One of my favorite additions to the site in 2022 was the Roundtable feature.
Each week, I would email a question to all of our writers, and get their blind responses. The resulting article gives you a unique mix of opinions, which are surprisingly all over the board. There’s very little groupthink here, which makes these articles fun.
To kick off this feature in 2023, I’m asking everyone on the site to recap their favorite article they wrote in 2022. We publish a lot of content, and it’s very easy to miss something. The articles below are the ones we want to remind you about, as we get into making Pirates content for the 2023 season.
What was your favorite article of 2022?
My favorite article each year is usually the same, at least on the prospect side of things. I also included my favorite history article from 2022 below.
The scouting reports on the new international signings is always my favorite once it’s done. It’s a lot of work each year, but it’s great insight into the signing class. It’s information that I always wanted in the past, but it wasn’t available for more than a handful of players each year until they reached the states.
You could expand it and say my favorite page each year is the international signing tracker, where you can find all of the info on the players, either in the charts or through the links on the page, but the scouting reports from day one is always the biggest part of that tracker page.
I post two articles daily on the Pittsburgh Baseball History site, occasionally tossing in a third. One each day is always the daily history article, where I’ve been updating/extending all of the bios of former Pirates players for quite some time now. The other article is almost always a Card of the Day article, where I look at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball card, and add some info about the card/set and the player. Occasionally I’ll throw in research articles, which is where my favorite article from 2022 comes in.
I wrote a Game Rewind article about a game that is somehow missing from Pirates history. I included plenty of proof that it once existed, but somehow it got lost over time without any explanation. There’s a boxscore from the game included in the link, as well as it showing up in the records from the day. The record books need to be updated, as you can see here.
The Best Pirates Photos From the 2022 Season was my favorite article. It was a fun retrospective on the 2022 season and all the moments I was able to capture.
I culled thru over 5,000 photos from the season and pick the best photos from the season. Not all the top moments were centered around the Pirates organization, but when you have a chance to capture the history of Albert Pujols tying A-Rod on the all-time home run list, I am not going to miss that moment.
Other moments took planning like the beam of light on Bligh Madris or the photo of Oneil Cruz and Aaron Judge. Both those moments I had a plan in my head of what I wanted to capture and when I was presented with a chance to get it I didn’t miss it.
The key thing that I really tried center all my top photos around was selecting ones that were more than just the stock type basic shots. I mean no amount of prep work will lead you to thinking Miguel Andujar will be throwing on a Pirates hat and eye patch in the dugout. I will say that I am already looking forward to the 2023 season and planning out a few shots that I hope to capture.
This is tough, and while I could probably choose something more digestible, like when I for all intents-and-purposes projected the 2022 MLB Draft pools exactly right or broke down what looked to be the blatant service time manipulation of Roansy Contreras after having the pleasure of appearing on The Fan to talk about it, I have to stay true to myself. While I would really like to choose my initial three-part series covering the owners’ lockout of the players, that was back in December 2021, so it doesn’t count; therefore, I’ll choose my final proposal update before the lockout ended.
Aside from Evan Drellich, I may have followed the lockout closer than anyone else did (or probably should have). To be totally transparent, this update was going to be my last, as it was becoming very, very draining—with a new baby in the house we were at our wits end. I probably put in no less than 100 hours (at 99 days, an hour a day on average is probably light) of work between reading countless articles, organizing hundreds of pages of notes (okay, 124 by my count), and writing tens of thousands of words (33,093) for what ended up being 19 articles for this site.
This article encapsulates that mission, as it’s nearly 7,000 words, breaking down each side’s view on the major contention points, citing many different articles and tweets providing context for everything I wrote.
If you followed this site or the proceedings at all, you should not have been without information, at least from me. It was absolutely tiresome, but also fulfilling and I truly enjoyed all of it, which is why I wanted to shine a little bit of light back on it.
I enjoyed writing about possible 2023 rotations for the two Class A teams, partly because it hit me that they actually had rotations in 2022. The notion of a “Class A rotation,” especially in Single-A, seemed like an oxymoron in today’s game. Greensboro and Bradenton mostly stuck with actual rotations in 2022, with a relatively limited number of changes.
