Frequently Asked Questions -- General

1 Introduction

This page focuses on general questions about the design of the game, how we rate players, and company policies. For answers to questions that are specific to the user interface and other features of specific game versions, see our FAQ page.

This is meant to be a living document. We will add to it as new questions come up. We will subtract from it when we move the material into future versions of our User Guide and online help. Feel free to give us feedback on this document by sending email [email protected]

The questions are organized into the following categories:

How the Games are Played

2 How the Games are Played

1 Does it do me any good to 'work the count', offensively or defensively?

<< Example - My pitcher gets an 0-2 count on the batter. Does it do me any good to 'pitch around' the batter for a couple of pitches - hoping he will swing at a pitch out of the strike zone? Do batters swing at pitches out of the strike zone?

Another example - Does it do me any good to take pitches, trying to get ahead in the count? Will some pitches be 'balls' if I take them, but possibly swung on if I choose 'swing'? If yes, can you tell me if I will generally be putting myself at an advantage/disadvantage by trying to 'work the count'? >>

Trying to work the count will put you at a disadvantage. That's because the game already works the count automatically. Just as in real life, Diamond Mind pitchers expand the strike zone when they get ahead in the count, and Diamond Mind batters are more selective when they get ahead in the count. We studied a lot of real-life pitch-by-pitch data to calibrate this part of the system, and we have charts and tables showing the percentage of strikes thrown by pitchers on each count and the percentage of time batters swing at strikes on each count, among other things. These percentages are built into the game.

To give one example, most of your hitters will take the 3-0 pitch anyway, so you don't necessarily have to give the Take sign to keep the bat on their shoulder. But you can use the Take sign to guarantee that they won't swing at the pitch. We don't recommend using the Take sign earlier in the count, because major league pitchers throw strikes over 60% of the time, and you're just inviting the pitcher to get ahead of your hitter or work his way back to a more even count.

2 Can you tell me why someone who didn't make an error in real life can make an error in your game?

We reduce a player's error rating below the league average by an increasing amount the more error-free innings he accumulates, but we don't take his error rating down to zero unless he accumulates a lot of error-free playing time. If someone completes only a few games of error-free play, it doesn't make sense to assume that he would never make an error if he was allowed to play every day.

3 If a player isn't doing as well as he did in real life, does the game improve his ratings so he'll make up ground in the rest of the season?

Diamond Mind Baseball does not adjust ratings to force the stats to come out right, and that's for several very good reasons.

First, and most important, forcing the stats to come out would create real problems late in the year. Suppose a .280 hitter enters the last 20% of the season batting only .250 (for whatever reason). We'd have to make him a .400 hitter the rest of the way to get his average up to .280. If you knew this (and it wouldn't take you very long to figure this out), you could start giving extra playing time to the guys who you knew were going to get a late-season boost. And you'd start to sit the guys who were ahead of their pace.

This, admittedly, is a bit of an extreme example, because you might hope that the player never deviated as much as 30 points from his real-life average in the first place. But it wouldn't be realistic if this never happened. There are lots of guys who bat .350 for the first month of the year and gradually fade to .280 by the end of the season. And there are plenty of guys who raise their average by 20-30 points late in the year.

Second, what stats should we force things to? If you're playing a draft league, chances are your players are in different ballparks, facing a different mix of opponents, possibly playing under a different era, and possibly facing a much higher concentration of talent. When you change the context like this, the stats should change. It wouldn't be realistic to keep them the same.

Third, if we forced the stats to come out right, there wouldn't be any surprises. Replays using real rosters would always yield the same results, so there'd be no point in doing them. Draft-league seasons would be almost totally decided after the draft was run. There would be almost no opportunities for you to get a few wins out of your team through superior managerial skill, since the "forcing" logic would be pushing the results toward the real-life total.

Finally, uncertainty about future performance is a significant part of the managerial experience. Real-life managers know that a certain player is most likely to hit .280 with 20-25 HR and a decent on-base percentage, because that's what he's done in the past. But the manager doesn't know whether he's going to get a career year, a normal year, or a bad year out of the guy. And he doesn't know whether the guy is about to get hot or go into a slump at any given point in the season. If we forced the stats toward the real-life totals, your managerial experience would be much different, and much easier, than that of a real manager.

We could design the game so that every player came out within one or two in every statistical category. But if we allow streaks and slumps during the season, we open ourselves up to the late-season distortions we described above. And if we keep the stats in line during the year to avoid late-season distortions, we eliminate the streaks and slumps that are so common in real baseball. The laws of probability are enough to make most of the stats come out very close for most of the players, and we think it's a much better game this way.

4 If I play a tired catcher at DH, does that count for the "rest" he needs from catching?

Playing at positions other than catcher doesn't contribute to fatigue. If you use a player at catcher about 85-90% of the time and DH him the rest of the time, he'll be at full strength every day. However, if you catch him every day until he gets tired, then he's tired the next day even if you play him somewhere else that day. In other words, playing him somewhere else is a good way to prevent catcher fatigue, but it's too late if you've already tired him out.

