First Pitch: What Do You Want To See On Pirates Prospects in 2023?

Pirates Prospects celebrated its 14th anniversary on Monday.

I celebrated in the best way possible — getting proper rest, then finalizing and filing my Baseball America article on Malcom Nunez. BA subscribers can check out that article on the power hitting first base prospect who was acquired by the Pirates in the Jose Quintana trade.

From there, I went back to doing what I’ve been doing a lot this month — planning for the 2023 coverage on Pirates Prospects.

Fourteen years ago, I was starting this site on my own as a resource for Pirates fans to learn about the players in the farm system, and to track payroll and other roster resources. I wanted to pursue a sports writing career at age 25, after being a writing “prospect” with a few articles on ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the gone but never forgotten AOL Fanhouse. I was hoping this site would eventually pay my phone bill. It led to a full-time job, money to pay other people for their contributions, and I’ve been the Pirates’ correspondent for Baseball America over the last four years. I could have only dreamt of this in 2009.

The goal of the site is the same as always: To fill the gaps in coverage of this organization — and provide an independent look at the team.

At some point in the next few weeks, you’ll see a First Pitch titled “Pirates Prospects in 2023”, which will explain the 2023 coverage and my plan for this site as it enters its 15th season covering the Pirates.

Here’s a quick preview for that post:

**I will be doing less writing, and will eventually shift my work to podcasts and video.

**There will be Resources added prior to the season, including Ethan Hullihen’s payroll page. We’ll also have the Player Pages and Depth Charts loaded with new features.

**The Prospect Guide is still in the final stages of editing. Just like in 2010, when I wrote the first one, I’m trying something completely new. Just like in 2010, when I wrote the first one, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing some days. It will be finished by my hard deadline, which I’m not publishing. This is essentially an art project, and will release when it’s ready. Check back next week for the latest update. John Dreker’s History Book will be published with The Guide.

**The content schedule that I established in 2022 will largely be in place. That includes Pirates Prospects Weekly, centered around our Tuesday article drops. It also includes Pirates Prospects Daily, which Anthony Murphy has taken up.

**I want to build this site to four full-time jobs in the next few years. Those jobs: Producer, Editor/Pirates Writer, Minor League Scouting Director, and Photographer. Right now, I am the Producer. I’m also the Editor and the Pirates Writer. I’m the Scouting Director as well, though I’m slowly shifting that role to Anthony Murphy — whose video breakdowns and coverage of the system this past year have been incredible. As usual, David Hague is our photographer. When we grow big enough, I have a few people I’m eyeing for the Editor role.

**We will have minor league writers in each city this year for the first time since 2018. I’m aiming to have a feature on every player in the system by the end of 2023. The minor league writers will make up the Tuesday article drops. The way I envision it is that every Tuesday you will get a report from each affiliate — plus a Scouting Notes article from Anthony, and maybe a feature from me, if there’s time. These article drops will be very player-centric in 2023.

**I might move to Pittsburgh in 2023. I might also stay in Florida and focus on my health one more season while I get everything above in line. Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. Burnout is real, and takes years to recover from. Right now, this site wouldn’t last long without me. I’m trying to change that so the site can eventually continue separate from me and I can take a few years away from baseball. I’m committing to 6-8 more years of running this site, while writing my Time Traveler novels on the side.

**Here is what I need from our readers this week: What do you want to see on Pirates Prospects in 2023? You can leave your suggestion in the comments below, or email them to tim@piratesprospects.com.

SUPPORT OUR WORK

Pirates Prospects is supported by ads, and we’re not requiring a subscription to access any of our articles.

The site still needs user support to grow, even with the advertisements. In the past, we’ve received at least $80,000 in user support each year, via subscriptions. In most years, the support has been well over six-figures. My budget this year is going very conservative, planning for less than the previous low total, now that the site has removed the paywall.

The site is very fortunate that it will exceed the previous low-end of user support just with advertisements. Any donations we receive go to increase the pay our writers and the continued growth of the site.

