Developer Chat

Hardball Dynasty


Friday, July 21, 2006

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST

The LIVE portion of this chat will begin on

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 3:00 PM EST.

Welcome to the first post-launch HBD developer chat. It's been a busy 90 days since we first released HBD. Now that everyone has had time to play a bit, I'd like to field some questions. Before we start, we want you to know that pitching fatigue, draft settings and rookie league roster enforcement are currently being worked on. Now -- onto the questions...

I am going to need to free up minor league roster spots at the end of the season to allow room for the rookies that I will be drafting next year. Do I need to release the dead weight before the end of this season to avoid paying their salaries for next year, or will I have a chance to do that in between seasons? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:01 PM)

Some players at the lower levels will retire, so that alone should free up quite a few roster spots (assuming you have some lousy players at the lower levels). So, I wouldn't cut players now since most of these salaries are so low they won't have much of an impact on your player payroll for season 2 and beyond.

I like the idea of doing the draft round by round. Why can't we have the draft over 3 weeks? Is there any reason? You can pre-select your picks for each round and you have a time limit on each pick. This is how we do it in fantasy football and it works fine. (jakurus - Hall of Famer - 3:02 PM)

While a small portion of our user base would enjoy this, it would be way too much for most of our users. Plus, we need the draft to be quick since the rookie season starts shortly after the draft is completed and most picks sign quickly. We'll definitely be making some improvements to the draft for season 2.

I'm playing a SS out of position at 2nd. base. Will he next season be listed as SS/2nd. ? (mrploppie - Hall of Famer - 3:03 PM)

Not unless you change his listed position. Just like in the bigs, you can change a player's listed position via the Player Settings page. Click on his position on that page, and you can change his listed positions as well as ask your fielding coordinator for advice on where he should be playing. Eventually, we'll also have your fielding coach send correspondence recommending position changes (especially for some of those lousy catchers at the lower levels!)

Can we please get a Tandem 5A/5B slot so we can use a couple regular starters and a couple tandem starters in the minors without killing the regular starters by pitching them on 3 day rest? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:05 PM)

Adding a 5th tandem spot is more of a band-aid over a more important problem which is pitching fatigue at the lower levels. The fun of running the minor leagues should be picking which players to promote and overviewing performance; it should definitely not be switching guys to and from the inactive list in order to deal with an entire staff in the red. Pitching fatigue is our #1 priority right now and will see some changes in the future. We have tons of data across the board that tell us it needs to be addressed in a major way.

Stamina Issues are not a part of real baseball. A starter pitches every 5 days is!! Why have you made stamina such an issue in this game??? The Minor Leagues are totally out of hand because of the stamina issues. Such a good part of the game is most likely being ignored by most users because they've given up because of stamina. Submitted with great respect for the game you've created....7Yankees7 (7Yankees7 - Hall of Famer - 3:06 PM)

We couldn't agree more! See the previous response.

It sounds like different owners have wildly different expectations regarding fatigue at different levels in HBD. Can you explain in general terms what owners should expect to do to manage fatigue at each level (tandem starters, swapping between active/inactive)? (zlionsfan - Hall of Famer - 3:08 PM)

Similar question as the previous two. Based on the stamina levels for the majority of the pitchers at rookie ball, low A, high A and sometimes even Double-A, it's almost impossible to maintain a predominantly healthy staff without having 15 pitchers on a roster. That's not what we wanted, so we will be making changes to avoid this. We want it to reflect modern professional baseball. There will still be shuffling to and from the inactive list, but it will be an appropriate amount handled by the AI. Also, pitchers, even at Low-A, should be able to go every 5th day. Currently, these guys are few and far between.

It seems as though there is a lot of confusion in the forums about different aspects of HBD, especially those that are different than the MLB sim. I think some of this confusion could be addressed with the FAQ: can you give us an update on that? (zlionsfan - Hall of Famer - 3:09 PM)

We're still buiding the FAQ and tour. We will release them together. We're estimating mid-August.