A catcher can handle about 85-90% of the workload for a team before getting tired. Since there are about 38 batters faced per game these days, in a ten-day period (last nine days plus today's game), a catcher can handle 85-90% of 380 or about 323-342 BF before getting tired.

5 What do those e numbers mean that appear under the players in the field?

The numbers represent the projected number of errors the player would make in 100 full games (900 innings) at that position.

6 We had two rain delays, one 36 minutes, the other for a lesser time. Does that affect the pitchers readiness, assuming they don't stiffen up and are required by the game to be replaced?

Pitchers don't have quite the same durability after one or two lengthy rain delays. Their ability to pitch doesn't decline, but you'll want to watch for signs that they're tiring a little early.

7 I've seen very good baserunners get picked off even in situations where you know they won't be running. Why does this happen?

In Diamond Mind Baseball, the odds of getting picked off are much higher when the runner has been given the steal or hit and run sign on the play than when it's not a running situation, but it's still possible to get picked off at any time.

Real-life baserunners occasionally make mistakes in non-running situations, and while a very good runner will make fewer than most, he always draws a lot more throws than the average player. (For instance, we recently saw a real-life game in which a Tigers runner got picked off second when his team was trailing by 11 runs in the 9th inning.)

8 Why is it that runners are frequently successful stealing second even when I pitch out?

In recent decades, an average runner has had about a 70% chance of stealing a base against an average pitcher and an average catcher. Our studies of real-life play-by-play data show that the success rate on pitchouts drops only to about 50%.

These are averages, of course. If your catcher has a very good arm, the odds of success are lower, all other things being equal. But it's rare that all other things are equal. If your pitcher has a below average hold rating and/or the runner is an above-average base-stealer, the odds of stealing on a pitchout would rise again, possibly to a level higher than the 50% rate.

On the other hand, when a pitcher throws to first and the runner breaks for second, the data shows that the average success rate drops to less than 20%. Of course, pickoff throws usually result in the runner retreating safely to first, so you cannot abandon the pitchout and rely exclusively on pickoff throws to control the running game.

9 How does a player who played less than full-time in the regular season fare in DMB?

He plays just as well as he did in real life. Most DMB leagues adopt playing time restrictions so guys who racked up good numbers in a short time don't get to play every day at that level. The game includes a team status report that tracks playing time as a percentage of real life (and shows fatigue and injury status as well). For games controlled by the computer manager, there is also an option to have the computer limit playing time. The playing time limits can be set as part of your manager profile, so the league can have some discretion as to how to set these limits.

Diamond Mind Baseball does not take steps to punish (via slumps or injuries) guys who play more than they did in real life because that would limit your ability to explore what-if scenarios. Suppose you want to know how a team might have fared if its star player hadn't missed half the season with an injury. Or if a prized prospect had been called up much earlier in the season. Punishing these players would defeat your goal of answering these questions.

10 Injuries

10.1 If a player appeared in 140 games, and I try to use him every day, will the game injure him at some point?

Not necessarily. You might get lucky and get through the season unharmed. The injury system is milder than real life, so most guys will miss less time due to injury in DMB than they did in real life.

10.2 If I sit a player out of games periodically, will that decrease his chance to get hurt?

Yes, but probably not in the way you think. Except for brawls, DMB players can be hurt only when they're playing, so if you rest him occasionally, he's not likely to be hurt in those games. But he's got the same chance of getting hurt whenever he does play since rest has no bearing on injury risk.

10.3 Are there any strategies that may help in controlling injuries for players?

No. In real-life, a guy can get hurt whenever he plays, and there's no way to prevent that. It's the same in our game.

11 Do games ever get rained out?

There are no rainouts in the current version. There are rain delays, but rainouts require the ability to reschedule those games, and most of Diamond Mind leagues don't want to deal with them. We are planning to add rainouts as an optional feature in the future.

12 When the bullpen warmup rule is being used, why do pitchers sit down every time a defensive half-inning ends?

This is consistent with a principle that we consider to be fundamental to good game design -- every strategy should give you good reasons for doing it and good reasons for not doing it, so your decisions aren't automatic.

If the game didn't sit your relievers down at the end of every defensive inning, you'd just get one or two relievers up in the first inning and leave them up until you need them. That's not realistic, because real-life relievers aren't used this way, and it doesn't provide you with a challenge.

So, in Diamond Mind Baseball, you have to decide when and how often you want to warm up a reliever. If you warm him up too many times in one game, you can tire him out. If you don't warm him up when you need him, you may have to leave the current pitcher in longer than you want. This may take a little getting used to, but we're convinced that it's realistic and makes for a more interesting game.

13 I have used a non-pitcher as a pitcher when my team is getting plastered, and he has done remarkably well. Does this surprise you?

