First Pitch: The Delays of the Prospect Guide and the Changes Behind Them

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
With stars to fill my dreams
I am a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
Sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
Talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed

There’s this feeling I get every winter.

Every year over the last decade, I’ve spent most of the month of December putting together the Prospect Guide. I start with the formatting process months earlier, but December is about the time when things get finalized, and you start making those fun decisions on the top 50 prospect lists and other factors.

I was set for an easy December this year. There was no minor league baseball, so no games to recap. We had most of the Prospect Guide written by September. But there was something… lacking.

The book looked just as good as it has ever looked. It had more information on the system than any other outlet on the Pirates, but that’s a low bar to set for a book coming from Pirates Prospects.

I thought the issue was the lack of content in a year where there were no games, and where information on a given prospect’s development is more obfuscated than before. So I researched, and the reports were updated. We created an updated top 50, not far removed from the previous, but with a few changes.

That wasn’t it. It gave us even more information, and made sure we were as up to date as we could be. But the book was still lacking.

*****

There’s this feeling I get every winter.

The Prospect Guide is finished. I’m fresh off reviewing and grading every player in the system. And there are months to go until games return.

I miss baseball.

But not the baseball you know.

For most of my life, I’ve been a time traveler. We all travel through time as we move through space standing on the same rock. But what happens when you do that while thinking almost exclusively about the future?

I’ve always been good at futures. I can see futures in everything. I can see values in everything. At some point in my life, my brain got wired to quickly simulate to the end and see a wide array of possibility.

When you find out what you’re good at, and why you’re good at that thing, it can be groundbreaking.

A lot of people go through life not realizing what they’re good at.

Some realize it, but don’t know how to repeat it.

The ones who realize and repeat what they’re good at are typically bound for better outcomes.

I’m good at projecting futures.

Which means I’m in the right business.

The feeling I get every winter is a feeling of purpose. I’m not one to believe in a calling, or natural ability. I just believe that the circumstances of my life, and the things I’ve learned along the way, have led to a situation where projecting the future development of baseball players is just one of the things that is in my wheelhouse.

But what to do with that knowledge?

*****

The Prospect Guide was finished, with more information than anyone else.

Then it was finished again, with even more information.

And it was still lacking.

My future plans for the Prospect Guide were to make it less of a reference book, and more of an actual book. A book designed for people who have never spent a day watching minor league baseball, but also a book for those who have spent every day for the last decade following our reports.

I eventually got to a point where I thought: Why wait?

The Prospect Guide had been delayed from the original targeted release at the end of September. It’s been delayed again along the way. I’ve been looking for something, and I wasn’t sure what it was that I was looking for.

I found it.

For the 10th Anniversary of the Prospect Guide, I didn’t want just another version of the book, akin to buying a new version of MLB The Show just for the updated rosters. I also didn’t want a one-off gimmick. I wanted this book to set the stage for all future Prospect Guides to come.

I finally found what that was. The problem? It led to more formatting. Writing. Changes. When I needed to get the book out.

The alternative was releasing a product where I knew we could do much better if we had more time.

In November, I calculated out how long the reformatting and changes would take. I thought I could get it done by mid-December, working 50-60 hours a week on the project. It turns out I wasn’t off by much.

The 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide could have been out earlier this month, while I would be sitting here thinking about how much better we could do next year.

Instead, the book will be released this week and sent to the printer to be shipped at the start of January.

And when this book is released, I’ll sleep with no regrets about the quality or approach, which is an approach that will shape the Prospect Guide for the next decade.

This week, I’ll have a free preview of the book, which will allow you to see the changes that have been made.

By the end of the week, the Prospect Guide will be available in full, in digital version, and sent to the printer for the book’s return to print.

It’s later than I would have liked.

But this book is anything but lacking. It’s the best Prospect Guide we’ve produced, and the best thing this site has produced.

Check back on the site throughout the week, starting tomorrow, for more details on the book release.

The 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide returns to print! We are releasing two variant covers this year, featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Visit our shop to order these extremely limited items!

 

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