There is no requirement for anyone to contribute or subscribe to anything. We do appreciate anyone who chooses to help out the site and support our work. You can Contribute to our work if you enjoy the site and wish to help us grow.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

We’ve got features on Carmen Mlodzinski and Johan Oviedo hitting the site on Tuesday. If you missed last week’s article drop, we had features on the Pirates scouting in Asia, the Greensboro outfield depth, and recently acquired pitcher Scott Randall.

Last week, I wrote a column looking at the position player depth in Pittsburgh in 2023 — from a 20th percentile projection perspective. This week, I’ll be looking at the pitching depth in the same way.

We returned with Roundtable last week, giving our favorite articles from 2022. No spoilers here on the weekly Roundtable topic.

We also will have a new concept for Pirates Discussion on Friday, which was a lot of fun to put together.

Over the weekend, John Dreker will have the Pirates Winter Report, and Ethan Hullihen will have Pirates Business. Check out John’s article from this past week on Duane Underwood Jr., and Ethan’s article on the 2022 official Pirates payroll numbers.

FUQUAY VINYL PLAYLIST

I loved the new stuff from boygenius ($20) and Caroline Rose (Miami) this week. The playlist is very boygenius heavy (boygenius = Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridges, and Lucy Dacus).

WEEKLY PIRATES QUIZ

How many of you are good with number associations?

HELP

Have any issues with the site? Check out our Help page.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Subscribe
Notify of
76 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MVParker

Suffice to say I thoroughly enjoy what’s on the site already, so throwing out a few half baked ideas just in case it’s helpful:

– Comparison of the lottery ticket / post-prospect players from the NH tanking days (e.g., Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche, Gaby, etc.) vs the BC tanking days (e.g., Van Meter, Erik Gonzalez, Greg Allen, etc) to see whether one GM administration did any better at uncovering a valuable asset using the available innings a tanking strategy provides. I suspect the one area where there was success was in the bullpen given the high performance variability and the inability of competing teams to hold high potential but underperforming relievers very long. But I’d be curious to see what the data says.

– I believe it’s been mentioned on here that Nutting wants to emulate the Steelers culture – I.e., build a program that is sustainably competitive, develop from within, get home grown guys to buy-in and accept a discount, don’t pay free agents more than in-house guys, etc. Is that true still under the BC era? Why would a baseball team follow a football team’s approach? What avenues for acquiring talent have the Bucs voluntarily opted out of due to this strategy? What do the P2 writers think about this sort of org psychology driven approach?

– While much is discussed about the Bucs spending payroll to support a winner, is there any indication that the BC era will consider spending prospects to acquire major league rentals? Following the “most likely to hoard prospects” survey results, I’d be interested to know how BC approaches this and how P2 recommends the Bucs approach it. With the prospect depth and the ability for other orgs to successfully farm the Bucs talent better than the Bucs, one would think there’s a market to be made with the 45/40 FV prospects. Hopefully that made sense…

– What underlying peripheral stats do the Bucs pay more attention to vs the average fanboy? Does P2 agree that these underlying stats are indicative of player development / future success?

– One could make the argument that spending $20-30M on the one year free agents in 2023 is sub-optimal because the Bucs aren’t close to challenging for a division title and it would be better to save the money for 2024+ while getting a higher draft pick. Is there a stated rationale / hypothesis for why GMBC and co. want to be middle of the pack competitive? Is it a psychology thing for the young guys to avoid them getting ‘used to losing?’ Do they think the fan base won’t stomach another year of AAAA or worse players at key positions? Is there pressure on BC to show progress given other teams have ranked and resurfaced in shorter time periods, seemingly with better home grown upside?

k1rainey

All I want for Christmas are WTM’s player guides! I was always so impressed with how much work went into those each year with not enough fanfare given to him! Maybe he wasn’t solely responsible but it sounded like his voice and I think he was doing them from even before the onlybucs days. I find them nearly as valuable as the prospect guide we pay for!