We've studied the performance levels of real-life emergency pitchers and found them to be quite a bit below the average for legitimate pitchers, but not as awful as you might think. There have been plenty of cases where a team's pitchers have gotten blasted in real life and a position player came on to record a few outs. For example, the composite stats for position players who pitched in 1997 are:

3 innings, 15 hits, 26 BB, 5 K, 6.34 ERA
Not great, but not as bad as you'd think. And there were a few guys who pitched quite well for an inning or more.

14 Wouldn't it be interesting to have the possibility, when playing defense, to influence the outcome of an AB by positioning outfielders & infielders depending on who's the hitter (pull, neutral or opposite field)?

We have given this a lot of thought and have come to the conclusion that it doesn't make the game any better and might very well make it worse.

In real-life, teams go to great expense to scout each of their opponents so they can position their outfielders and infielders just right for each player. So it's reasonable to assume that someone who hit .280 did so against well-prepared defenses.

If, in Diamond Mind Baseball, we give you freedom to set your defenses, how should we code this .280 hitter? If we code him to hit .280, and your defenses are not just right, he'll hit better than that, possibly much better. If we code him to hit .270, figuring that your defense won't be perfect so he'll get enough extra hits to reach the .280 mark, and you do defense him perfectly, he'll hit .270. We lose statistical accuracy no matter which way we go.

And how much strategy is there in this move anyway? We tell you which hitters are pull hitters and which ones are spray hitters. So it's pretty clear that you should play the pull hitters to pull. If it's that obvious, why make you go to the trouble of making you choose your defensive alignment on every play?

Finally, real-life hitters are constantly making adjustments to combat pitchers and defenses that are trying new things to get them out. The .280 average is the resulting performance that reflects all of these adjustments. If we allow you to adjust your defenses in the game, but don't allow you to adjust the batter's hitting style, we've loaded the dice against the hitters.

3 Statistical Accuracy

1 The game has always been statistically accurate. How much more accurate is the current version compared with the first version in 1987?

It's both more accurate and more realistic than earlier versions.

Accuracy is measured by the relationship between computer-generated stats and real-life stats. If a pitcher walked 78 batters and struck out 123 in 200 real-life innings, an accurate game would produce similar totals if the pitcher also threw 200 innings in the computer season and was used in a similar fashion (same role, same home park, same quality of opposition, and so on).

Over the years, we've learned a few things that have enabled us to fine-tune many aspects of the simulation. But the first version was already very accurate, and the gap between version 1 and 9 is not large.

Realism has to do with incorporating as many aspects of real-life baseball as possible -- left/right splits, park effects, weather effects, ground-ball/fly-ball ratios, wild plays, and so on. If you design a very simplistic model that leaves these things out, you can do ok with statistical accuracy even though the game is not a very realistic simulation of the real thing.

We've made huge strides in realism since the early days. We've expanded the park effects, added a sophisticated weather system, added catcher pickoff throws and many other types of plays, made infielders smarter about where they throw the ball in various situations, improved the way we adjust for changes in playing conditions (error rates, pitcher fatigue, and so on) during the past 100 years, and, most importantly, added the pitch-by-pitch simulation.

The pitch-by-pitch mode is a great example of increased realism. It adds a ton of strategy (pitchouts, pickoff throws, taking pitches, choosing the best counts for bunts and hit and run plays) and makes the pitcher fatigue system much more lifelike (by basing it on pitches thrown instead of batters faced). But it doesn't have any measurable impact on accuracy, because pitchers and hitters still match their real-life stats as well as they did in the simpler, batter-by-batter model.

The challenge of designing a game is to start with a highly accurate model and then add more and more of the variables that make individual games and situations unique, and to do all this without reducing accuracy.

2 While the overall batting statistics are coming out very close to real life, some players have left/right splits that are just the opposite of their real-life splits. What's going on?

That doesn't surprise us, because the number of atbats a player gets against left-handed pitching each year is typically quite small, usually 150 or less. A couple of years ago, we did some research that showed that there's a lot of randomness in these splits given how small the sample sizes are.

We took all players who had at least 50 AB against both left and right handers over a five year period. It turned out that our database contained this information for 1990-1 and 1995-7, so that's what shown here. The following table shows the difference between players average vsRHP and vsLHP. (To save space, we've included only the first part of the list.) A positive number means he had a higher average against righties.

