next steps for phuturephillies.com

hello, its me. i wanted to quickly say a few words about what i plan to do moving forward and what has happened since i left. a few weeks ago, i wrote a quick post saying that the site would not die, and that i was debating making a return. so, now that ive had some time to think about things, i wanted to update you. as some of you know, brevity was never my specialty, so the rest of this entry is below the fold

for those of you who do not know me, my name is james. i started this website in….2006? 2007? either way, it feels like it happened at least 15 years ago. the idea came to me one day at work, at an old dead end job. my job was not stimulating, and i needed something to keep me occupied. at the time, i was really interested in minor league baseball, especially the phillies, so it sort of just happened. i decided to start a website devoted to nothing but phillies prospects. you may not believe it now, but at the time, there really weren’t many websites devoted to talking about baseball prospects, and there weren’t many sites devoted to talking about prospects from just one team.

the first few iterations of the site were very basic, almost embarrassing. i wrote a bunch of crap about a bunch of bad prospects. but i spent the next 6 months or so looking for ways to make the site better, to make it easier to read, and to actually create content worth reading. time progressed, a few people were generous enough to write stuff, and the site grew exponentially. i moved in 2008, i started a new job in 2010, and from there, my involvement in the site began to fluctuate. by the beginning of 2012, i had lost a lot of the motivation to really grow the site and make it better. my job took a turn for the very busy, and i wanted to start writing about other stuff. i made the decision sometime in 2012, i think it was in may, to stop writing for phuturephillies.com

gregg was kind enough to take over for me. from that point forward, i essentially divorced myself from the site and from thinking about phillies prospects. i still followed the phillies, i still occasionally looked at box scores, but for the most part, it was a clean break. i tried writing a novel, which i abandoned after 40,000 words. i wrote about some other things. i spent a lot of time traveling for work (almost 150,000 miles flown since mid-2012), i spent a lot of time exploring other things. and now, i’m here again.

gregg informed me recently that he did not have time to maintain the site going forward as he had been doing. which is understandable. i told him when he took over almost 3 years ago that if he ever felt like he had to move on or stop looking after the site, he should tell me. he told me. and im glad he did. so, here is what is next.

my plan is to again take full ownership of the site and the day to day running of the site. i read through the comments to my last post and a number of people mentioned being willing to pay a monthly amount of money. that isn’t needed. when i started the site, my stated goal was that i was not doing this to make money. i didnt want to run ads on the site and i still dont want to. this site was started out of a love of baseball, the phillies, and prospects. that is what i want it to be about now, 7 years later.

moving forward, here are the things i am focused on:

a. getting a feel for the design of the site and maybe making changes. it looks different now than it did when i left. wordpress seems to have added in a bunch of stuff. i need to look behind the curtain, see what is there, see what can be done, and then figure out what i want to do. im sure the general layout will stay the same. i might make a few tweaks.

b. i would like to do full affiliate reports. im not sure if those were done for all the affiliates in my absence. we have some time to figure out the logistics. gregg informed me that a devoted writer, jim peyton, has the FSL and GCL covered and hes done excellent work. so that is a great start. jim, please get in touch with me (email at the bottom) so that i can say hi and you can let me know if you are still interested in writing moving forward.

c. daily box score recaps. these will still be a thing. when i was doing it, i used mspaint and compiled them. i can show someone how to do it. its not a whole lot of fun to do this every day. i can do it. if someone would like to volunteer, then please volunteer.

d. draft coverage. i plan for this to be my “big return” this year. i want to write a lot about the draft. like, a lot. my goal is to write at least once a week about draft related stuff starting in february, with more stuff as we get closer to the draft. it might not just be phillies-related, it might be draft in general.

e. weekly discussions. im generally not a fan of just one big sprawling discussion, but i understand that it really has to be allowed here. so there will be 1 weekly discussion topic post thing. id like if people could generally stick to at least trying to focus on the minor league discussion there. there are tons of good places to talk about how terrible the big league club is. the good phight is a great place to start. if someone wants to be responsible for creating this once a week topic, let me know.

f. i plan to write other stuff in the interim. how frequently, i can’t say. hopefully at least one new piece a week, maybe it will be like a weekly sunday notes column where i write a longer post once a week with assorted thoughts, links, etc. but it will be at least once a week where i write something longer, and maybe more frequent shorter think-piece type things.

