deal gives a free one-year subscription to the site, simply by signing up as a new DraftKings customer (must be a new customer), making a $5 minimum deposit, and participating in a contest.

You could spend $5.98 on two months of access to the site, and then continue paying $2.99 per month for as long as you want to subscribe. Or, you could deposit at least $5 with DraftKings, and get a year of site access. It’s the best value for monthly subscribers, or anyone who is thinking about signing up for any of our plans.

Monthly subscribers would pay $5.98 for two months of access, or at least $5 in DraftKings for an entire year.

Annual subscribers would save at least $24.99 on their one-year subscription.

We also allow you to upgrade your free year to a Top Prospect plan, which comes out to about $1.50 per month and gives you access for three years.

And then you can use the money you deposited in DraftKings to play a fantasy sports contest, whereas before you would get nothing other than site access. It’s the absolute best value if you want to sign up for the site, or even if you’re a current monthly subscriber who plans on paying $2.99 every month.

Once you have completed the promotion (using the link above), 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.

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

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.

  • It is hard to imagine adding content to the site, but…
    things I’d like to see…
    Could John do his this day in Pirates history & birthdays during the offseason.
    Important dates to remember. Things like the winter meetings, GM meetings, setting the 40 man, the trade deadlines and reminders of the impact those dates have, etc.
    Maybe a monthly summary listing, say, the top 5 leaders in BA, HRs, RBIs, GS, ERAs, IP, wins and # of gems.
    That isn’t asking for much, is it?

  • Since some were commenting on pitchers, who is the first of the prospects
    do you think starts for the Pirates in 2016?

  • Tim, you have been doing a fantastic job with the site. My only suggestions to improve it would be to conduct in-depth interviews with upper management (Nutting, Coonelly, Huntingdon) sometime around or shortly after the winter meetings in December. One of the things I would like to know is what is the status of the Pirates and their local television deal. I would imagine that they should be due for a renewal at some point soon. Given that attendance is at an all-time high and television ratings are some of the highest in local media, I would imagine the Pirates getting a pretty sweet deal for the local tv rights. The question is whether anyone outside of Root Sports Pittsburgh would submit a bid for those rights.

  • Tim….I have been with you from the beginning and I have never once thought about NOT renewing my subscription. You deliver the goods!!!!

  • Enjoy and appreciate this site for all the Pirate information relating to this baseball team. Great information and look forward to this year’s Prospect edition.

  • What I would like to see: a user forum or something similar where there can even more interplay between the staff and the users/readers…and where users/readers can post their own threads (questions/topics)

    • There’s quite a bit to like here and posters mostly keep it civil. I’d like to take what Jared posted and take it a bit further. Maybe have a point of the day thread where posters could say what is on their mind and let the thread take off to cover several different topics.

      • I’m going with Jared and Bobby.
        A forum would be great.

        Maybe provide some addition therapy for me
        when I am still reeling from the way the season
        ended. Worse yet, I’m also down in the dumps
        about the possibility for improvement next year.

        Also thanks to everyone, especially Tim, for
        putting up with my stupid questions and
        comments this season.

    • Yes, I like the idea of a site blog or message board as well

  • Really appreciate the site, was referred to this site by a co-worker and I recommend it to everyone. I rely on this site (and the Pirates MLB site) for all of my Pirates information. I really appreciate all the effort you and your staff put in to Pirate Prospects.

  • Christopher Athari
    October 17, 2015 8:56 pm

    I am abundantly pleased with the value I receive, 2016 Prospect Guide or not. It’s a daily must read for Bucco fans.

  • Keep up the good work Tim. This site is fantastic for those of us who live outside of Pittsburgh and don’t have access to the local news, radio, post game etc. As a new twist I think you and John should have the power to eject people from the message board until the next day. Maybe you guys can talk that over. For example, if you mention Machado, Sano or Crawford you automatically get tossed until 6 AM the next day. Just a thought.

    • Why would you want to toss people for having an opinion on Sano, Machado, or Crawford? Censorship isn’t a great thing, especially when the ones being censored are paying clients.

    • deacs: I agree that for us out here in the world, this is the best location to get insider info regarding the Bucs. I have been a subscriber to the DirecTV MLB package for many years. That has been an excellent tie to the Pirates, except here in East Tennessee, when they play the Reds or the Braves I get blacked out on the Pirate feed. See what you can do about that Tim.

      Jameson Taillon is going to come out in 2016 and make us forget not taking Manny Machado, and Sano is rightfully placed with an AL Team – there is no position on the field for him except the batters box. I have to admit, I have no idea what the circumstance is with Crawford.

      • I was happy they got Meadows and had never considered Crawford as an option because everyone knew they were in love with McGuire. But, since we’re playing this game I was hoping they’d take Shipley with their second pick.

      • Jameson Taillon is going to come out in 2016 and make us forget not taking Manny Machado,

        I do not share your optimism on that….I doubt JT will be up any time before July/Aug at the earliest. He hasn’t pitched much in TWO years.

        • A lot will depend on his resolve going into ST. I think Tim mentioned that Taillon had been throwing better than he had ever seen him throw right before the second injury. I still think that if the Pirates wanted him badly enough, he could have gotten in a few starts in 2015, but they opted to let him heal entirely and come back in January and February ready to work himself into being ready to be a Rotation guy for Indy. 10 or 12 starts at AAA (hopefully less than 60 innings) and then up to the Pirates in mid-June.

        • Likewise. But the last two years show why you might prioritize a potential ace in the single-game wildcard era. Hopefully between Cole, Glasnow, and Taillon we end up with one guy with complete shutdown potential.

  • Thanks Tim. Love this site and I am addicted. I visit 10 times a day looking to catch a new nugget. I own a bar and restaurant and to have the upper hand on insight is invaluable to me as to keep ahead of my clientele. Keep up the great work.

  • Really enjoy the site. I have learned a lot from the staff and subscribers. Can’t say enough good things about it to other Pirate fans. Things will only get better.