MVParker

What about a look at the success of minor leaguers translating to the MLB if they were 100% in the Pirates system vs acquired via trade or Rule 5?

I put this out there as I have a weird bias that the early years were / are when the Pirates player development was / is messed up, and that the missing foundational elements rear their ugly head in AAA / MLB. But acquired prospects have a better foundation and the Pirates are capable of the later stages of development. I’d love to see a data driven analysis to confirm or refute that hypothesis.

pittsburghbob69

The depth charts and player pages back. And update the MiLB depth charts regularly.

And Merch!! I’m sure some Pirates prospects would rock your gear as well.

Just P2 hoodies and beanies though; F*ckT-Shirts.They don’t sell and are never very good quality.

I would bet P2 hoodies and beanies would sell out immediately.

k1rainey

Hah, I hadn’t read any comments on this post yet but just posted the same thing about the player pages and depth charts. I am enjoying fangraphs efforts though on the depth charts in the interim

pittsburghbob69

You should start a P2 fantasy dynasty league too. I’ve never played in a dynasty league where prospects are drafted and kept. I’m not even sure how it works or how daunting it would be but I would be interested in a good, competitive dynasty league.

phieralph

Tim! Don’t know if you’ve seen this, I’m sure you have. But the live KEXP boygenius is… rich. The sounds and everything are exquisite.

https://youtu.be/61dxizUq0Ow

As always, love the page and all you do for us Bucco diehards.

john_fluharty

I wouldn’t mind seeing an opinion piece or two from Ethan on his view of baseball’s finances in general – what they do right and what they do wrong.
We’ve got some hints mixed in here and there but I want the full rundown.

Y2JGQ2

I want to see a weekly article dedicated to what has happened in our prospects careers AFTER they leave pittsburgh. You spend years getting us geared up for guys and then once they are gone, nothing ever again. I know a lot of us would be interested in where Polanco is now, what happenned to Brad Eldred, where Will Craig is playing now, what turns did Reese Mcquire’s career take, Harold Ramirez’s rise through the minors after being dealt, bouncing around from a couple teams, etc. With only a few notable exceptions like Gerritt Cole and Taillon and maybe Glasnow, noone really knows. Maybe limit it to players whom have been top 10 in the “prospect guide’s history”

john_fluharty

Don’t know about weekly, but an occasional “where are they now” article would be pretty cool.

tstrader448

I would love to see a live or a recorded zoom of the team doing the round table. I always enjoy that feature.

robertkasperski

I don’t want much more other than a lot more post game articles detailing how the Pirates won the game. We have not gotten to read more than like 61 or 62 in a while. I am thinking maybe another 20 or so articles would nice. That is not to much to ask is it??

Danatural08

Here’s a recent bullpen session from Mitch Keller:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3PgApyDUGE

he’s doing some work on a cutter

Danatural08

Also, Keller did a long interview with the Tread Athletics guys 10 days ago. He talks about his draft experience which is interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJqWdFNlqzA

Danatural08

sorry, i’m blowing up this feed, but I’m watching the video after posting it above. Really recommend watching this. Mitch talks about what it was like for him, watching Glasnow struggle when he 1st was up & how that humbled him & other Pirates related development stuff. Really interesting stuff here.

1979andCounting

O/T but nowhere else to post……today is HOF Day. I love this group of players. I do not love MLB posting the daily %. Why do we need to have a running total every day?……terrible.

My two favorites are Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. A definite NO for Beltran (cheating scandal) and ARod (steroids).

John Dreker

I was in for Rolen and Kent only. Beltran would be on my list next year. The whole class is full of bad people:

Helton is the worst in my opinion with his multiple DUIs. Zero respect for him. Guy made nine figures in his career, spend $20 on a taxi every time he drinks he would still have nine figures of salary left all of these years later
Vizquel had that clubhouse kid situation
Jones spousal abuse
Rodriguez, Sheffield, Pettitte, Ramirez all steroid guys
Beltran scandal

Then completely separate from them, you have Wagner pitching 903 innings in his career and his awful playoff stats. I don’t like any relievers in the HOF, but this guy barely pitched.