so, i’m going to work on getting a feel for things. its post-winter meetings now. spring training is weeks away. thing will be quiet. if the phillies decide to further tear down the dilapidated building that is their 25 man roster, i’ll post trade related thoughts. if you currently write or contribute to this site, i’d appreciate if you contact me via email to say hello, tell me what you are currently writing/contributing, and tell me what you’d like to do moving forward. if you would like to contribute in one of the areas discussed above, you should also email me to say hello and tell me what you want to do.

i appreciate all of the nice comments from my last post. its nice to know that people appreciate this site and all of the hard work it took to create it and that it currently takes to maintain it. a huge thanks to gregg for keeping it going during my sabbatical. my hope is that i can get back into it and take it forward and that you’ll continue to come back. i am going to figure out the password to phuturephillies at gmail dot com, so please use that email going forward. its good to be back. thanks for reading.

57 thoughts on “next steps for phuturephillies.com

  1. Thanks again James for coming back and rescuing the site.
    Understand your trepidation with the ‘General’ Discussion’ thread, but a few years ago things were really getting out of hand and off-topic in a particular minor league thread, so it was established to help matters. I guess that goes parcel and parcel since the site has hundreds and hundreds of posters thru-out the US with many varied thoughts and ideas.
    Anyway, again, thanks for coming back.

  2. James,

    Again, great to have you back. Looking forward to the draft coverage, was curious if you kept in contact with your sources in org (assuming they are still there). I remember you use to drop hints about the players they were targeting.

    Evan

  3. James thank you for coming back and your willingness to take it back over. And thanks to all of those who kept it going in your absence (and to the great Jim P. whose work I really enjoy- hopefully he stays on board).

    And agree that this is a good time for all of us to remember that this is a minor league blog/site and the big club is best discussed elsewhere IMO,

  4. Great to have you back. You almost undoubtedly already know this, but though Gregg deserves tremendous kudos, others in your absence such as Matt Winkleman, among several, really put a lot of time and effort and made a big difference. Their abilities and dedication are responsible for it being the popular and positive information source it continues to be – I hope you like what you find when you look “under the hood”, and your return to PP is at least half as favorable for you as I’m sure it will be for us. Again, GREAT to have you back.

    1. I’m going to have to disagree there.

      James made this site what it is. At most, the posters other than gregg tried to get it back to what it was under James, who even went so far as to come up with new stats and all other original very innovative and original ideas while being the sole poster on the site with the exception of gregg who did the Lehigh Valley Report.

      None of those other guys can hold a candle to James when it comes to baseball writing. Very few can, and that’s why people like me who don’t usually read blogs came back here time and time again,

      1. Don’t underestimate what Gregg did to keep this site alive. This site would have disappeared if not for Gregg.

        1. I was disagreeing with the idea that guys like Matt Winkleman made this site what it is. Gregg really stepped up to keep the site going, and he has my respect for that. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy job.

          1. Agreed, James and Gregg have been and are outstanding. I don’t feel the same way about Matt’s contributions, which have primarily been self centered.

          2. Matt Winkleman contributed much also but in a shorter time. I found Matt to be more objective than most of the posters and his articles were very informative. Any writer who has been a featured in Phuturephillies should be thanked for keeping the site going – so thanks to all contributors.

            1. You beat me to the punch here. We don’t need to stack rank contributors. Nobody should be questioning the skills/dedication of anyone who contributed to the site. So many have really stepped up to help, This includes the people who come here and comment. I’ve surely not agreed with everyone/everything here but I come back for exactly that reason. So my thanks to EVERYONE who has invested the time and effort to contribute here.

            2. I’m going to have to disagree with you on him. He seemed like he was trying to show how much he thinks he knows about baseball in every piece he did, and like every time he made an “announcement” he was fishing for credit. Not to mention the fact that he was clearly trying to use this site as a stepping stone to a career and brought in other guys like that. James and gregg have real jobs and both did this on the side. That is to be commended, even if gregg is now writing somewhere else (while still working a day job). I have to agree with Anonymous that Matt Winkleman’s posts seemed to be pretty self-centered.