Player Name Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
------------------------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Roberto Alomar .041 .070 .092 .023 .117
Carlos Baerga .025 -.056 -.024 .046 .138
Harold Baines .040 -.007 .010 -.028 .037
Jay Bell -.037 -.028 -.059 .022 .045
Dante Bichette -.033 -.023 .006 -.051 .059
Craig Biggio .076 .031 -.101 -.051 -.023
Jeff Blauser -.038 -.073 -.019 .049 -.005
Wade Boggs .045 .095 .019 .060 -.087
Barry Bonds -.007 .014 .036 .001 -.006
Bobby Bonilla .035 .029 -.053 -.023 -.093
Jay Buhner -.123 .006 .010 -.042 -.098
Ellis Burks -.003 -.011 -.097 -.107 .013
Ken Caminiti -.007 -.097 -.043 -.045 -.022
Jose Canseco -.003 .021 .034 -.051 -.007
Joe Carter .051 -.088 -.055 .008 -.078
Will Clark -.038 .096 .017 .055 .035
Chili Davis .015 .010 -.044 .004 -.069
Delino DeShields .040 .032 .070 .017 .020
Mariano Duncan -.183 -.097 -.020 .033 .015
Shawon Dunston -.038 .047 -.073 .056 .029
Cecil Fielder -.135 -.046 -.027 -.030 .066
Steve Finley .084 .051 -.044 .043 -.003
Travis Fryman -.033 -.052 .083 .025 -.032
Gary Gaetti .008 .009 .065 .033 -.033

As you can see, it's very unusual for a player to hit better against the same side every year. Most players bounce back and forth. Even Alomar, who hit righties better every year, had a swing in his differential from 92 points to 23 points to 117 points in 1995-7. And it reversed in 1998 -- he hit lefties 40 points better that year. We also looked at some well-known pitchers and found the same pattern.

You could look at these numbers and conclude that each player's ability to hit left and right handers was changing significantly from year to year. Or you could conclude that their ability isn't changing all that much, but their results are quite volatile because of the small sample sizes. In our view, left/right splits are inherently volatile, and we think it would make for a very unrealistic game if Diamond Mind was to have more certainty in these splits than is true in real life.

3 Why do some relief pitchers seem to produce ERAs that are a long way off their real ERA?

We've found that it takes 10 or more full seasons for the luck to be squeezed out for everyday players and starting pitchers. In other words, if you run ten season replays and average the results, the Diamond Mind stats are an almost exact match for the real-life stats, even though some of the individual seasons are a little high or a little low.

But 10 full seasons for a relief pitcher involves only 2-3 seasons worth of innings for a starter. That means relief pitching stats are going to be a lot more volatile just because of limited playing time. An extra pair of three-run homers over the course of a season will add almost a full run to the ERA of a reliever who pitches only 60 innings per year.

4 One good check for the accuracy of a baseball simulation is to play a season with all-stars (say, drafting a 14 team league into 8 teams). The league averages should be the same as the actual league -- the improvement of the hitters should be balanced by the improvement of the pitchers. Do you agree?

We don't agree with this. Offense is cumulative, and if you take away the easy outs, scoring is going to increase. We believe the effect of using elite hitters, especially when you can create killer platoons for games that use actual left/right stats, can overpower the pitchers.

An 8-team league drawn from a 14-team population is going to use a little more than half of the players. In other words, it's going to use the players who are at the league average or better at what they do, plus a few others who are slightly below average. However, these slightly below average players are going to be the utility players and middle relievers on these elite teams, so they're not going to have much of an impact.

The best pitchers typically have an ERA of about a run and a half below the league average. Every once in a blue moon, someone like Greg Maddux comes along and posts an ERA that's 2.5 runs below the league average. So, if every pitcher in the league was able to pitch like Greg Maddux, the league ERA would drop by two and a half runs. And if we used a mere mortal as our best pitcher example, the decrease would be only about one and a half runs.

To keep the focus on runs, we'll evaluate hitters using runs created. The best hitters in a given season typically create 10 or more runs per game. To use the extreme case, if every player in the league hit like Frank Thomas in his prime, the league ERA would go up by over five runs.

Focusing on the one best pitcher and the one best hitter implies that there might be an upward bias on scoring, but it doesn't answer the question completely. What we need to know is whether choosing the 90 best pitchers (about 11 per team) and the 110 best hitters (about 14 per team) from a 14-team league is going to keep the league ERA the same.

We designed a small study based on the 1995 AL. We chose a group of hitters and pitchers that would meet two tests. The first was that the group must account for enough playing time to complete a 144-game season. We didn't want a collection of guys who batted .400 in twenty plate appearances or posted a 2.25 ERA in fifteen innings. The second was that we wanted to pick the best players based on runs created per game and ERA.

The top 110 hitters represented 39814 AB, and we needed 39727 to match 8/14 of the total from the full 1995 AL. These players, as a group, created 6.37 runs per game, which is 1.31 runs per game over the league average of 5.06 runs per game per team. The top 90 pitchers represented 10302 innings pitched, and we needed 10272 to match 8/14 of the total from from the full 1995 AL season. These players had a collective ERA of 3.96, which was 0.75 below the league average of 4.71.

So there does seem to be a bias toward more runs when you choose 8 teams of players from a pool of 14. The batters were 1.31 runs above average and the pitchers were .75 earned runs (or about 0.81 total runs) better than average.

