I met up with Tim Williams of Prospects Friday afternoon at PirateFest to say hi and grab a copy of the new 2012 Prospect Guide, and I recommend you check out the book as well.
It features reviews of the each of the Pirates' affiliates' 2011 seasons, a piece on the Pirates' top pitching prospects (Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia and Stetson Allie), a review of the last five Pirates' drafts, and a host of other stuff, but the meat of it is the reports on a ton of Bucs minor-leaguers, all the way down to teenage Dominican unknowns who have yet to play in the states. It's completely current (Yamaico Navarro is in there, for example) and very detailed - most of the reports on the Bucs' top 50 prospects feature a photo and stats, and then a half-page of biographical information in tiny type. (The book is 204 pages and has a ton of pictures, stats and charts, but there's also an amazing amount of text.) Tim or someone from Pirates Prospects has seen nearly all the guys in the book who have played in the states, so the bios are filled with details on the players' tools that are tough to find elsewhere.
In short, this is a great book to have if you plan on going to Spring Training this year, or if you're planning on watching the Pirates' affiliates play in the regular season, or if, like me, you just like geeking out on detailed reviews of incredibly obscure Bucs players. I took my copy of the 2011 guide to Pirate City earlier this year, and it served me very well as I was scampering from diamond to diamond.
On Friday I did an interview for a documentary about what it means to be a Pirates fan, and the first question was about how the internet has changed Pirates fandom. What I said is that it's much easier for the hardcore fan to be really informed. When I started blogging in 2004, it was hard to find much info on a lot of Bucs minor leaguers beyond a stat line that might or might not have been updated recently, and a date of birth. Today, there's an incredible wealth of information available. It's funny that the 2012 Prospect Guide is an actual, physical book, because it's exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.