  5. James great to have you back in the fold. As Romus said the General Discussion topic thread has done a really job of keeping no prospect chatter separate and compartmentalized. I think most posters behave properly with that and from time to time someone may need to be re-directed but its not often.

    I’d be super excited to have more draft talk and with J.P. and Crawford leading the way we could see a renaissance to Phillies MiLB.

    Cheers!

  6. James, its very nice to have you back, fully committed to the site again. I have to say that your draft write-ups from years ago were always educational for me. It looks like you’re coming back at a good time because after Byrd and Hamels trades, our minor league system should be full of talent, assuming we get a reasonable return for each on top of the deals that have already gone down.
    One question – did your aborted novel involve minor league baseball in any way? haha

  7. James- I’ve never posted on phuturephillies but I’ve read the site for quite a while and have always enjoyed the depth of analysis. I’m glad you’re back and keeping it going. Thank you!

  8. Elated!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    While you posit humor at your lengthy posts I loved them. I learned so much of what I know now from your last 2 years involved in this site before your sabbatical. It’s really exciting having you back. I agree with other posters regarding the reason for the creation of the general thread. I remember the days where you’d have to frequently redirect folks to minor league topics. I’m sure it became frustrating for you as well as the posters so the general discussion topic has been an effective resolution to that matter.

    I’m a huge fan of educational articles that utilize current Phillies (major or minor leaguers) to illustrate the point. That’s probably been the single biggest drop off in content IMO since you left. An article on “Over the last 20 years, no minor league prospect with a BB% under 4% in >400 AB’s at AA/AAA have gone on to become 3+ OWAR player in the major leagues, that’s why Valle should be a questionable prospect” or “The reason a change up is so important to a pitching prospect is because … as illustrated by Kendrick developing a borderline plus change-up”.

    I think over the next year or so, continuing to educate the regular posters, and providing that content in a quick-links section on the site would be hugely valuable both for new visitors and reference.

    1. Oh and your draft coverage was unparalleled. I also really enjoyed your year end “prospect review” spreadsheet. It was the ISH!

    2. That’s really the difference between somebody who knows and loves baseball and somebody just trying to make a name for himself and a career, in my opinion. Other guys pretty much do nothing but regurgitate or copy and paste stats, but James gives you a rounded view of a prospect based on somebody who knows the game and watches more than the box score.

      1. If that was a dig at me (which to be honest, it was so indirect I’m not sure if it was), I’d appreciate it if you’d stop replying to any of my posts since we obviously don’t get along. I’d like to keep this site civil, and if you constantly feel the need to engage me negatively, that won’t happen. THANKS! 🙂

        1. No, if it was about you I’d flat out say it to you. It was directed at the people who started writing after he left the site, with the exception of gregg and jimpeyton.

          1. Why go after the guys who contributed to this sight in the interim? They weren’t gettng paid for their work, and did a fine job. I don’t get your crusade to bash a guy who gave us his work for free.

  9. Just thrilled to hear that you are back, and I can’t wait to read the Draft stuff. Not to mention the 2016 Draft stuff when the Phils will pick 1st!

  10. Welcome back. I have missed you. Your draft coverage was always a treat.

    A lot has happened to the Phillies and the pharm since you last wrote for the site. It would be interesting to read your thoughts on the subject: why did things go so wrong, what were the worst decisions, where should we point our fingers, how much are things now changing for the good, what is a (reasonably) optimistic year for the Phillies next post-season game, how do you rate the present pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses of our farmhands, our scouts, our development team. If you’ve been away as much as your note implies, it may take a while to bring yourself up to date on all that has happened and to take proper measure of the team’s current situation and future.

    You return to close to a complete rebuild, something we as fans and you as blogger haven’t experienced in the lifespan of Phuture Phillies. It will be different.

  11. It’s funny that you return when the Phillies minor league system is in a state similar to what it was when you started the site. JP Crawford is even similar to Cardenas to an extent. Hopefully we don’t trade him for a Joe Blanton type.

  12. James. I actually have some tears in my eyes as I type. Aside from $$, I don’t know what I can offer. BUT, if y’all decide that $$ are needed to keep this site going (you shouldn’t do this for free), then you can 100% count on me!!!! And maybe send a $$ stipend to Jim Peyton for all his good work!!!