Regarding international prospects/free agents: Will our season one unsigned draft picks and international prospects be available to us during season 2 to sign with our new budget $s? (dmurphy104 - Hall of Famer - 3:11 PM)

Unsigned amateur draft prospects will either return to college, start college, or become free-agents. Unsigned international prospects will either return to their home country or continue to look for work in the states.

Does age have anything to do with performance? I have a pitcher with awesome numbers all around, the only thing against him is his age and experience. Is this a factor? (jfja76 - Hall of Famer - 3:12 PM)

Age definitely plays a role, but it's already incorporated in the ratings. As players age, their skills diminish and their chance of injury increases.

can we expect HBD to address the issue of owners signing players over their salary cap or is this practice considered part of the game strategy? (mase4342 - Hall of Famer - 3:14 PM)

As far as we know, the initial batch of worlds (first 70) could go over their player payroll only 1 way and that was if their arbitration losses put them over. We've since corrected that. If arbitration losses put them over the cap now, it raises their player payroll and removes money from their other budgets. If you know of another way, please contact customer support with the details!

Will there be off season improvement? At initial glance across 3 worlds, it seems the overall in season improvements arent enough to get players near their projections. (dmurphy104 - Hall of Famer - 3:14 PM)

Player skill ratings develop during the season, and their raw skills develop in the offseason.

When will games be eligible for LIVE play (jaywil08 - Hall of Famer - 3:14 PM)

This is far off. We definitely want to do it, but it's going to be a while.

Are you planning to look at player generation? I have noticed for example that catchers are all good or great hitters. (baldric - Hall of Famer - 3:15 PM)

We've done lots of analysis on our player generation and are happy with the distribution. Each position is well represented by the variable player types we included. Defensive catchers, offensive catchers, all-around catchers, etc.

Please, can you provide some guidance on how to judge what level a prospect belongs? I feel like I am ruining my future by guessing at this. Do stats matter or just ratings? Age? Not overall I hope since that varies so much. Is my 22 year old all ML star not going to get better because he is in the ML too soon? (baldric - Hall of Famer - 3:17 PM)

Age and level are usually closely associated. Sometimes, players are so good they can jump levels and still perform. But if a player struggles at a level and he has been rushed, he will decline especially if his patience rating is low. Most prospects should start at rookie ball and spend 1 year at each level. Some need repeat seasons while others don't.

Do coaches ratings change from year to year? In other words, can a coach at rookie or AA level, for instance, improve during the off season and be groomed as a future major league coach or manager? (eh_zed - Veteran - 3:18 PM)

Coaches see their ratings change in the offseason, just like players. For coaches, it's more about age and job status.

Has any thought been given to a mechanism that would allow pitchers with starter durability to be turned relievers that can go more than once every 4 or 5 days? For instance, take a 25 DUR, 55 STA guy and over a few weeks in the bullpen he moves to 55/25. Not uncommon for starters to move to the pen in real life, and they don't just turn into long relief guys who pitch once a week. (AlCheez - Hall of Famer - 3:19 PM)

Yes, it's a feature we want to add in the future that ties in with pitching coaches and instructional leagues. Being able to convert a borderline starter into a dominant reliever, for instance, would be a cool addition to the game.

Is it true that Kyle Boon left behind an upper-decker in the WIS offices when he left? (bosoxbill - Hall of Famer - 3:20 PM)

I'm not sure. The cleaning crew chat is later tonight.

Are custom league settings ever a possibility? (jaywil08 - Hall of Famer - 3:21 PM)

As the game evolves, who knows what's possible. I could see this coming into play.

are streaks a hidden factor? i have a RP that was lights out for the first 40 games or so, but lately he hasn't gotten anyone out, with 100% energy and the same defense behind him (ianrmalcolm - Hall of Famer - 3:22 PM)

No. We don't have any streak code in the game. Any streak is just a byproduct of the probability and statistics used in the game.

I have a few pitchers in the minors with very low stamina (less than 20) with high durabilty and high health. Some of these pitchers have a recommended pitch count of over 100. Does durability play a bigger part in pitch count than stamina? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 3:25 PM)

Generally, a high pitch count like this means he hasn't pitched nearly as much as he could have. This is another reason why we want to adjust the current fatigue system.