1979andCounting

You need to separate the baseball player from your morality theme. Helton’s DUI happened in the offseason so it cannot remotely be connected to his play on the field. Wagner is arguably the 2nd best reliever of all-time. His era is 2nd, and he’s first in K’s per 9, opponent avg, and WHIP. I’m lukewarm on Rolen, haven’t done a deep dive into his numbers, he’s probably deserving. His defense seems to be his calling card.

John Dreker

I don’t need to do that. Helton got one DUI as a player and one afterwards, plus he had a leaving the scene of an accident charge. He got his second chance. He wasted it. Zero respect for him. Who knows how many times he didn’t get caught when he gets arrested six years apart. He’s just out there putting human lives in danger. Wade Boggs’ mother was killed by a drunk driver. You think I’m going to put some degenerate lowlife like Helton on stage with him if I had a vote, giving him baseball’s highest honor? Zero chance.

Wagner pitched 903 innings. That’s ridiculously low for a Hall of Famer. I could name guys with 3,000+ innings who deserve to be in and get no mentions. How do you even compare someone like Wagner to Bobby Mathews and his 297 wins and 4,900+ innings. It’s a joke that one isn’t in and one will probably make it with less than 1/5th of the innings. Wagner pitched so little he doesn’t even qualify for the career ERA all-time list. Smoky Joe Wood had a 2.03 ERA in 1400 innings and a career .768 OPS. He’s substantially better than Wagner and gets zero HOF mention

Last edited 12 days ago by John Dreker
Cobra

Happy Anniversary. So far you’ve outlasted my 1st marriage but not my second. The site is awesome & great ideas from readers below. Mine:

  • Live chats with Pirate scouts/administration: seems like this organization culturally is like the Politboro in terms of transparency so I doubt they allow this but it would be cool if your organizational relationships would be willing to do Fangraphs-type chats with (arguably) an educated subset of the Pirate fanbase
  • Monthly prospect leaderboard on K/9, radar gun & Exit Velo. Maybe updates on our small triple digit club of pitchers too. I feel like fans (and scouts) love these stats in particular
  • I know there was a reference to the ‘13 Bucs but I think what is more interesting is an occasional look at how this year’s team measures up against the 2012 Pirates in terms of this being a potential bridge/transition year
  • I always enjoy the comparative pieces. How do we measure up against other systems (especially in NL central) when it comes to OBP, offensive strikeouts, pitching performances etc. These are well done and information e
  • Wilbur humor columns: whether game summaries or in some other forum, these were highly therapeutic to long suffering fans – with fan expectations creeping up, I have a feeling we will need this this season
Ethan Hullihen

Live reporting from the Winter Meetings, by someone who really, REALLY loves the Winter Meetings…

Danatural08

good one, i looked into this once & it seemed like those in attendance had to be a member of some mlb membership to attend, but might be different for a media member

mlu

I love WTM’s player pages and System depth charts. An invaluable resource for armchair GMs. I have missed not having them on the site. I would gladly purchase a condensed print version to carry around. Also a return of dedicated individual affiliate reports that provide more information than box scores like the site had years ago would be welcome.

AttyMike

I agree. I miss the resources from the old site like the player salary projections for a few years out. That was helpful.

Wilbur Miller

Should be here:

Piratesprospects.com/depth-chart

AttyMike

How do you find this w/o knowing the specific URL?

Wilbur Miller

It’s not linked on the site, so you can’t. It should be eventually but Tim’s been busy with other things, I guess.

