We have an update planned to go out Monday morning and would like to share the details ahead of time. Most of these changes are the result of feedback we received during the recent dev chat, support tickets, forum posts, and playing the game ourselves.
- Due to some variance in the hiring and career path of hitting and base coaches from world to world, we will now create a few new 1B and 3B coaches during each world's season rollover.
- When MLB hitting coaches are still looking for a job but all 32 franchises have hired their hitting coach, these hitting coaches will now look for 1B or 3B coach openings before immeditely looking for a AAA hitting coach job. This will only apply to those coaches with solid enough baserunning IQ ratings.
- As an alternative for viewing your teams' recent games across all your worlds, we have added a "Your Games" feature to the Franchise Center. If you go a full day without checking your game results, you can now use this feature to read the play-by-play of your last 5 games without knowing the result ahead of time.
- The order of players on the Player Settings page is now ordered by position, pitcher role and then last name.
- Player bats/throws indicator is now shown on the Trade Build page.
- The Prospect Report page is now fully sortable.
The next 3 changes are more substantial, so I'll go into each with more detail.Spring Training Player Development
We have made a change to the player development cycle that occurs during or at the end of spring training. Players that see significant action during spring training will now have a higher likelihood of seeing increased player development. We had this in place previously, but we have increased the impact to make spring training more meaningful. You won't notice a dramatic increase, but, on average and in the long haul, you'll notice the importance of playing time in spring training. And if players at the big league level don't get enough playing time, you may see some regression. It's also important to note that players not on the spring training roster can still see player development during this time because they are continuing to work out and practice, just outside of a franchise's primary spring training. They just won't develop as much as the players getting playing time in spring training.Defensive Replacement Hierarchy Usage
We've made a modification to how the defensive hierarchy works. For most of you, you won't even notice this.
When the manager looks for defensive replacements, he will scan the hierarchy for the desired position. Starting at the top of the hierarchy, as soon as he finds an available player, that player will enter as the def rep. If he continues down the chart and encounters the current player in the game, he will realize no def rep is needed.
For example, let's say Derek Jeter is the current shortstop in the game. In the team's defensive hierarchy, Adam Everett is listed #1 at SS, then Angel Berroa at #2, then Derek Jeter at #3 and then Alex Gonzalez at #4. It's the 8th inning and time for a def replacement. The manager scans the chart and sees that Everett has already been used as a PH. He then notices that Berroa is available. He'll use Berroa as the def rep at SS even though Berroa is an inferior defensive SS compared to Jeter.
Taking that example a different way, let's say that Everett and Berroa had both been used. The manger then moves down the hierarchy and notices that the #3 def rep is Jeter who is the current player. He then determines no def rep is necessary even though the #4 player is superior to Jeter defensively.
Put another way, the manger now follows the def rep hierarchy exactly how it's configured.Minor League Options and ML Years
The final change deals with how a player's minor league options and big league service time is handled. We reviewed the recent collective bargaining agreement and are making our rules consistent. Most users will also not notice this change at all.
A player needs 172 days of service to register a year of ML service time. If he appears in less than that, this count is rolled over to the next season. The change that is being put in place is that if a player is on optional assignment (assigned to a minor league team) for less than 20 days during a season, that amount is part of the ML service time.
For instance, a player on the 40-man roster begins the season in the minors. He spends 15 days at the AAA level but is then promoted. He remains on the big league team for the rest of the season and racks up 160 days of ML service. When the world rolls over, he has 160 + 15 days which gives him enough for a year of service time.
This change also impacts how minor league options are tracked. Once a player is added to the 40-man roster, his option clock starts ticking and he will consume an option that season. Any future season in which he spends a day or more on optional assignment in which his days aren't considered part of his big league service time (example above), he will burn an option year.
These option years then impact the flexibility of the GM once the player reaches the big leagues.
There's another rule regarding options that is NOT currently in place and is NOT part of this update. If a player is out of options, he must clear waivers before being assigned to a minor league club. We currently allow a player without options to have his minor league contract renewed without clearing waivers. We may address this in the future, but we are NOT doing it now.Wrap-Up
We continue to build a significant list of future improvements and feature additions. Still at the top is an Advanced Roster Moves mode, but it is a significant change and we haven't had the time yet to implement it.
We hope you enjoy these changes. We view them as valuable improvements to the game.
If anyone has any questions regarding these update notes, please post in a separate forum thread. Please try to keep all questions in one thread and try to focus on these issues only.