How is it that some owners have been able to keep their staffs "in the gren" even using inactive slots sparingly? Is it just that those owners got better stamina/durability/pitchers at every single level? (zbrent716 - Hall of Famer - 3:27 PM)

It has to do with quality of the pitchers on the team. Stamina and durability are the two key ratings when it comes to workload. Some teams have more than others, whether they were originally assigned these players or acquired the players thru waivers or trades or signings depends.

Does more playing time lead to great attribute improvement for minor league players? Or is it strictly coaches (for the level they are at)? Also, if a player is playing at a higher level than they should not improve as much because they are "over their head"? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 3:27 PM)

Player development is based on makeup, coaching staff, playing time and performance.

What is the basica nature of the upcoming fatigue changes? Will you be altering the values of player ratings (give everyone 20 extra dur?), altering the engine, what? (bosoxbill - Hall of Famer - 3:28 PM)

It will involve rating adjustments and a new pitching fatigue system that is based on an equilibrium point as opposed to projections. We'll be very detailed in the change when we announce it.

Right now HBD seems very offense heavy, is this going to be changed at all? (jaywil08 - Hall of Famer - 3:29 PM)

The offense is directly tied to the fatigue problems. When we correct the fatigue issues, we believe the offense will calm down a bit.

What exactly will the trainer budget help with a team? Is is health, durability, and stamina? Other attributes? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 3:30 PM)

Training staff helps players prevent injuries. It keeps their health ratings up.

What are international FA (by definition Free Agents) treated like drafted players instead of FA (signing process, where $$ comes from, etc.)? Are there any plans to change this (after the pressing issues are dealt with) to better reflect reality? (zbrent716 - Hall of Famer - 3:33 PM)

Since most international player signings are prospects, it makes the most sense to group them together. It gives more importance to the prospect player payroll. Signings like Nomo and Johjima are the exception in terms of annual salary at the big league level.

If two teams end the season tied for a playoff spot, is there a one game playoff like in real baseball or does it use a tiebreaker formula? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:34 PM)

It uses the ordering system listed in the Playoff Page help section. It looks at several different items. There definitely is not a playoff game.

Are there ANY hidden factors in player performance? (bosoxbill - Hall of Famer - 3:35 PM)

No, all performance is based on the combination of current ratings.

How many "scrub" minor league players should we anticipate retiring from year to year? Is it going to be a substantial amount? (msngprsn23 - Hall of Famer - 3:35 PM)

It depends on the quality of the players per world, but most players that have played 3 or more years and haven't advanced past Lo-A, for example, will retire.

The budget issue where you have to guess in advance who much you spend on coaches and prospects and if you overshoot the money stays in limbo for the whole years seems problematic. I can see with scouting because that is a whole year process, but can prospect and coach money go back to the general fund if not used! (swamphawk22 - Hall of Famer - 3:37 PM)

We've already made a big improvement to the Budget Page. Prior to the day the budget is finalized, we now display how much the franchise has in player payroll, potential arbitration losses, departing free-agent salaries, and a reminder for other expenses (promotion costs, waiver claims, trades, etc.)

I love this game!!! How about the offense? I haven't had to rest a starter yet and we are 1/3 through the season. (renrog - Hall of Famer - 3:38 PM)

Position player fatigue is very different from pitcher fatigue. Most position players tire as the season wears on, so you may be suprised by late season fatigue problems if you haven't provided them with occasional rest during the season. Durability is the key rating.

Is it going to be common to see improvement past the age of 27 in HBD? (ka49s - All-Star - 3:39 PM)

While the advance scouting department views 27 as the peak age, some players take longer to peak. so, some players will continue to improve after the age of 27.

How about signing coachs to long term contracts. (mrploppie - Hall of Famer - 3:40 PM)

It's something we'll consider.

What are the chances of a player with low projections going way over these projections and become a good player? Example would be a low draft pick that destroys his projections. Or will a player never go much over his projections? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 3:40 PM)

There will be a very small percentage of players that have things "click" over the offseason and see improvement in their projected ratings.

