The 2018 Prospect Guide is Available For Pre-Sales, With Some Big Changes to the Book

For seven years, we have produced our annual Prospect Guide, with information on every prospect in the Pirates’ system. This was a key source of revenue for the site before we went subscription, and it remains a big boost for us after the switch. We plan on producing a new book every year, although due to some industry changes, we will be adjusting the way we do things this year.

The biggest adjustment has been the rise in sales for the eBook, and the drop in sales for the actual book. More and more people are purchasing the eBook copy over the paperback version year after year. The paperback version becomes more expensive to produce when we’re making fewer copies. Add to this a growing problem with shipping becoming unreliable via USPS, and expensive with other services, and the paperback version has become more of a hassle than it is worth.

This year, the Prospect Guide will be eBook only, with a slight twist.

We will have a limited amount of paperback books available for those die-hard readers who love getting the book each year. There will be a limit of 300 books sold, and those will go on a first come, first serve basis. That’s much lower than our paperback sales in previous years, so I’m expecting that full amount of books to sell out and be shipped by the time the book is released in February. You can pre-order your copy today to guarantee that you get the book.

And now for the benefits of primarily going with an eBook.

Last year we made a change with the release date of the Prospect Guide. When we started producing the book, it was released in late-January or early-February. Then we switched it to right after the winter meetings, for a pre-Christmas release. We switched it back to right before Spring Training last year, allowing us to get the most up-to-date information in the book.

Going primarily with an eBook allows us the best of both worlds. We will be releasing the first edition of the book after the winter meetings, with our initial top 50 rankings and reports. The full release will be prior to Spring Training, with profiles on every player in the system, plus our finalized top 50 rankings. This way you get updates at the key times in the offseason, rather than waiting until February to get the full book.

The eBook is also available for pre-sales. When the latest update to the book is released, you will be the first to be able to download that update, with instructions sent to you after your purchase.

There will be discounts for Top Prospect subscribers this year, using the code TOPPROSPECT18.

We will have more information on the book, including the main article and the cover, at a later date.

You can pre-order your copy of the 2018 Prospect Guide on the products page today.

  • One suggestion for the eBook edition. Since you will be able to update it as the season goes long it would be nice to see the kids who are drafted and signed from the 2018 draft as well as International prospects signed added with at least some comment on them so that I can keep up with some info on the prospects that are assigned to the WV Black Bears. I love to go to see them play as they are within 45 minutes of my home. And I have had some great experience at the BB games.

    • I’ve thought about that, but there would be no way to realistically do that. There is so much going on during that time, and we’re rushing to get info on the new players. A lot of players we don’t get info on until August.

      Even if we could get all of the info together in June, there’s still the challenge of putting together some sort of book, even if it is an eBook. I start on the Prospect Guide every September, and I’m cramming the first two weeks of December to get it finished. There’s no way we could do this process with a season taking place.

  • Tim, I did not know you had an e-book version. I would like to know when my subscription is up to renew and get the e-book version. saves PP money and i get updates throughout the year. Win-win.

  • Hmmmm. I have all the Prospects books on a shelf in my office. Will I pay the extra $15 for what is likely the last one. This is my dilemma.

  • Not real happy about going eBook as primary Prospect Guide. Have a hard copy of everyone of the Prospect Guides. But I see where you are coming from and I like what I am hearing from you Tim. But I would like to know if I can read the eBook on my Android phone and Chromebook laptop? Thanks for all your efforts in the past and hopefully in the future.

  • I’m glad the hard copy is still available. I read ebooks, but the Prospect Guide is the kind of book that I frequently flip back and forth through, which is way easier with a hard copy. Plus I think I fear change.

  • Trying the hard copy one more year. It is wonderful old school ‘reading material’ and I have yet to rip out even the Harold Ramirez Prospect page when there was emergency need for paper.

  • Is there like a preview of 1-2 pages I can see from previous editions? Or anyone who bought it before, what’s it like? What kind of information does it have, is it like BA/BP top 10 prospect rankings? More details than that?

    • It’s a must-have for me. If anything I think Tim undersells the features they include.

      Recap of previous season’s top prospects, org depth charts, plus cool historic features like top bonuses and draft history. Also neat details in the player pages like signing bonus, options remaining, and scout who signed the player.

      Either a lot of stuff that isn’t on the site, or stuff that’s on the site but presented in a more succinct and searchable manner.

    • We do have the 2016 book on clearance for less than a dollar, which would be the best way to preview one of the books, while also clearing that box out of my office closet. 🙂

      The book literally has every bit of information we have on every player in the system. Each player profile has stats, a 2-8 upside grade, a risk factor, bio information, how they were acquired (draft, international, waivers, FA, etc), a signing bonus, a signing scout, and most importantly, the scouting report.

      The book also has organizational recaps for each team, and the overall organization, plus our exclusive top 50 prospect rankings. It has the top signing bonuses in franchise history for the draft and international ranks, and summaries on those drafts and the international signings. It previews the players who will be making the jump to the US from the DSL (Lolo Sanchez and Rodolfo Castro were the two we featured first this past year). There is also info such as when a player is Rule 5 eligible, and how many options he has left.

      I actually designed the book as something I would use while covering a game or while writing an article. It’s a quick reference for any player in the organization without having to go to a dozen places. A pitcher comes into the game, and I can just flip to his page and recall what he throws. A new draft pick is signed by a scout, and I can quickly search the eBook to see what players that scout also signed. If I need a reference to a certain player’s skills or results in previous years (or injury history), I go to the book as a reference while writing articles.

      The BA/BP recaps scratch the surface. They’re maybe 10 pages of info. This is 150-200 pages of info. It’s something you can’t find anywhere else.

  • Is there an option to get the paperback book AND the ebook as a package (possibly with a slight discount), so I can have the hard copy to flip through but still get the updates of the digital version?

    • There aren’t any packages, since the eBook is the primary book, and the paperback is just a limited release.

      The package discounts we offered in the past were mostly discounting the eBook, which is hard to do when that is the primary version of the book this year.