Pirates Roundtable: What Was Your Favorite Article in 2022?

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?

JOHN DREKER

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.

Scouting Reports on All 18 Players Signed by the Pirates on Day One of the International Signing Period

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.

Game Rewind: The Missing Game in Pittsburgh Pirates Franchise History

DAVID HAGUE

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.

David Hague: Best Pirates Photos From the 2022 Season

ETHAN HULLIHEN

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.

Players Turn Down “Best and Final Offer”, Now What?

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.

WILBUR MILLER

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.

WTM: Possible Rotations for Greensboro and Bradenton in 2023

ANTHONY MURPHY

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.

Quinn Priester: Confidence Paves Path To Success On The Mound

Kyle Nicolas: Attacks Hitters Base Off ‘Feel’ On The Mound

Maintaining Focus on the Mound is Key To The Highest Level

Luis Ortiz: Focus On ‘Filling Zone’, Force Hitters To Cheat On Fastball

Tahnaj Thomas: Bullpen Role Helping Focus On Throwing Strikes

J.C. Flowers: Athleticism Allows Righty To Be A Quick Study On The Mound

RYAN PALENCER

My favorite article that I wrote in 2022 actually came early in the season with my first feature on Mason Martin.

Mason Martin’s Power is Just a Step Away From Pittsburgh

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.

JEFF REED

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.

Sammy Siani Shedding Steep 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.

TIM WILLIAMS

I was originally going to say that my Endy Rodriguez article from my Altoona trip last August was my favorite article. And it was.

Endy Rodriguez is Looking Like the Best Prospect in the Pirates System

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.

Williams: Exquisite Corpse

Endy Rodriguez is Looking Like the Best Prospect in the Pirates System

Liover Peguero Needs to Control His Talent

Jon Nunnally Discusses the Hitting Development Approach in Altoona

Why is Nick Gonzales Struggling to Make Contact?

Blake Sabol: A Prospect Development Story

Aaron Shackelford: “It’s definitely been a growing season, mentally”

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.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

David is the Pirates Prospects photographer for Pirates and some minor league. David attended California University of PA where he was a student photographer in the sports department. Upon graduation he stayed on as the team photographer for the Cal U Hockey Club and in 2013 joined Pirates Prospects. Since the mid 90’s David has been a Pirates fan and has traveled to all 30 ball clubs.

A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.

Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.

When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.

Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.

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Wilbur Miller

This seems like a good place to memorialize this Mackey tweet:

My man Ethan — in his spare time, late at night w/his family asleep, for the heck of it — more accurately calculated the Pirates’ ’22 payroll than anyone else. Awesome.

Ethan Hullihen

And I thought you weren’t on Twitter…

Wilbur Miller

I’m not, but I check a few timelines for news. I don’t have a login.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Wilbur Miller

I have considered getting a verified account as Bob Nutting. Apparently I just have to tell them I’m Bob Nutting.

Last edited 19 days ago by Wilbur Miller
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Not even that. Just pay $8/month. Or $12. Or $50? Or whoever knows what the price is nowadays

Danatural08

Love the roundtables PP team, I picture you each pounding away at the keyboards with a cold brew or water pipe in close proximity.

Being a fan of the Pirates feels more like an addiction, while i know it’s not good for me, its just too strong to break free. You guys do a good job of keeping me hooked (swear to gahd the Pirates ticket office called me after typing this lol) & prevent me from refreshing MLBTR every 5 minutes!

For me, I love the MLB draft & follow alot of college baseball, so my favorite articles each year are the MLB draft coverage.

Cheers to 2023

Danatural08

lol! you da man Tim. Nailed it again!

Thank you for dealing Bucco dope in high level medical grade & keeping me from tweaking out on that suspect street grade bucco dope. lol

agent00
agent00

that didn’t render as i’d hoped. ah well.

PirateRican21

Here is the copy.

70D122FC-4CE4-46E6-9E1C-5A0E94D1FEF9.jpeg
PirateRican21

saved, you’ll be seeing it again unless you use it first!

agent00

i always appreciate a good meme!

PirateRican21

You made a great one!

agent00

thank you!

PirateRican21

Favorite article is any article that WM writes that causes mass hysteria! I tend to agree with him and reading the reactions of others is amusing. Is ok to disagree!
P.S. WM Pirates game recaps in 2021 made the season bearable.

Last edited 19 days ago by PirateRican21
bianco599

I agree completely on the 2021 game recaps. Gave me a chance to chuckle a little rather than punch a wall.

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