First Pitch: And Then There Was Only One Minor League Camp

BRADENTON, Fl. – Sometimes I feel like a starting pitcher when it comes to my Spring Training schedule. Every week I’m adding another inning to the workload, getting ready for the season. At the start of spring it’s just workouts for the big league club, while trying to get ahead on some story ideas (I currently have two ideas per day booked through the end of this week). At the start of March, it’s big league games and workouts at minor league camp.

Today started the next addition — MLB camp cuts and minor league camp games. That all goes along with the big league games, which I usually catch half of, and follow along on the other half when I’m at Pirate City.

My typical day now involves getting to McKechnie around 7 AM for morning interviews from big league camp, along with checking to see if there are any roster moves. From there, I write an article in the media room, then head over to Pirate City around 9-10 AM. I’ll watch morning workouts, and work on any other articles I’ve got until around noon when everyone breaks for lunch.

After lunch, the games at Pirate City start at 1:00. They’re usually faster than the MLB games, so I’m done by 2:30 or 3:00, at which point I head back over to McKechnie to talk with the starters from that game, and talk with Clint Hurdle at the end of the game. After that, I’m usually writing until 6-7 PM, break for dinner, and then finishing up any articles before going to bed.

For the next two weeks, starting Wednesday, I’ll be living and breathing baseball during every waking moment. And I’m going to love every minute of it!

Disclaimer from that last statement: Daredevil season 2 gets released on Netflix this weekend, so my plan this week is to work ahead and get articles scheduled so that you think I’m living and breathing baseball every minute, while I stream the hell out of that show.

This spring has been a bit different so far, in that it’s almost been like covering two minor league camps. There’s the real minor league camp, and then there’s big league camp, where you might have noticed several “This is the greatest prospect camp ever!” articles from me the last few weeks. With more prospect cuts expected later this week, everything will be separated back to normal, with the Pirates on one side, and prospects on the other. That means there’s going to be a ton of stuff to write about from Pirate City.

As you may have noticed by now, there’s no real theme to this article. It’s just me talking about what goes on, and what will go on in Spring Training and with the site coverage. It’s almost like a Site Updates post. And I’m definitely going to plug the subscriptions and the Prospect Guide for all of you who aren’t subscribers or don’t have the book yet. So it might as well be a Site Updates post.

The real reason for this article is two-fold. One is that I am genuinely excited for the start of minor league camp. Two is that I’ve got a fun article planned for tomorrow night on the depth chart, and it’s going to take some time to put together. So I’ll be spending tonight and tomorrow working on that. For those of you who are long time readers, or just have been reading for at least one year, you might remember this post from last year, which was a lot of fun. Tomorrow’s article is going to be this year’s version of that post.

So check back tomorrow for that, along with our usual articles throughout the day. MLB camp is off tomorrow, but there will still be morning games at Pirate City, and I’ll have an article from MLB camp in the morning as well. And if you haven’t subscribed yet (oh man, it’s that site plug he warned us about), then you definitely should. Not only are we ramping up the minor league coverage in the next few weeks, but we’ll have the best coverage of the system this year.

Ryan Palencer is coming down at the end of this week to help out with the Pirate City coverage. Sean McCool still has a few articles leftover from his time down here, and they will be posted this week. The season starts on April 7th, and I’ll be covering the opening series in Altoona with Sean. I’ll then return to Bradenton, Sean will resume in Altoona, and Ryan will start up in Indianapolis the next week when their home schedule begins.

Later in April, I’ve got a trip booked to cover West Virginia. John Dreker will also see West Virginia early in the season. I’ll also be helping Ryan in Indianapolis in mid-May, giving me a look at all four full-season clubs, plus extended Spring Training, in the first six weeks of the season. We’re still looking for a West Virginia writer (e-mail me at if interested), but right now we’re set up to have live reports from at least two people for every team at the start of the season. That’s two more people than every other outlet has for these clubs.