It’s also interesting that the Pirates have had some starters emerge – with varying degrees of success, or lack of it – more or less from nowhere, like Justin Meis, Carlos Jimenez and Luis Peralta. So it’s fun, albeit pretty futile, to try to guess who might do that in 2023.
And, of course, the Greensboro rotation could be an impressive one. Bear in mind, a few of the pitchers mentioned in the article – Nick Garcia, Joelvis Del Rosario and Domingo Gonzalez – are gone.
I’m going to cheat a little bit, and not pick a singular article but a group of them. During the season we did a feature on each minor league level for our weekly article drops.
There were several articles that really stood out among them but my favorite was during the Altoona week. We split up the article drop into two parts, hitters and pitchers. Tim took the first part on Tuesday, leaving me with the latter that came out on Friday.
The amount of work putting together seven articles led to some light sleeping nights, but I feel like the finished product was well worth it. The amount of information I had to go through, the conversations and quotes, I learned so much about the game and how some of the players approach things while on the mound.
The maintaining focus feature especially stuck out, as sometimes you forget just how much pitchers have to process on the mound with so much going on and now having a pitch clock rushing them.
So maybe I took the easy way out of not selecting one singular article, but I always considered that article drop to be one big piece of work, and it was definitely my favorite from 2022.
My favorite article that I wrote in 2022 actually came early in the season with my first feature on Mason Martin.
The slugger got off to a fast start with his power bat. It is so much fun to speak to a player and learn about how far they have come to get where they are. In this, I got the opportunity to talk about his workouts and the role his family played in his development.
The article that was my most favorite to write in 2022 would have to be my breakdown of Sammy Siani’s swing. The Prospect Promotion Incentive article that Ethan Hullihen and I spent a lot of time researching was a close second.
A lot came down to the fact that writing outside of the comments is still a relatively new venture for me. Writing the discussion pieces generally comes about from what is the topic surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates ballclub that week.
With the Siani piece, it felt like the culmination of all the years I spent watching and discussing baseball coming together. After watching him play all year in Bradenton the year prior, I quickly picked up during a Greensboro Grasshoppers game in 2022 that something seemed different about his swing.
Siani always had a rather visually appealing smooth swing from the left-side, but he often struggled with making contact. He closed his stance, moved his hands, and added a leg kick where he’d hover his front leg before planting to initiate his swing.
If you’ve been following how well of a season Siani has had in Australia, you can actually see some of the changes discussed in the article playing out in the clips John Dreker has posted. Siani could be a potential 2023 breakout, and I think it would be some of these changes that lead to that.
I was originally going to say that my Endy Rodriguez article from my Altoona trip last August was my favorite article. And it was.
After editing everyone else’s responses, I’m going to cheat and include my entire article drop from that Altoona trip. As Anthony said above, these drops were treated as collective projects, rather than individual articles.
I conducted over 20 interviews in my week in Altoona, almost passing out while talking with pitching coach Drew Benes. As has been hinted at a few times in this article, a lot of the work on this site is a labor of love for this game. In this case, I wanted a chance to tell player stories in a way I never had before, while providing info on the players who are essential to the next stages of this rebuild.
This time around, I leaned into discussing the player a bit more, rather than looking specifically at his skills. In some cases, the focus was purely development. I trusted and incorporated my scouting eye more than ever in these articles. The biggest example was with Endy.
At the time, it felt bold to say that Rodriguez was looking like the best prospect in the Pirates system. It feels obvious now, and credit goes to him for continuing to tear it up. I caught Rodriguez at the right time, and every reader at Pirates Prospects was able to get on the Endy train early, before other outlets put him first in the system.
The articles from that drop were in August, but are still evergreen today. With the exception that Blake Sabol isn’t in the system anymore, all of these still give you an idea of some of the players who could be arriving in the majors over the next year. There are also some stories about development at the Double-A level, and the way the Pirates are developing their hitting prospects.
My goal is to have more coverage like this year-round this year, rather than saved for one drop in August. This drop sets the tone, and between my Hitters drop and the Pitchers drop from Anthony, you get a detailed look at the 2022 Altoona Curve.