Some players' overall ratings appear to be out of whack with their actual skill ratings. Why? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:42 PM)

If you have some examples, forward them to customer support so we can take a look. We're not aware of any discrepancies.

Can you explain a little more about the relationship between the number of pitches a pitcher has and the quality of his pitches. (swamphawk22 - Hall of Famer - 3:45 PM)

A pitcher with 3 80-rated pitches has an advantage over a pitcher with 2 80-rated pitches. It depends on the quality of pitches. A guy with a dominant #1 pitch and two average secondary pitches will be better than a guy with 3 average pitches. It works like how you'd expect. A guy who continues to include a very weak pitch will give up the homer more often. A good pitching coach will get that guy to drop the weak pitch, making him a better pitcher. This typically occurs in the offseason.

Are you satisfied with the balance between offense and pitching? It appears that the game may be skewed a bit too much towards the offensive end. Similarly, what about the number of errors being committed? This also seems high. Do you plan any adjustments? (professor17 - Hall of Famer - 3:47 PM)

Offense is too high due to pitching fatigue. Once pitching fatigue is resolved, we'll re-evaluate the offense-pitching balance. We'll be looking at overall fielding data soon. Good fielders are doing fine, but having an inadequate player at catcher or shortstop will definitely hurt a team.

Are there any plans to change the coach hiring process so it isn't so annoying? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:47 PM)

What's annoying about it? Send it a ticket with suggestions/complaints. We're aware some users don't like the fact you have to hire so many, if that's what you mean.

Alot of coaches got offered rediculous contracts. Next year, will they ask for a raise? (dlawilliams - All-Star - 3:48 PM)

No. Their demands will be based on their skill set and previous level/role.

Will the All-star games, home run derbies and future games be simmed in the future? (Indy_Indians - Hall of Famer - 3:48 PM)


Can you explain a little more in depth the "temper" rating and how it affects player performance and a prospects chances of "maxing out"? Or is it simply cosmetic? (eh_zed - Veteran - 3:50 PM)

Temper is used during games. Players with higher temper ratings will argue calls more often, charge the mound more often, etc. Eventually, it will also be used in clubhouse-type stuff. Like, my franchise didn't congratluate me on adopting a puppy or something Hillenbrandesque like that.

If there are no Sims what will happen to private leagues that have drop outs? (swamphawk22 - Hall of Famer - 3:51 PM)

Private worlds with open spots at the end of a season have a week to fill them up on their own. After that, they become an open world.

Wouldn't make sense to have pitchers' stamina be relatively at it's peak from the start? In real life, pitchers don't build THAT much stamina as they progress. It seems to me that player improvement should be more focused on honing pitches and effectiveness, with control and stamina being much less likely to make a 40-50 point jump. (brygold - Hall of Famer - 3:53 PM)

Pitcher stamina/durability is one of the most important factors in a pitcher's development. Going from HS or college to the pros is a big deal, because they aren't used to throwing that many pitches over the course of a season. However, we may have gone overboard and started pitchers off too low.

does arb. eligibility work the same way as MLB with regard to super-twos, such that the top 17% of players (byt service time) with 2+ years are arb-eligible? if so, how far off is a day clock instead of a year clock on the player card? (schedule1 - Hall of Famer - 3:54 PM)

We don't handle the super-2s at this point for the sake of simplicity. I've been told HBD is already a little too complicated/overwhelming.

for those of us in leagues with sitestaff, how can we pitch trades to them if their accounts don't accept sitemails? i have a big trade prop for norbert in ruth... (schedule1 - Hall of Famer - 3:55 PM)

No, sitestaff can no longer receive sitemail. He checks his teams, though.

Will players who created and filled a league get anything from WIS, like in the Baseball Sim? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 3:56 PM)

No, because the point of private worlds is simply to be able to compete with friends over time as opposed to creating an idea and filling a league like SLB.

