First Pitch: Off Field Development

There’s nothing special about me.

There’s nothing special about any human.

There’s nothing I do that can’t be replicated.

There’s nothing anyone can do that I can’t do.

Given enough time.

And a proper plan of action.

Just like how the last guy did it.

Which is why I’m not special.

I’m just a baker.

And I figured out the perfect recipe.

Taking ingredients from various bottles.

Until I finally identified my models.

Watching the instructions online.

Now I’m feeling pretty good.

(Pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay)

And with the way I’m pitching tonight.

I could go another six innings.


I’m doing a little audible this week.

I’ve been doing a video breakdown every Wednesday. I’ve been working on JT Brubaker for this week’s feature. However, that’s not going to be ready until Friday.

I’ll have a really cool site update going up later today.

Today, I’m going live. Just coming up with a topic on the spot, and crafting it into a quick article, based on some thoughts I’ve been kicking around. This is something I’ve always done on this site — having migraines foil my writing schedule and then just winging a 30-minute article to get back on track — I just have never announced it like this as a sort of disclaimer.


Most minor leaguers haven’t played in games since 2019.

MLB is reducing the amount of minor league teams, and outsourcing lower-level development to colleges and the new MLB Draft League.

This means fewer spots available in the system. It also could lead to quicker development times. Or, maybe a completely different development approach altogether.

After all, once you have a model to pave the way, others will follow.

How many David Bednar or Luis Oviedo stories are we going to see, where a player makes massive changes away from the game, only to surprise us with markedly better performance once the season hits?

Almost like we’re in an era where players can pull up whatever pitching coach they want to follow while they’re at their house.

Just like a pitcher in Spring Training could go to one of the organization’s pitching coaches for questions.

It’s almost like we’re in an era where players can go to a local facility in their region to get data readouts and tips on how to throw pitches more efficiently, or how to channel their body flow of energy through a swing.

Just like a player in Spring Training using the new batted ball technology that has swept the game the last few years.

The resources for players to develop are more readily available than ever before.

We’re going on 20 months without minor league baseball.

It will be chaos.

Some players inevitably spent the pandemic working as hard as they could to improve their game. The Pirates seem to be doing a good job of identifying these guys, potentially even doing an impressively good job at identifying sleepers outside the organization — as Bednar and Oviedo potentially show.

Some players will have inevitably taken a step backwards. Perhaps they found that the low probability chance of making the majors, plus the low profitability in being a minor league player was not worth the added animosity in 2020.

And really, who could blame them?

We have information on every prospect in the system in our brand new 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide, which is free on digital. If you’re looking for information on the minor league players, be sure to check that out before the season begins.

Question for you all in the comments: What are your expectations for how teams will handle player development, with everything going on?

Pirates Highlights

Daily Links

**Pardon Our Progress: Is There Anything Different About the Pirates’ Hitting?

**Tuesday’s Game in Detroit Postponed by Snow; Doubleheader Tomorrow

**This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: April 20th, The Kent Tekulve Trade

**Card of the Day: 1889 Old Judge Sam Nicholl April 20

**1925 Pirate Replay, September 11: Knuckleballer Stops Pirates in 5-3 Loss


Song of the Day

First Pitch