Hardball Dynasty Player's Guide
Table of Contents
Introduction

The following guide is a high level overview of Hardball Dynasty (HBD). It is intended for first time users. Please keep in mind that each page in the game has content-specific help which goes into much further detail. HBD is a deep game and this guide is not intended to be all-inclusive or provide you with the only method for running your franchise. It is simply a tool that can be used to hit the ground running in your first few seasons of Hardball Dynasty. If you notice any errors or have additions you can suggest them by following this link.

Choosing Your Franchise

After you've decided which world to join, you'll get to pick a city and a name for your franchise. Picking the city is important, because each city has a home ballpark.

Each park has unique elements which impact game play. These park elements (wall height, dimensions, surface, etc.) dictate the park factors. The park factors are the most significant aspect of a ballpark as highlight how a park will perform. A park with a factor of 1.00 is average, above 1.00 should favor hitters, and below 1.00 should favor pitchers.

The effects are illustrated on a -4 to +4 scale where the likelihood of each event is altered by the effect. These ratings are representations of the actual inputs. For instance, a neutral rating will not alter the likelihood of an event, while a +2 may increase its likelihood by a few percent and a +4 a few more percent. +4 for doubles does not necessarily mean the exact same thing as +4 for triples.

By looking at the effects for your ballpark you can identify what type of team would do well in that park. Keep in mind that the ballpark affects both teams on the field equally – it just may be better served for the strengths of one team over the other.

Getting Started

Once a world fills, its schedule is generated within the next 24 hours. On the schedule, you'll notice HBD has three events each day which represent three actual days. These events are broken down into two halves. These event cycles run at the following times and worlds are processed in the order by which they were created:

  • AM Cycle (first half): 3:00 AM ET
  • AM Cycle (second half): 7:00 AM ET
  • PM Cycle (first half): 11:00 AM ET
  • PM Cycle (second half): 3:00 PM ET
  • PM2 Cycle (first half): 7:00 PM ET
  • PM2 Cycle (second half): 11:00 PM ET
The World Office page will always let you know what you should be doing. For a look ahead to the entire season, you can view the World Schedule page available from the World...Schedule menu options.

Setting Your Budget

Setting your franchise budget is the first item on the schedule. It can be set as soon as the schedule is created. The budget is very important because it will impact how your franchise is run for the season. Take your time and think about how you want to run your organization.

Player Payroll Player payroll covers all player contracts for the entire season. It also includes signing bonus money except in the case of amateur draft picks and international prospects. When setting this value, think about your existing players, arbitration cases, free-agent needs, promotions, 40-man roster additions, waiver claims and any other player acquisition or roster move that may be necessary during the season. In other words, don't short yourself in this department.
Prospect Payroll Prospect payroll covers all signing bonuses needed to land amateur draft picks and international prospects. We recommend keeping at least $6 million allotted in your prospect payroll so that you can ensure signing all of your draft picks.
Coaches Payroll Coach payroll covers all coach contracts for the season. Most coaches at the ML level will demand in excess of $1 million and could go significantly higher. Keep in mind that great coaches create great players so be sure to allot enough money to mold the future of your franchise as well as the present.
College Scouting This refers to the value allotted to scouting college players from Canada and the United States who are eligible for the upcoming amateur draft. All scouting budgets work similarly. The number of prospects discovered and the accuracy of the reports is based on the budget item. The higher your budget, the more prospects you'll have the opportunity to discover and the more you'll be able to rely on their accuracy.
High School Scouting This works the same way as the college scouting department, but pertains to high-school players eligible in the Amateur Draft.
International Scouting This works the same way as the college scouting department, but pertains to international prospects.
Advance Scouting The advance scouts are responsible for projecting the ratings of all signed players within the franchise and on other franchises. The higher the budget, the more accurate your projected ratings will be for all players who have not yet reached the peak of their career. After a player turns 27, projected and current ratings are listed as the same.
Training This refers to the value allotted to preventing injuries. Training specifically refers to the preparations made by players and staff to keep the team healthy. While some players will always be more injury-prone than others, spending money on training can significantly limit or minimize player injuries. Training also helps slow down the aging process.
Medical The medical staff works with injured players. The better the medical staff, the faster players will heal. If you've got a franchise of veterans, a higher medical budget may be in order.

From season to season, an owner can only adjust his non-payroll budgets (players, coaches) by +/- $4M. Since such dramatic shifts in these areas require the firing/hiring of resources, the owner of the franchise limits the fluctuations.

After the first day of the season (3 HBD event cycles), budgets are locked and cannot be modified. However, you will have the option of transferring excess budget funds from your player, coaching or prospect payroll. However, a transfer comes with a rather steep 50% expense.

Schedule
  • Offseason
  • The offseason is packed with events that will shape your franchise's outlook for the season and beyond. After setting your budget, you'll be allowed to rehire some of your previous season's coaching staff. You'll also have first crack at bringing back any players eligible for free-agency. Then, it's time for arbitration.

    After that, things get more intense. The free-agency and coach hiring stages begin where you'll compete with other owners for the services of players and coaches. This activity is fast paced, as owners make offers and receive feedback during every four hours of the day.