We believe scoring also rises due to the ability to create strong platoons. We looked for the right fielders who we would expect to see starting at this position in an 8-team draft league. We figured that Salmon, O'Neill, Puckett, Ramirez, Sierra, and Buhner would play every day. But there's really no dropoff for the last two teams when you figure that one can use a platoon of O'Leary (.320/.362/.527 vsRHP) and Devereaux (.308/.353/.477 vsLHP) and the other could go with Green (.296/.338/.533 vs RHP) and Mieske (.306/.370/.587 vs LHP). There are enough roster spots available for teams to create strong platoons at a couple of positions when the top everyday players are taken. It's much harder, if not impossible, to do this when putting together a pitching staff.

Finally, offense is a cumulative thing. If there are a few weak hitters sprinkled throughout the lineup, much of the offensive contribution of the good hitters is wasted. A pitcher facing an ordinary lineup can scatter nine hits and three walks and give up only one run, because there are enough outs to end rallies before the hits and walks add up to runs. Take the easy outs away and you'll see more runs, and we believe the scoring will increase faster than the underlying stats because of the positive effect of bunching them together.

Our conclusion from this analysis is that creating talent-rich leagues creates at least these three forces that increase scoring. We would not expect the league ERA to remain constant, so we reject the premise that a simulation is better if it maintains the ERA under these circumstances.

4 Computer Manager

1 I'm trying to autoplay the 1997 season, but the computer manager won't fill in the starting lineups for me. What's going on?

This is happening because you're using the automatic transactions and saved lineups feature and have moved some players to new teams.

The 1997-2003 season disks ship with the automatic transactions and saved lineups feature turned on. In that mode, the game continually updates the status of players who were involved in trades, DL moves, and other roster moves, as the season progresses. And it uses the actual game-by-game lineups used in real life. For all this to work, it's essential that the team rosters, the transaction stream, and the saved lineups be in synch with one another.

If you make roster moves of your own, you break the links between the roster, the transaction file and the saved lineups. It's not a problem to make roster moves on your own, it just means that you need to turn off the transaction processing and saved lineups feature. To do so, choose Organize/League/Modify and change the Play mode field to "No transactions". If you do this for both leagues, the computer manager will choose the lineups for you.

2 Why does the computer manager sometimes bring in the closer in a non-save situation?

We've studied how real-life closers are used in real-life and were surprised to learn that they all get 10-15 appearances per year in non-save situations. Sometimes it's because the bullpen has been under a heavy load and nobody else is available, sometimes it's a tie game in extra innings, and sometimes they work an inning just because they haven't pitched in a few days and they need to stay sharp.

3 I set Limit Bench Playing Time to yes and let the computer do an auto manager profile on all the teams. Why were there a couple of players who got a lot more AB in my league than they did in real life?

The Limit *Bench* Playing Time option affects only those guys who are on the bench. The starting lineups and spot start percentages override this option.

For real-life rosters and auto-generated manager profiles, it works very well without any intervention, because the manager profiles are generated in such a way as to make sure the guys who didn't play much are not listed in the starting lineups.

If you automatically generate a manager profile for a newly-drafted team, chances are there are going to be some positions where you have more real-life playing time than you need and some positions where you have less than you need. Sometimes a player ends up in a more active role than he had in real life, and his playing time goes up accordingly.

To keep these guys down to their real-life atbats, make sure to do two things. First, make sure they're not in the starting lineup. Second, make sure their role in the depth chart doesn't force them into the lineup. A utility player with a spot start percentage greater than zero will get those starts even with the limitation system turned on. And a guy whose listed as the #1 utility player at a position is going to play when the starter is unavailable because he's injured or starting at another position.

So, for newly drafted rosters, it's important that you take the time to fine tune the profiles. Generating them first will save you a lot of keystrokes, but it doesn't eliminate the need to look at each one and make adjustments to get the results you want.

We hope to find a way to make the generation of manager profiles for newly-drafted teams better in the future. But it's not easy to know what you had in mind when you drafted a player (start him at his natural position, start him at another rated position, make him a utility player, platoon him), so there will always be limits on how much we can do.

4 If I indicate that a hitter should not be removed for a pinch-hitter, does this restriction apply to blowout situations?

If you choose this setting, you can prevent the computer manager from removing this player for a pinch hitter in all game situations except blowouts. In a blowout situation, the game ignores the "no" under the batter options.

5 I set my pitching rotation from the manager profile, but when I try to run a game and let the computer manage, the computer keeps picking my 3rd starter instead of my 1st as the opening day starter. Why is this happening?

One thing to check is the usage mode you chose for the pitching portion of the manager profile. If you chose Time mode, the computer manager (CM) will choose starting pitchers with the goal of giving every pitcher the right number of starts over the course of the season, and will ignore your rotation in favor of choosing the pitcher with the most real-life starts to open the season. After that, the CM will pick starters based on who most needs to start to stay on track to match his real-life number of GS. If you change the usage mode to Strict or Skip and you'll find your #1 starter gets the nod on opening day, and the rotation will guide the CM's selections of starting pitchers after that.