I have acquired a couple players via trade that were having lousy seasons with their other team and got red hot when I picked them up. Is this random luck or does being traded affect a player's ability? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 3:57 PM)

This could be random luck, or the player could have improved. When a player is traded, his ratings are sometimes updated depending on how long it's been since his last ratings update.

If a player is called up for the roster expansion, does his option clock start ticking? Will he need to be added to the 40 man roster? (danmam - Hall of Famer - 4:00 PM)

In order for a player to be called up at expansion time, he still has to be placed on the 40-man roster. So, his option clock begins ticking.

how often do projected ratings change? i know they can change with an injury, but i haven't noticed any other in-season adjustments. (schedule1 - Hall of Famer - 4:01 PM)

It depends on many variables mentioned earlier in the chat. The further the player is from his peak, the more likely his ratings will improve during the season.

In real life, players not on the 40-man roster can still be traded after the trade deadline (and obviously don't need to clear waivers). Will this be incorporated into HBD (or is it already there)? (professor17 - Hall of Famer - 4:02 PM)

This was brought to our attention once, but wikipedia was the source. If you have a more established source, please contact customer support with the info. We haven't been able to find this anywhere else.

How about adding the overall rating to the waiver wire and free agent pages. You can save us a lot of clicking. (mrploppie - Hall of Famer - 4:04 PM)

We don't want to add overall rating to these pages because we don't want owners to rely strictly on these numbers. For acquisitions, we want the focus on individual ratings. Plus, it would slow the page loads significantly.

Can you get into details about what kind of changes will be implemented for the amateur draft next year? (danmam - Hall of Famer - 4:05 PM)

It hasn't been finalized yet, but we envision more round-by-round control including position, background, signability, etc.

Do we have an ETA on the pitching fatigue issues? (dlawilliams - All-Star - 4:05 PM)

7-10 days.

Why was the cash allowed in a trade "capped" at $5M? The veto system is a sufficient restraint on collusion (esp. w/ only 8 votes needed) and limited the cash involved simply restricts the moves that can be made by teams either shooting for a title or rebuilding for the future - the best part of a DYNASTY game. (zbrent716 - Hall of Famer - 4:06 PM)

Since the commish's office in real life can veto any trade with substantial cash involved, we wanted to simplify it. As a season progresses, more users pay less and less attention when out of the race and are less likely to veto. This auto-check eliminates potential lopsided trades from occuring.

In the draft reevaluation, is their any thought going into the fact that people who invested much more into one side (high school and/or college) and then drafted players that they did not scout nearly as well? (steamboat23 - Hall of Famer - 4:07 PM)

Yep. This occurred because a team that invested heavily in college scouting, for instance, had much more accurate ratings for the college players. The less accurate ratings for high school players sometimes exceeded the college ratings resulting in high school picks. We'll definitely improve this.

What do you expect to be more important in evaluating talent in year 5: ratings, or stats generated by playing time? (bosoxbill - Hall of Famer - 4:08 PM)

Always ratings, but stats always indicate how ratings play out. Most people are used to evaluting stats, not ratings, so they are very helpful.

if makeup influences improvement, is it already factored into projections? or is it independent of projections, indicating the likelihood that the player will attain them? (schedule1 - Hall of Famer - 4:09 PM)

It's independent. So a guy with 50 makeup has less chance of reaching his potential as a guy with 75 makeup.

Since trainer keeps help up, I am guessing the medical budget is helps/hurts how quickly a player comes back from being injured? Correct? Does medical or trainer have anything to do with how much a player declines in attributes when injured? (joemalaka - Hall of Famer - 4:10 PM)

Medical plays a role in recovery in terms of both time out and ratings.

Assuming accurate scouting, are a player's projected ratings an absolute best-case ceiling, or could they surpass those projected ratings with good coaching, good performance, etc.? For example, could a player with a true overall projected rating of 55 ever actually turn out to be a 70+ player? A diamond-in-the-rough, so to speak. (professor17 - Hall of Famer - 4:11 PM)

Most players, it's their peak. There will be some diamonds.