There’s a lot I’d like to do to improve the pages and integrate them better into the site.

joesolo6181

I would like to see player interviews that show how they got to where they are in their respective careers and where they expect to be the next year. In depth questioning of why they chose the sport instead of another. Were they always the best player among the group of players they played with regardless of age? Did they think about quitting? What support was provided by parents and coaches?

john_fluharty

I’ll second this. A bit of self-reflection from a player is always great read.

jsdspud

I am glad that the writers assigned to the affiliates will be returning. Nothing beats a first hand account of the game. A player can go 0 for 4 and we look at a box score and think he had a bad night but he might have hit 4 line drives right at fielders.

The Scouting Notes column interests me. Will it be the writers views or scouts from independent teams? I think that the site needs more views from those outside of the site and from other teams. For example, the Altoona writer asks a scout from another organization his views on a few players.

bianco599

I would like to see game recaps by WTM in October. You can read between the lines. But I do like the round tables and it would be cool to see more of them.

Danatural08

Congrats Tim, great job identifying a need & filling it with a great product. Know it hasn’t been the easiest of rides for you, but hope that as you look back you feel it was worth it. If you do move up to the burg, you’ll have at least one new friend up here.

As far as what I want to see on this site this year, it’d be pirates playoff coverage, duh!, but obvi out of your control.

bianco599

Literally just posted the same thing.

1979andCounting

I can’t wait top see the article when Shim signs at PNC Park…….I know you’ll be all over it. I’m just envisioning a TOR pitcher. In the Yu Darvish mold. I know, prospects will break your heart!

adicesa14

Batting and pitching statistics for the Pirates and each affiliate. Daily would be optimum but once a week would be fine.

adicesa14

I know that, Tim, and I read it every day. I’m talking about hitting and pitching listings that are YTD.

bscat

Pirates team site has all the stats: https://www.mlb.com/pirates/stats/

john_fluharty

YTD and also the last hundred or so at bats or X innings pitched. It works be cool to see who is trending up and who is treating down.

SouthernBuc

From a daily / weekly perspective on this site, I always enjoy the player interviews which usually mixes in on field discussion and usually a few fun facts or stories. It helps humanize the players some because I admit I can get caught up in forgetting the human side particularly from kids 22 and younger and many born outside of the US.

AttyMike

I appreciate that people like these types of articles. My preference is I don’t care much for the human interest pieces.

SouthernBuc

I’d like a straight forward discussion or postings on how a team in Pittsburgh competes assuming no changes to the collective bargaining agreement. This would absolutely exclude discussion on current ownership as I want it to be a clean slate discussion given the market size and current labor agreement.

What I am really asking – if we were selling the thought of ownership in Pittsburgh, what are the straight forward facts and paths to onfield (for purpose of this discussion) success.

And to add (now I am making up rules – feel free to ignore except the first one!):

  • Assume all markets want to compete.
  • Owners are not asked to lose money and can make some money.
  • Owners make their primary money elsewhere (likely a no go for most discussions) and at some level are fans of the sport.

I obviously have my own thoughts and opinions (not as negative as this post may sound), but given the lively debates (many centered rightfully on current ownership) I am interested in how this really could work.

justin

Prospect retrospectives. Did the 2014 Pirates #8 prospect ever amount to anything? What was the scouting report from the time?

Trade Values & Extension Candidates. BRey potentially being moved, what is he really worth using comps and rankings? What would a fair extension look like for him? More like Murphy 6/$75 or Olson 8/$140? What about a Keller or Cruz extension?

More discussion based articles. love the comment section and need more of the old BucsDugout board vibes (Remember Fanposts?)

Last edited 12 days ago by justin
justin

Position by position org depth charts / deep dives. MLB, top prospects and lower levels for each position. What is our current state and what does the next 3 years look like.

Anthony Murphy

I know I keep a spreadsheet of everyone in the organization to kind of track who is where and who I have covered already throughout the season. I have a few ideas for little stuff like this, just looking for the best way to present/share it for everyone to use as well.

justin

Ha! I keep something similar but interested to hear what the P2 hive mind has to say

KirkV12

One feature I used to love was having the top 20 prospects listed, with their stats for the day, at the top of the prospect watch articles during the season. It was a really cool way to summarize/highlight the performances from the most important players. Would love to see you bring that feature back.

jsdspud

I miss this feature as well. It was a quick way to see what the top prospects did the day before.