A second thing to check is whether you're playing with real-life transactions turned on. If so, the CM will choose whatever pitcher started that game in real life.

6 How can I decide which mode to select in my manager profiles?

If you're doing a detailed season replay using using real-life rosters and schedules, your best choices are Time (for pitchers) and TrackStarts (for batters). These modes ensure that every player gets the right number of starts (and relief appearances) during your season and will match real-life playing time as closely as possible.

These modes are not appropriate, however, for leagues where you've moved players around, because most teams won't have players who totalled exactly 154 or 162 starts at every position. For leagues such as this, you're better off choosing the Strict or Skip mode for pitchers and the GameByGame mode for batters. You can then use your rotations, relief roles, starting lineups and depth charts to allocate playing time the way you want.

7 Why does the computer manager sometimes allow the pitcher to bat for himself even when trailing in the late innings?

This can happen occasionally when you have the "Limit Bench Playing Time" option turned on, putting the computer manager (CM) in the difficult position of having to strive for multiple goals that aren't always compatible.

One role of the CM is to make good decisions in specific game situations. When the playing time limits are in effect, it has another duty -- to make sure that bench players don't get used too much. Sometimes it wants to bring in a pinch hitter but finds that it can't because all available pinch hitters are ahead of their playing time pace. Or that all relievers are either used, tired or ahead of their playing time pace, in which case it can't remove the current pitcher because there's nobody to take over if the game continues beyond the ninth inning. On some rare occasions, it sees that the pitcher is actually a better hitter than any of the available pinch hitters, so it leaves the pitcher in to bat for himself.

One thing you could try is turning off the Limit Bench Playing Time option for your league (via Organize/League/Modify). You run the risk of having some bench players get used too much, especially for teams that have a guy who batted .350 in 20 AB in real life but might get 120 AB if his playing time wasn't limited. In these cases, you might want to put the offending players on the reserve roster for part of the season and limit their playing time that way.

In short, it's a problem that we don't have a complete answer for. If we let the CM hit for pitchers in these situations, some guys will play too much and have an unreasonable impact on the outcome of the season. If we don't, we look stupid. We haven't yet figured out how to accomplish both at the same time.

This is one of the reasons we developed our series of Projection Disks. Because our projections are based on 3 years of playing time, we don't end up with guys with unrealistically good hitting stats based on limited appearances. So there's no reason to use the Limit Bench Playing Time option. The computer manager is free to use anyone as a PH whenever needed.

8 I drafted all new rosters for my league, and some players aren't being used the way I expect. Why not?

If you don't take the time to generate a manager profile for each team, you're depriving the computer manager of essential information that it needs to make good decisions. Most teams with newly-drafted rosters have some players that need to play a different role than they did in real life. After all, their real-life roles were dictated by the skills of their teammates and the views of their managers. Put the same players on a new team and a new manager and you're likely to see some role changes.

The computer manager cannot read your mind. If you have more than one player for a given role, you probably had an idea of which player to move to another role when you drafted that player. But the computer manager doesn't know what those intentions are unless and until you "tell" it by generating a manager profile and using the manager profile commands to assign the roles you want.

9 I've noticed that the pitcher is usually pulled after giving up four or five runs even if he is a star. Why is that?

This is mostly true, though there are some other factors involved. Better pitchers are given more leeway than weaker pitchers. The computer manager isn't as quick to change pitchers in a blowout as it is in a close game. Big innings are tolerated to a larger degree in the early innings than in the later innings. Pitchers approaching their fatigue limits are given fewer opportunities to work out of jams. If the scheduled hitter or hitters aren't very good, the current pitcher will be left in a little longer.

The computer manager looks at the number of runs allowed and the run-scoring potential of the game situation. One guy might be pulled after allowing four runs if the bases are loaded with none out, while another guy is left in after allowing four runs because the bases are empty with two out.

5 Ratings for Players, Parks, etc

1 Catcher range -- does it in any way reflect the catcher's ability to handle a pitching staff or is it strictly a range rating?

The catcher range rating affects only those (relatively few) plays on which the catcher's defense is tested on a batted ball. Generally speaking, this means bunts and dribblers in front of the plate. They don't happen very often, so catcher range is not a major factor in the game. There is currently no rating in the game for the catcher's ability to handle a pitching staff.

2 What is better to have on the field -- a Fr range, 90 error rating or a Vg range, 115 error rating?

You're usually better off with the guy with better range unless there's a huge difference in the error ratings. A typical full-time player has more than 500 balls hit into his zone per year, and the top fielders will make 30-40 more plays than the average fielder. Because the average fielder makes anywhere from 6 to 20 errors per full-time season, depending on the position, it takes a very large advantage in error rating (or fielding percentage) to make up for a significant deficiency in range.