    Following free-agency and coach hiring is the Rule 5 Draft. As a first-time user, the Rule 5 Draft is key. Be sure to read the rules and protect your best prospects!

  • Spring Training
  • Every season of Hardball Dynasty has an 18-game spring training schedule. You can have up to 70 players on your spring training roster and the combination is up to you. Do you have some players that you think have a shot at the Bigs? Call them up for spring training to see how they fare. Spring training is also a great way to begin to identify which players might need a promotion or, alternatively, need some seasoning before playing in the majors. For even more detailed information you can refer to Knowledge Base article #547.

  • Regular Season
  • The regular season consists of a full 162-game schedule complete with interleague play. Once the season starts, it is your duty to handle the big league squad. If you'd like to take on more responsibility, the option is available to manage each minor league level. In any case, as manager you're responsible for setting lineups, pitching staffs, managerial and player settings, and managerial hierarchies. You will want to monitor player fatigue and react to injuries. While there are recommendations available on all manager pages, it's your personal touches that can make the difference. Make the right decisions and you could end up in the Playoffs.

  • Playoffs
  • At the conclusion of the regular season, each playing level will participate in the playoffs. There will be four division winners in each league as well as two wild card winners. The two best division winners from each league will receive a first-round bye. The first two rounds are a best-of-5, followed by a best-of-7 League Championship and culminating in a best-of-7 World Series. Win the World Series and a very prominent trophy will be displayed in your office the following season.

  • End of Season
  • Franchises can continue to make roster moves until the final game of the World Series. Towards the end of the season, it is very important to evaluate your franchise and promote those players that should be promoted, protect eligible 6-year minor league free-agents and cut loose dead weight.

    Promoting players is important. If a prospect is left at the same level for multiple seasons or if he's too old for his level, he may decide to retire.

    A player that will have six years of pro experience at the end of the season will be eligible for free-agency if he's not on the club's 40-man roster. As a result, you should protect those players meeting this description that you don't want to lose as 6-year minor league free-agency.

    If you have players that you know will never make the majors and are no longer needed because better players have entered the system, you may want to consider releasing them so you don't have to take on their contract for the next season.

    Any player not under contract for the following season that returns to your franchise and that is not eligible for free-agency or arbitration will have their contract automatically renewed at the same salary or with a small raise.

  • Next Season
  • You'll have up to 3 days after the conclusion of the World Series to renew your franchise for the following season. Most owners do this early, so other owners can see who's coming back (noted with an asterisk on the Standings page).

Players
  • Current Ratings
  • This is an indicator of how good the player currently is. Everyone sees the same current ratings for every player. These numbers will change throughout the season as the player develops, is promoted/demoted, suffers an injury, etc.

  • Projected Ratings
  • Projected ratings give you an idea of how good this player could potentially be. Your Advanced Scouting budget will dictate the accuracy of your projected ratings. In other words, every owner will see different projected ratings for each player. Not every player will hit his projected ratings and that is due to injuries, untimely demotions, poor work ethic, lack of playing time and inferior coaching.

  • Development
  • Player development is of the utmost importance in HBD. It is impacted by a multitude of factors: the player's makeup rating, the quality of the coaching staff, playing time, injuries, age appropriateness for level of play and potential demotion setbacks.

    All players are unique and each has a different peak age. Players may continue to develop up until this peak age. Pitchers tend to peak a little later than position players.

    A player may see a ratings hit after a demotion. The penalty is dictated by the player's age, experience, level and patience rating. A player with a high patience rating can handle a demotion better than an impatient player.

    Some players may also take a turn for the better, and see their projected ratings increase. These players are known as "Diamonds in the Rough" and are usually mentioned after the All-Star Break.

  • Injuries
  • Injuries are an unfortunate occurrence, but just like in real life they do happen in Hardball Dynasty. A player's likelihood of getting injured is based on his health rating. When a player is injured, the time he will be out is based on the severity of the injury, the player's makeup rating and the medical staff.

    When a player is injured and placed on the disabled list, you may see a hit to his ratings. These ratings will gradually come back as he heals, but the rate and level of recovery is based on the medical staff.

    While most injuries occur on the field, there are also some freak injuries in the game. In addition, anytime a player is injured for more than 3 days, you'll receive some correspondence regarding the injury.

Coaches

Building a strong coaching staff is essential in HBD. The coaching staff plays a significant role in player development.

At the big league level, you'll need a bench coach, hitting coach, pitching coach, bullpen coach, 1B & 3B coach. The 1B & 3B coaches contribute to the development of players' basestealing and baserunning. The hitting coach, with a little help from the 1B & 3B coach, contributes to the development of all hitting ratings. The pitching coach, with some help from the bullpen coach, contributes to the development of pitcher ratings. The bench coach takes over as manager after any managerial ejection.

At the minor league levels, only hitting, pitching and bench coaches are needed. The bench coach plays a role in all rating developments. The hitting coach focuses on hitting and baserunning ratings and the pitching coach impacts pitching ratings.

A franchise must also hire a fielding instructor that roves the system. He impacts a player's fielding ratings.

Coaches improve with age. And their demands for role, level and money also increase with age.