Are you planning to evaluate how many major-league-ready internationals you're introducing to each world? (bosoxbill - Hall of Famer - 4:11 PM)

Nope. If you're in one of the first two worlds, you've seen an onslaught since they were brought in late. In all subsequent worlds, you should see a few a week during the season. The targe is for each franchise to be able to sign about 5 international prospects.

You're the man, TZ, thanks for the info on many issues i was wondering about. Can i win my division now? (ianrmalcolm - Hall of Famer - 4:12 PM)

Not if I'm in it.

what about the ridiculously high number of errors at the minor league (and even big league level)? i could see why guys at these levels would make more - plays, but no way would there be guys on pace for 100+ errors. (bigyunit - Hall of Famer - 4:14 PM)

Errors are higher as you move down the minors as you'd expect. They may be too high, and we'll be addressing that. Some of it is definitely attributed to players playing a position they aren't really suited for. This is where the fielding instructor's correspodence will really help out.

Concerning durability for position players: if I have a position player with a DUR of 74 (for instance), does that mean that he should only be targeted to play in 120 games? In other words, he should miss around 42 games due to either injury (which I can't control) or rest (which I can)? (tecwrg - Hall of Famer - 4:15 PM)

74 isn't a percent since it's not a linear scale. I'd expect him to be albe to handle 135 regular season games assuming he played in half his spring training games (innings).

Is it better for a pitcher to have 2 really good pitches or 2 really good pitches and 3 mediocre to lousy pitches? Does catcher pitch calling play into this? (csherwood - Hall of Famer - 4:16 PM)

A guy with 2 pitches would typically be a reliever and a guy with 5 is usually a starter. Catcher pitch calling impacts OAV, so a good catcher definitely helps a pitching staff.

will we ever be able to buy hbd teams with reward points? (bigyunit - Hall of Famer - 4:16 PM)

Yes, it's coming.

With respect to the individual pitch rating, you say it works how we'd expect. Well, it seems to me that the more pitches a batter has to be ready for, the more effective the pitcher will be. The guy with a 100 pitch A should NOT be better than the guy with a 90 pitch A and a 90 pitch B, should he? Any good hitter will crush a pitcher if he knows what is coming. (zbrent716 - Hall of Famer - 4:21 PM)

Depends on the quality of the secondary pitches. A 90-rated pitch is a great pitch, so you're looking at a guy with two great pitches. A guy with 2 50-rated pitches, on the other hand, wouldn't be nearly as good.

How do you approach the possible problem of lots of users dropping out in the future? Will the worlds unable to find enough users cease to be or can 2 worlds join? (danmam - Hall of Famer - 4:22 PM)

We haven't been opening any Open Worlds in the last month so we hope to have built-up interest when all the current worlds start turning over.

Can you elaborate on what determines all-star teams, I've got a guy with 105 RBI's and 39 HR's and has been completely omitted from the all-star game. Just curious what exactly the formula's consider? (jktcat - Hall of Famer - 4:22 PM)

Defense and offense play a part, so that may be hurting your guy's chances.

Will winning awards/making teams (like futures) or winnign games at the minor league level ever impact player development on things like makeup and patience, or any other ratings? Or are they all strictly cosmetic? (zbrent716 - Hall of Famer - 4:23 PM)

They help a player's confidence and will boost their demands in free-agency and arbitration.

Will you talk a little bit about pitch calling rating and how much emphasis/importance it has. (brygold - Hall of Famer - 4:24 PM)

A top defensive catcher will help a pitcher make better pitches and reduce offensive production. A horrible catcher will lead to poor pitch selection and cause a boost in offensive production. Not gonna list the percentages, though.

should guys designated for assignment be automatically put on waivers as they are now in hbd? in MLB, guys like Shea are DFA, and the team has 10 days to trade them or release them. (bigyunit - Hall of Famer - 4:26 PM)

Only guys out of options are placed on waivers when DFA'ed. That's because they have to clear waivers to be demoted and go through waivers if released. We do it to simplify the process.

That's it -- back to fixing things! Thanks for the questions. We love the game and want to improve things as much as possible, so keep letting us know what you like and dislike.

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