3 I modified the batting stats for a player but it didn't seem to have any affect on his performance. Why not?

We designed the game to allow you to change the statistics without affecting his performance. To change performance, you must choose Player/Modify/Event. Doing so will cause his event table (which determines how well he bats or pitches) to be modified and will cause his stats for display purposes to be changed as well.

But you can also change his display stats without affecting his performance by choosing Player/Modify/Bstats. Why? To give you the opportunity to create an event table based on stats other than those used for reporting purposes.

If a player went 3 for 4 with a homer, and you enter these numbers when creating the player, he'll be rated as a phenomenal hitter (not a .750 hitter, but better than any other player in baseball). Suppose you know that he's been a career .270 hitter, and you want him to perform that way. You could use player creation or modification to create an event table by entering fictitious stats -- 100 AB, 27 hits, and suitable numbers in the other categories. He's now rated to hit at about .270. You can now use Modify/Bstats to change his numbers back to 3 for 4 with a homer. That way, you get the best of both worlds -- real-life numbers for display and reporting, and the opportunity to control how he performs in the game.

4 How does Steve Finley get a stolen base rating of Av when he has a 75% steal percentage and the league average is 70%? What are the criteria?

We don't use raw stolen base percentages in our ratings. We break them down between steals of second and steals of third (e.g. the success rate in 1995 was 5% higher on steals of third), steals on grass and on turf (e.g. the success rate in 1995 was 4% higher on turf), and we remove any SB where the guy was the trailing runner on a double steal (because the focus of the play wasn't on him).
Of his 36 SB, he loses one because of the trailing runner adjustment. Ten of the other 35 were steals of third and 13 were on turf. After all of these factors are considered, he's still above average, but he's just a tiny bit below the threshold where we give the Vg rating.

5 How much does a player need to play to earn a rating at a defensive position?

The minimum qualifications are very low. A player usually earns a rating if he starts one or more games at a position, if he plays more than a few innings there, or if he plays at all and has a history of playing that position in recent seasons.

We generally decline to rate a player at a position only when assigning a rating would allow him to play a more demanding position than he has demonstrated the ability to play. In 1997, for example, Edgar Martinez played 1/3 of an inning at 3B, and while he had been a regular 3B in the past, it had been several years, and there was no reason to believe that he can still play the position. (If he could, the Mariners would have used him there.) So we didn't rate him as a 3B that year.

6 I made large changes to the wall height and distances for a park, but it didn't seem to affect the number of homeruns. Why not?

It's the statistical park factors that control the rates of singles, doubles, triples and homers for the park. The wall heights and distances are used by the game to determine where in the park these events occur. If you don't change the factors, but you do move the left field wall in and the right field wall out, you should see more homers to left and fewer to right.

This is the only way we know of to maintain statistical accuracy. There are a lot of things that affect offense in a park -- the physical configuration, prevailing winds, altitude, temperature, quality of the hitting background, and so on. These things interact to a degree that makes it difficult, if not impossible, how much to increase homers if you bring in a fence by ten feet and cut the height in half. So we continue to rely on the statistical factors to establish the offensive parameters for the park.

6 Statistics and Reports

1 Is it possible to print out multiple boxscores on one sheet of paper?

The game doesn't have any features that directly support the ability to print multiple boxscores on a single page, but you might be able to do it another way.

Save your boxscores to files, open those files in any word processor, cut and paste them into a document, and use any formatting approach you like to make it fit your page. We frequently do this when we're testing the game -- load boxes into MSWord, choose a small font, use multiple columns, and so on.

7 Setting Up and Running Leagues

1 Our draft league uses players from both leagues. Does that mean we should use the Neutral Era for league play?

The neutral era represents the 20th century average in several ways ... overall level of offense, composition of offense (rates of doubles, triples, homers), pitcher durability, and error rates at each position. There's nothing wrong with using the neutral era for your league...some people do this just because they don't like the offensive explosion we've seen in the past few years.

But there's no need to use the neutral era just because you're using players from both the AL and NL. After removing pitcher hitting stats from the NL, the AL and NL stats have been virtually identical almost every season in recent memory. That means your league can use either the NL era or AL era from the current season and get essentially the same results, because Diamond Mind automatically adjusts for the effects of the DH.

If you use the Neutral Era instead of the "2003 A" or "2003 N" era, you'll get less offense, fewer homers, more complete games, and more errors. In short, you'll get "20th century average" baseball instead of 2003 baseball.

2 Even though the Injury rule is on the league options form, I cannot change it. Why not?

You must have the Play Mode for your league set to either "Use transactions" or "Use trans&lineups". In these modes, the game applies real-life transactions on the dates they occurred. That means the game takes care of putting players on the DL and removing them from the DL on the appropriate dates. When in this mode, we turn off the game's injury system, since things would get out of synch very quickly if the game was generating its own injuries. (Especially if you're using the real-life game-by-game lineups).

If you change the Play Mode to "No transactions", you will be able to choose an injury setting that will cause the game to generate its own injuries, and the game will no longer use the real-life transactions and game-by-game lineups.