The subscription price is $2.99 per month, $29.99 for a year, or $79.99 for our three-year Top Prospect plan. All of those prices are ridiculously low for the amount of content we provide during Spring Training and throughout the year. Plus, you get $10 off the 2016 Prospect Guide if you’re an Annual subscriber, and you get the 2016 Prospect Guide for free if you’re a Top Prospect subscriber. The Prospect Guide has profiles on every player in the system, and the discounts make the subscriptions more valuable. You can subscribe to the site here, or purchase a book of a gift package on the products page.

Check back tomorrow night for the depth article, and subscribers can check back throughout the day for updates from minor league camp, while MLB camp is taking a day off. For now, here are the recent articles you may have missed.

**Pirate City Notes: Yeudy Garcia, Tyler Eppler, Luis Escobar, and More. Notes, video, and analysis from Pirate City today, with a lot of good pitchers on the mound.

**Pirates Cut Eight From MLB Camp, Including Glasnow and Taillon. The first wave of cuts included the Indianapolis rotation, and this article included a lot of quotes and analysis on those players, plus a few other top prospects.

**One of the Pirates’ Best Young Pitching Prospects on the Rise. Mitch Keller has done well to improve his command since entering the league. This article details one of the mechanical adjustments which led to that.

**Draft Prospect Watch: Weekend Recap Includes New Names to Watch. John Dreker recaps the latest performances of the guys who could go near where the Pirates are picking in a few months.

**Gerrit Cole Makes His Spring Training Debut. From Monday, Gerrit Cole made his debut.

**The Indianapolis Roster is About to Get More Crowded. My breakdown of how the Pirates could handle a crowded roster of position players in Indianapolis this year.

**Top 20 Pirates Prospect From John Sickels. John Sickels releases his prospect list.

**David Freese Improves the Pirates in Many Ways in 2016. My breakdown of how David Freese improves the team in the short-term and long-term this season.

**Pirates Notes: Francisco Liriano is the Opening Day Starter. Liriano was named the Opening Day starter because Cole wasn’t going to be ready.

  • Tim, thanks for all your hard work. This is a great site.

  • Can’t wait for season 2 of Daredevil. Season 1 was awesome. Jessica Jones was awesome and I can’t wait for Luke Cage in September.

    • They are killing me with the release times. Daredevil during the busy season of Spring Training. Luke Cage will be right before the playoffs, and during what could be a busy road trip in St. Louis. They might as well schedule Iron Fist during the Winter Meetings.

      • The writing really is top notch with those shows. The villains on DD and JJ are better than anything Marvel has done on screen so far.

  • Corporate_Joe
    March 15, 2016 10:07 am

    I am just patiently waiting for the Apple app so I can read the site while at work. Why does the ghost of Steve Jobs have to make everything so difficult?

  • The CF and 3B ones from last year are good for a chuckle

    March 15, 2016 5:32 am

    This post sparked an idea. As players join the system are they considered Pirates? Is it like the Marines – they’re always a Pirate? … Even if they never make the show. Can the kid in the Dominican who flamed out in AA tell people he is a Pirate. … Was a Pirate? At his hall of fame election does a player declare as his most favored club … His longest tenure club?

    What’s the cohesion in the system? How stratified is the system? Can a AA pitcher ask Jeff Locke for ideas in early spring training? What’s it like in other systems?

    Thanks for all your work it’s great.

    • Arrrrgh!

    • Originally, when I first read this response, I was ready to say no, not possible, then I remembered that David Freeze is a POS Cardinal, so now I am inclined to say yes.

  • Hugh McBride
    March 15, 2016 1:27 am

    While reading through this post, I had two thoughts occur to me virtually simultaneously:

    1. Wow, Tim has what might be the greatest job in the world.
    2. Wow, Tim has really busted his arse to create what may be the greatest job in the world.

    I guess this is just my way of saying thanks for doin’ what you to – for all the hard work, and for making this site such a fun, informative, & vital place. I subscribe at the Top Prospect level, and I’m having a very hard time thinking of anything that I’ve spent $80 on in the past few years that has brought more value that that subscription.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s fun article, to the rest of ST coverage, and of course to another season’s worth of daily updates. And, again, thanks to you and the whole team for what you do & how you do it.