7. Manager Settings – this section reviews the various settings you can control in the Manager’s Center.
a. Team Managerial Style
i. Hit and Run – self-explanatory; how frequently do you want to use this tactic? I have no idea exactly what each setting corresponds to, but in general I use higher settings when I have fast players and contact hitters, lower settings when I have slower players and power hitters. One thing to note – if you set this to anything but zero, you will occasionally have players attempt stolen bases (and get thrown out) even if you have set their individual SB setting (explained below) to zero. Think of this as a hit and run play in which the batter swung and missed, and the runner was gunned down.
ii. Base running aggressiveness – how often do you want runners to try for the extra base? This setting does not (to the best of my knowledge) affect stolen base frequency at all.
iii. Intentional walks – self-explanatory.
iv. PH/PR/Double switch – how frequently do you want to use these maneuvers? Note that under “advanced settings” in the lineup section you can specify if there are certain players you do NOT want to pinch hit/run for (see below).
v. Defensive subs and player rest settings – Under what game conditions do you want Sparky to insert players for defensive purposes or give your starters a rest?
vi. Use mop-up only when losing – If checked, Sparky will reserve any mop up pitchers for situations when you are losing. HOWEVER this is one of the first instructions Sparky will override if circumstances require it. For example, if Sparky needs a reliever when you are winning, and there are no other rested, available pitchers, he will use a rested mop up before anyone else. (See this thread for a more complete explanation of how Sparky makes bullpen decisions. If you ever see a situation when a mop up was used inappropriately, it is always because of this scenario. Contrary to the occasional rant in these forums, Sparky does not override this instruction if other rested pitchers are available.)
vii. Use closer in save situations only. Also self-explanatory. However, as with the mop-up instruction above, this is one of the first things Sparky will override if no other pitchers are rested and available.
b. Advanced Settings for hitters (in the lineup section)
i. Sac bunt – self-explanatory; how frequently do you want this player to sacrifice?
ii. Base stealing – how frequently do you want this player to attempt to steal a base? What often confuses newbies here is that they don’t realize that a “3” means “let this player attempt to steal about as often as he did in real life.” A “5” means “steal much more frequently.” So if you take someone like Vince Coleman or Rickey Henderson in one of their 100 SB seasons and set them to 5, they are going to attempt to steal almost every single time the next base is unoccupied – including third base and even home. I see owners get frustrated when guys get thrown out stealing home…but realize that if you set one of these guys to 5 that is exactly what you are instructing Sparky to do.
iii. PH/PR – Check these boxes if you want Sparky to be able to pinch hit (or pinch run) for this player. If you uncheck them, Sparky will never pinch hit (or pinch run) for this player. Note that these boxes do NOT indicate that you want to use this player as a pinch hitter or pinch runner. You can specify which players you want to use as pinch hitters under Player Hierarchies (see below). You can’t specific which players you want to use as pinch runners.
iv. Def Rep – Check this box if it is OK for Sparky to replace this player with a better defensive player (under the game conditions that you specified under Team Managerial Style above). If you uncheck the box, Sparky will never remove this player for defensive purposes.
v. Allow rest – Check this box if it is OK for Sparky to remove this player from the game under the game conditions you specified above (ie winning or losing by some number of runs late in the game).
vi. Autorest – Very important setting. Prior to every game, Sparky checks to see if the player’s fatigue number is below this setting. If it is, that player will be removed from the lineup, and the next player listed in the Player Rest Hierarchies (below) will be used instead. There is much debate among WIS owners as to the right settings to use here. It appears that low levels of fatigue really do not hamper performance very much, so some owners are comfortable letting players continue to play at 95, 90, or even lower.
c. Player Hierarchies – there are three tabs here, and it’s important to understand how they work
i. Player rest – when one of the players in your lineup has to be removed (either because of fatigue, injury, ejection, or because your player rest settings have been met), Sparky will use this list to replace the player. He will go in order until he finds an available player. If no one on the list is available, then your original player will stay in the game (unless he was injured or ejected, in which case Sparky will just put some other player from the bench into the game). I find it essential to review my hierarchies several times each season, especially if I am calling up AAA players, waiving players, or making trades.
ii. Defensive replacement – works just like the player rest hierarchy, but here Sparky is choosing who he will send in to replace your original player for defensive purposes. Sparky will occasionally move players around…for example, send in a new LF, but move the old LF to 1B if that move improves defense at 1B.
iii. Pinch hitting – pretty self-explanatory.
d. Advanced Settings for Pitchers (under Pitching Staff). A complete discussion of how Sparky manages a pitching staff is beyond the scope of what we’re trying to cover here. See this thread for a detailed discussion of bullpen roles, what they mean, and how the WIS algorithm makes decisions around bullpen usage.
i. Relief – you must check this box if you want this pitcher to be used as a reliever. Particularly important here to decide if you want Sparky to be able to use your starting pitchers as relievers if necessary.
ii. Autorest – works the same as for hitters. If the pitcher’s fatigue is below this number, Sparky won’t use him (if he’s an SP, Sparky will skip his turn in the rotation unless there are no other rested SPs available).
iii. Inn Avail – Works hand-in-hand with the “relief” box. Here is where you tell Sparky the earliest that you want this pitcher to be brought into the game. Sparky interprets this very literally. If you put a 7 here, then Sparky will not bring that pitcher into the game before the 7th inning. In particular, Sparky will – if necessary – use a mop up pitcher rather than bring someone in earlier than you have instructed.
iv. TPC (Target Pitch Count) – tell Sparky the ideal number of pitches you want this pitcher to throw in each appearance. There is a very good thread here to help you decide what TPC to use. Note that Sparky will let the pitcher throw more or fewer pitches than this under certain circumstances:
1. Pitcher is getting shelled – he may be pulled before reaching his TPC
2. Pitcher gets pinch hit/run for – he may be pulled before reaching his TPC
3. There are no rested, available pitchers to relieve – he will be left in beyond his TPC
4. He is an SP and has a no-hitter going late in the game, he may be left in beyond his TPC.
5. Also note that Sparky will not pull a pitcher in the middle of an at bat. So if you set a TPC = 20, and your pitcher has thrown 18 pitches, Sparky will let him face the next batter. So he may end up throwing more than 20 pitches when all is said and done.
v. MPC (Max Pitch Count) – tell Sparky the absolute maximum number of pitches you want this pitcher to throw. When the pitcher reaches this number, he will be removed from the game (again, not during the middle of an at bat). If you set MPC = none, the pitcher will throw up to 255 pitches if necessary.
vi. Call bullpen – how quick of a “hook” do you want Sparky to use with this pitcher when he gets into trouble. Again, I don’t know the precise demarcations from one setting to the next, but in general, Sparky will let a “1” continue to pitch and will pull a “5” very quickly.