John Dreker

I think the reason we stopped that was the one year it included a lot of pitchers and injured players, so people started complaining about the players listed and how some days had 1-2 stats for the top 20. It was extra work that was being repeated at the bottom, but if people want it, I’m certainly open to bringing it back

roberto

I would like to see reporting about how the Bucs scout themselves, other MLB systems, US amateurs, LA amateurs, and Asian players.

roberto
pantherfan83

I always enjoyed the top 20 prospect countdown with one posted each day. It provided an individual look with discussion.

Ethan Hullihen

Personally, aside from my payroll page (4 years in the making) I would say podcasts, which are alluded to.

I know they are a pain in the butt, but they are one of my favorite things, and I’ve always enjoyed the opportunities I’ve had to do them. I literally listen to them all throughout the day, probably about 5 or so a day.

MVParker

Second the podcast idea and happy to see its in the plan for this year, Tim and crew

Wilbur Miller

I’d really like to do podcasts, with the caveat that I have no technical capability to add.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I know a group of guys that could help facilitate this. Two of the three are already P2 contributors 😉

Wilbur Miller

My fantasy is doing webcasts of FCL games.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I would pay for that

b mcferren

qa session with roundtable writers

leefieux

I want to see Tim, John and Wilbur in a batting cage……hitting. Or a HTH 40 yard dash. Okay…..a beer drinking contest.

Ethan Hullihen

I apparently hit .700 my final season of Little League, so they better watch their backs

John Dreker

I would like the batting cage idea, but I almost never drink alcohol and when I do it’s never beer. I’m all in for a chocolate eating contest if either of the other two want to step up

Anthony Murphy

Chocolate eating contest has my absolute attention…

leefieux

Dark, milk, white or all the above?

John Dreker

M&M’s would be my preference for a contest. There has never been a time where I ate M&M’s to the point I couldn’t eat any more. Maybe it’s because I usually only have them around holidays, so I go long stretches without them, but I think I have a magic eating power with them. I usually stop because I finish them or I think that I should save some for others. I can’t think of any other food like that.

If you gave me a five pound bag of M&M’s with the caveat that I only had 24 hours with it, I have no doubt I’d not only finish it, I’d wonder when we could do that again.

leefieux

I LOVE the caramel ones.

Anthony Murphy

My go to candy as a kid was the Hershey’s Cookies N Cream white chocolate bars. Don’t do the white chocolate as much anymore. If we are talking about an all you can eat contest, I’d probably go safe and say milk.

leefieux

Gimme Da Dark!! Ghirardelli Dark, with caramel twirls my tassels!

bscat

Dove dark promises

leefieux

I’m with you on beer AND alcohol. Beer was only good in college and after a hot July softball doubleheader.

emjayinTN

Glad to see you mention the Prospect Guide. The 10th Anniversary Edition is always on the corner of my desk, right beneath the current edition of the Baseball America Almanac. I refer to both on a daily basis.

skliesen

Happy Anniversary Tim! Quite an accomplishment. This site has certainly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the game, and love/hate for the Pirates.

As for what I’d like to see on P2 this year, the first thing that came to mind is to ask John to give us a daily look back at the 2013 season in honor of this being the 10-year Anniversary of that magical season, and because Cutch is back! Be kinda fun to reminisce and compare the results of this team to that one, too. Who knows this might be a magical season, too. Hope Springs Eternal.

Share article

Pirates Prospects Daily

Latest articles

Pirates Prospects Weekly

MONDAY: First Pitch

TUESDAY: Article Drop

WEDNESDAY: Opinions

THURSDAY: Roundtable

FRIDAY: Discussion

SATURDAY: Pirates Winter Report

SUNDAY: Pirates Business

Latest comments

76
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x