  13. I offered before, and I’ll do it again: I’ll do box scores and/or weekly general discussions if you’d like.

    Although Jim said he would take over the box scores, so if he really wants to that’s fine.

  14. Suspecting just how much time and energy this site requires to keep up with the intended analyses, it is difficult to believe that you are taking it back (I know you never completely left) realizing all that.

    James: even though you have the best of intentions to keep the site free, and are once again taking the tasks over, I believe you should allow us to make some modest financial support in aid of others as well as you who surely should not do all that devotion to keep things going well. If you don’t want to be paid for your large contributions, you know you can’t do all of it yourself and will require other contributors to pitch in.

    Their time and energy contributions should be acknowledged in aid of yourself and the site. The quality of this site exceeds what any of us has a right to expect; please let us help you to keep things going well.

    The shock that this site could be shut down was terrible news on top of the desolation of the franchise. Covering the great rebuild will occupy us all and help all we Phillie Phans in touch with the future where we must place all our hopes to find a better future for being a Phillie Phan

    Thank you from all of us now…and for those future readers and posters.

    Welcome back!

  15. I will volunteer to do some of the boxscores. Not sure if I can give you every day but I am willing to help out.

    Maybe we can all pitch in and take days or something like that so that it is not that much of a burden on one or two people.

    Maybe help out on the weekly notes as well.

  16. Thanks so much for coming back! You did such a great job with content the first time around and I always waited with baited anticipation for your top 30 write-ups. Between your posts and LarryM’s analysis, I’ve learned so much about baseball from this site. And I need something, anything really, to lift my hopes about the Phillies in particular and the miserable Philadelphia sports scene in general. You are coming back at a good time, however, as the focus of the team for the next 3 to 4 years at minimum will be the minor league system, so it should be fun to watch.

  17. We were a really good minor league organization before you left. The talent crashed and our minors are in ruins, with few top prospects. I can see your return as only a good thing, as it will likely herald an improvement in the minor league system. Can’t be a coincidence that the minors crashed when you left. welcome back!

  18. Hey James good to have you back. Youre definitely part of the reason I got into prospects back in 09.

    I did the header graphic here, but it was really just a one day thing I did for Matt because he tried to make this place look like the crawfishboxes site. Please dont do that. Theres some custom wordpress themes at http://themeforest.net/. You may have to pay like 30 bucks, but its worth it more than using a free wordpress theme. My portfolio is bobmelan.com and I custom built that off a themes general PHP, Java and other stuff. It was mostly tweaking CSS style sheets to fit my brand.

    If you need some help or a few graphics Im willing to help. Just DM me on twitter. I may be private now because Im interviewing around the country. You followed me at one point… I think. Just let me know.

  19. If a few ads helps you increase coverage, and/or makes your job easier, then what’s the big deal? If they aren’t dictating content, then go for it! Not that you need to spend time looking for advertising (a huge endeavor) but if some sponsors fall in your lap, is it really such a bad thing?

  20. I rarely ever post but I’ve read this site for a long time and i’m so pumped to hear this! Gregg did a great job but it’s awesome to have you back!

  21. First time poster, long time reader. Thanks to everyone who works to keep this site going, it’s definitely one of the best fan sites out there. As others have mentioned, a focus on the phuture is needed now more than ever.

    As for advertising, if it’s discrete I think it’s appropriate as I think James and the others deserve 1) to be reimbursed for expenses, and 2) to eat a nice steak dinner every once and awhile for all the work they do. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reclaiming this burden James. After my email, this is one of the first sights I check. I can’t wait for the Top 30!

  22. James,

    It’s nice to have you back. I found Phuture Phillies through philly.com boards which I learned to hate after a while but I remember following the PhuturePhillies poster to this site and have been reading/commenting ever since. Anyway, thanks for creating this site and welcome back.

  23. Lol who’s the A-hole that gave a thumbs down to every post in this thread? Fine work Philly Phan 😉

  24. Sweet, like reconnecting with an old friend! Like you, life has gotten busy for me and I haven’t been able to check into this site as much as I used to. I and everyone here will be thankful for whatever commentary and analysis you can squeeze out in between your other obligations. Looking forward to the draft coverage, as well as your top 30. Easily my favorite prospect list-really missed this!

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