BRADENTON, Fla. – Today is the day for the full minor league camp to report to Spring Training. The games on the minor league side don’t start for a little over a week, and the first full camp workout is tomorrow. As you can expect, coverage will really pick up on the site with two camps going in full swing.

The last two years, it has almost felt like there are two minor league camps to cover. The MLB camp includes a lot of prospects in Triple-A and Double-A, along with a few guys from A-ball. Then, over at Pirate City, you’ve got all of the lower level prospects. Eventually the guys in MLB camp will be cut, and all of the prospects will be in one place. But until that happens, there will be multiple camps to cover.

That’s why we’ve got multiple writers covering things from here on out. Sean McCool got into town last night, and will be joining me covering things down here this week. He will be covering things on the big league side — where he can catch up with a lot of the players who went through Altoona the last two years — while I’ll be covering the first few days of minor league camp at Pirate City. We also have Alan Saunders and Wilbur Miller coming down to cover things later in camp.

The boost in live coverage will also lead to a boost in the amount of articles we have up on the site going forward. We’ll have daily articles from both camps, along with features from both the upper levels and lower levels, now that the latter group is underway.

We are also starting up a new feature on Sunday, which has kind of started the past few weeks. We’re going to be taking a big look at one specific topic each Sunday, in an article series to be named later. We’ve already started this with the Stephen Alemais article from last night, the Tyler Glasnow article on his delivery changes the week before, and the Evolution of Glasnow’s changeup the week before that. The idea with the article series is to take a deep look at one specific aspect of a player’s game, featuring a deeper level of reporting on the subject than you will find elsewhere, along with more background and history on the subject than anyone else. The new feature will include media to support the article, whether that is a breakdown of photos or videos.

Subscription Renewals

We made the switch to a subscription site two years ago around this time. A lot of subscribers signed up in those first days, which means we’re approaching renewal time. The membership software is set to auto-renew those subscriptions, following a seven day notice that you will receive, alerting you of the upcoming renewal. So if you’re happy with your subscription, and plan to stick around another year, you don’t have to do anything at all.

If you’d like to upgrade your subscription to a higher plan, you can do that at any time on the subscription page. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, you can use that same link to join the site.

The switch to a subscription site has allowed us to have a lot more coverage the last two years, leading to some of the best articles we’ve had on the site. It has also led to having coverage of every team, which we didn’t have in the past. And that leads me to the next topic…

Not So New Writers

Normally around this time of year, we are adding new writers and announcing new people on the site. This year, we don’t have anything to announce, because everyone will be returning. Brian Peloza will cover Indianapolis. Sean McCool will cover Altoona. Abigail Miskowiec will be covering West Virginia, along with some coverage of Morgantown and Bristol. John Dreker and Wilbur Miller will continue covering all teams, with live coverage of several different teams throughout the year. We will also have Alan Saunders, Ed Giles, and our photographer David Hague in Pittsburgh.

One of the strengths of the site is our continued coverage of players from the start of their careers all the way through the point when they reach the majors. In settings like Spring Training, it really helps to have guys who have been around for a year or two with the site, to get some familiarity. That leads to better interviews and better articles. For example, Sean broke the news last August about Tyler Eppler’s new breaking pitch. He wrote about the same topic with Clay Holmes. So instead of starting from scratch during Spring Training and writing about that pitch, he can expand on their previous talks and find out what is next.

Likewise, with writers returning to their levels, we already have familiarity of how the Pirates develop at each level, meaning we can avoid the basic questions about learning fastball command in West Virginia or getting the two-seam fastball back in Altoona, and can dive deeper into what players are working on. Those writers also become familiar faces to the coordinators and coaches in the system, giving us a chance to dive deeper into coverage for our articles.

My favorite part of being a subscription site — other than staying in business — is the writing staff we’ve assembled, and the ability to have those writers covering things year-round, including Spring Training.

So rather than joining me in welcoming new writers and photographers, join me in welcoming back our outstanding writing staff!

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  1. Tim — congrats on your two-year anniversary as a subscription site, still a great bargain at the price. Keep it coming!

  2. The tremendous value of this site makes re-upping the ultimate no-brainer. Thanks for all the great work that you & your team do, Mr. Williams. Looking forward to another great season in 2017.

  3. This site inspired me to write. Your writers are all top analysts and it’s definitely increased my baseball IQ reading everyones take. Thanks Tim for all the hard work devoted to covering minor league baseball, a truly udercoved sport by anyone else. With the market the Pirates play in, the minors will always be the most important component to being competitive. The Pirates must produce top rotation pitching on their own because they will never afford one in free agency. They must produce impact bats, because they can’t afford free agents with impact bats. They can get lucky in free agency for their 4th and 5th starters. They can fill in a couple postion players, but the bulk of their team must come from their minor league system, especially their stars. To me following the minor leagues is part of being a Pirate fan because of the economic restraints to the big club. I am excited about a rotation that has Taillon, Keller, Glasnow, Kingham, and Holmes because of reading the articles on this site since before subscription days. I re-upped a week ago and couldn’t be happier.

  4. I was admittedly wary when the switchover was first announced, but I thought Tim made a solid pitch for the move and I have to say I am thrilled I stuck around. It’s pretty clear that a large portion of our money goes back into the site and I, for one, really appreciate that.

  5. Happy for you, Tim. Happy for your staff. And most of all, happy for us subscribers.

    Let’s go Bucs!

  6. Speaking of spring training, holy crap, Rivero.

    That was about as dominant an inning as I can imagine.

    • Also, Casey Hughston has looked decent at the plate today. Nice work going the other way with a breaking ball in a two-strike count for a bases-loaded double.

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