I echo the sentiment that functional improvements far, far outweigh the pretty graphics. This game is not made for the people who like pretty graphics. Such games are a dime a dozen.
This game is played by those who love baseball statistics, history, matchups across time, and matching wits with other real people (not AI opponents). I would contend that most who play this game would be more impressed by improvements such as those already suggested as well as a few more:
- Control over individual base running aggressiveness (no real life manager would use the approach for Willie Wilson and Prince Fielder)
- Control over base stealing tendencies depending on catcher's arm, game situation, etc.
- Scouting pages that include RHP/LHP lineup tendencies (includes last ten games against RHP and LHP as well as scheduled lineups)
- Fatigue rating on the page instead of requiring hovering cursor popup
- Home/Away lineup settings, or maybe even ballpark- specific settings based on the ballparks in that particular league
- Change pinch hitting and pinch running to situational settings at an individual level (e.g. PH for Ty Cobb if trailing by 5 or more runs in the 7th inning or later, or if leading by 6 or more runs in the 8th inning or later; PH for Tom Brookens if trailing by 3 runs or less in the 6th inning or later, or if tied or leading by 2 or fewer runs in the 7th inning or later)
- Allow use of pitchers at other positions that they are rated for (makes for more realistic play of 19th century and early 20th century players)
- Allow use of pitchers in PH hierarchies
- Progressive league keeper functionality and other related functionality
- Draft capability based on progressive league player pool definition (keepers and draftees are highlighted with designation as to which team owns the player)
- Offseason trade capability including the ability to trade draft picks
- In season trade capability that includes trading of draft picks
- Commissioner defined rules for Progressive league draft slotting (including weighted lotteries, snake style and straight drafts, tiebreakers, balancing of picks for tiebreakers, etc.)
- Automated draft position slotting based on the defined set of rules
- Disabled list tracking
- Waiver wire that includes only available players within progressive league player pool
The new graphics are nice to have, but in my opinion they do not represent an improvement in the game of any value.