8 Creating New Season Disks

1 Can you explain the role of the pitcher's ground ball percentage a little more? I'm not sure what to do with it when creating new pitchers.

The event table captures the ground ball tendency for both batters and pitchers. When we create a modern season disk (1978-present), we use play-by-play data to learn the ground ball tendencies for all batters and pitchers, and the programs we use for building the event tables reflect that information.

So, for any of our Deluxe seasons, the GB% reflects the same information that was used to create the event table values, and so is a meaningful indicator of the pitcher's performance in this regard. 

(By the way, several studies have shown that pitchers don't produce more ground balls in DP situations. So the idea that the typical pitcher can change his technique in DP situations is a myth, though there may be some extremely talented pitchers who can do this.)

If you create players on your own, you generally don't have access to good fb/gb information, so your pitchers will all be rated to produce GB at the league average rate. Hitters, on the other hand, often have GDP numbers, so we can use this to rate him for his GDP tendency in the event tables.

If you simply alter a pitcher's ground ball percentage, it makes no difference. That number is for reporting purposes only.

2 If I create players with straight statistics, no righty-lefty batting or pitching input, and use them in the 2003 season, will they display normal lefty-righty performance?

Yes. If you create the players with the Overall option, the game automatically creates a standard left/right adjustment that's based on a multi-year study of left/right stats that we did a few years ago. The gap is about 20 batting average points and about double that for slugging.

3 If I enter GDP and SF stats where known, and 0 for unknown, will I get realistic game stats for the ones with 0, or do I have to "invent a number" for the unknowns?

When you enter data, you must enter real or estimated values for all fields with an asterisk. These fields are used as inputs to the formulas, and zeroes in these fields are interpreted as zero, not as "missing data that must be estimated". The fields without asterisks are for reporting purposes only and can be left as zero.

4 I'm attempting to create some eras, and I need to know how the HBP rate is figured.

There are two important things you need to know:

The HBP rate and the other rates in that column are automatically computed when you click on the button, provided you've already entered the stats for the era. If you're creating an era for a real-life major league season, you can count on those generated values to provide good results.

If you're creating an era for something other than a real-life season (such as for a minor league, for example), we recommend entering the stats and then generating the rates. After this is done, if you want to move the rate of HBP up or down, you can then enter a different value for the HBP rate. But there's no concrete formula that says "if you put this number in the HBP rate field, you'll get that many HBP per 1000 BF."

If you're planning to use the newly-created era for playing out a season, you can try autoplaying some seasons, see how the HBP stats come out, and then nudge the HBP rate up or down a little to get the number of HBP where you want it.

9 Official Rules of Baseball

1 In a recent game, the starting pitcher was ejected after three innings with a 4-0 lead. The next pitcher completed two innings and held the lead, but the win was given to the third pitcher. Shouldn't the second pitcher have been given the win?

According to the official rules of baseball, the winning pitcher in this situation is the reliever who is judged by the official scorer to have been the most effective. In your game, the last pitcher had three scoreless innings, while the second one allowed a run in two innings. That's why the game's "official scorer" gave the win to the third pitcher.

This question comes up several times a year, and it's clear that a lot of people feel that the win is supposed to go to the second pitcher automatically if the lead is held. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but the official rules are quite clear about it being a judgment call.

So Diamond Mind Baseball looks at the performances of each pitcher and gives the win to the most effective reliever, even if that means giving the win to the last pitcher and thereby depriving him of a save. There's nothing in the rule book that says "give the win to someone else if the last pitcher is entitled to a save as well."

2 Do pick-offs count as caught stealing?

Only if the runner breaks for the next base on the play.

11 Future Features

1 Can I compile lifetime stats on my teams and players?

Yes. Starting in version 9, our encyclopedia feature allows you to compile lifetime stats for players.

3 Does the game have a career mode that creates rookies and ages players?

Sorry, there's no career mode built into the game. We approach this issue in a different way. Each year, in December, we come out with a new player disk that updates the ratings and stats for every player who appeared in the big leagues that season. And we release a projection disk in the spring that rates players, including some prospects who haven't yet reached the majors, based on their last three years' performance in the majors and minors. So there are plenty of options for following a player's career as it progresses even though the game doesn't generate fictional players (rookies) or performances (veterans).

4 Version 9 can automatically apply real-life transactions as the season progresses. Will Diamond Mind be supplying transaction logs for its season disks, or do we have to type them in ourselves?

We have compiled all of the real-life transactions and game-by-game starting lineups for our current past seasons since 1997 and have added them to most of our Deluxe Past Seasons.

If you are using a season disk that we have not yet updated, you can enter the real-life transactions and game-by-game lineups as you progress through your season replay. This information would then be available if you wanted to play that season again (either manually or in autoplay mode).

Last Edited By: dmbadmin 01/12/17 03:07 PM. Edited 3 times.