General Management Options
  • Roster Moves
  • There are a significant amount of roster moves that are available to you and each move has its own intermediary page that will describe the impact it will have on that player. A full list including descriptions is located in the table below.

  • Trades
  • The trade market is one of the most active parts of the entire community. There are several pages in place to help facilitate trades between two clubs including a trading block, posted trade needs, trade chat & general world chat. Trades may include anywhere from 1 to 3 players per franchise and may also include cash.

    When a trade is agreed upon by two clubs, you will see other teams' trades available for you to vote upon in the World Office. Essentially, if you disagree with a trade you do have the ability to veto it. Any trade with 10 or more vetoes will be vetoed.

    After the transaction deadline, any player on a club's 40-man roster must clear waivers before being traded. Don't worry though, you can place the player who you want to trade on "revocable waivers" so you won't lose him if someone puts a claim on him. If one or more teams put a claim on a player who is on revocable waivers, he may only be traded to the team that would have been awarded the claim.

    Players with less than one year of pro experience may not be traded.

  • Free Agency
  • Any player who is not under contract for the current season is considered a Free Agent and he is open to negotiating a contract with any franchise. Keep in mind that some of the top tier players will have several franchises bidding for their services and that will cause their contract value to increase dramatically. Sometimes it's better to sign a couple above average players rather than a high profile player. However, much like every aspect of Hardball Dynasty, that decision is entirely up to you.

    Occasionally, when you negotiate with a player you will see that he is either a Type A or Type B free agent. Type A free agents are defined as players in the top 20% of all players at their position groups based on current ratings. The position groups include C, 1B/OF/DH, 2B/3B/SS, SP and RP. If you sign a Type A free-agent, you will forfeit your first round pick in the upcoming Amateur Draft to the player's previous franchise. If your first round pick is in the top 16 of the draft, then you forfeit your second round pick instead. The player's previous franchise also receives a supplemental round pick between rounds 1 and 2.

    A Type B free-agent is defined as any player who falls in the top 21% - 40% of all players at his position group. If you sign a Type B free-agent, the player's former franchise will be compensated with a sandwich pick between round 1 and round 2.

    You may also see released players under contract for the season in the free-agent market. These released players have cleared waivers, so they can be signed at the prorated amount of the league minimum. They may or may not accept a minor league assignment -- it depends on their experience and desire.

    During the offseason, free-agents will get back with you at a later time via Inbox correspondence. After the offseason free-agency period, players get back with you immediately.

  • Waiver Wire
  • The waiver wire can be a great place to sign a player who might give you an edge when you need to fill an open slot. The order in which the waiver claims are processed is determined by franchise rank. For worlds in season 1, this is the reverse order of the amateur draft. For any other world it is based on the previous season's record and then dynamically changes after 30 days into the season based on current record. You are allowed two waiver claims per day and 50 total waiver claims per season so choose very wisely.

    There are two very different ways that players can show up on the waiver wire. The first is, obviously, that they have been waived from their current club. If a player is waived and you win the claim then you are responsible for a prorated amount of his full salary for the current season and the full amount for all subsequent years under his current contract.

    The second way that a player will show up on the waiver wire is if he is released. If you are awarded the claim on a player who was released then you are only responsible for a prorated amount of the league minimum for the current season and the league minimum for all subsequent seasons under his current contract. His previous franchise is responsible for the rest of his contract.

    Once the transaction deadline has passed, players on the waiver wire may be on revocable waivers. If you are awarded the claim for a player on revocable waivers, the franchise will pull the player back. The owner may then work out a trade only with your franchise for that player. After the transaction deadline, many players are passed through waivers as some owners try to sneak a player through so they can trade or demote him.

  • Amateur Draft
  • One of the most important ways to build the future of your franchise is through the amateur draft. The draft consists of 25 rounds, including a supplemental round at the end of the first round. The draft order is determined by the previous season's record, save for season one where it is determined by the average overall rating of your entire franchise.

    On the Amateur Draft Settings page, you can tailor the draft according to your tastes. If you need a flame throwing left-handed starter or a speedy center fielder, the option is available to you. Keep in mind that you always want to target enough pitchers to complete a full Rookie League season (which begins soon after the draft).

    One other important area to consider when adjusting your draft settings is the signability of the player. Each prospect has a signability risk. You can set the signing risk that you are comfortable with for each round of the draft. A "very conservative" approach will ensure that any player drafted in that round will be openly signable for "slot money". Alternatively, a "very aggressive" approach will ensure that any player that you draft will have no limitations meaning that the player you pick may not sign.

    You may also manually rank players on the Amateur Draft Player Pool page. Most owners in Hardball Dynasty will at least rank their top 25 picks but the decision is entirely up to you. If you want to rank all 500 prospects that option is available to you. Also, keep in mind that if you do change any of your draft settings after you have ranked your prospects it will change your manual rankings. It is highly recommended that you first determine your settings and then manually rank your players.

  • Rule 5 Draft
  • The Rule 5 draft is very similar in function and form to the Amateur Draft. The big difference here is that you are drafting players with professional experience. Any player with at least 4 years of pro experience, not on the club's 40-man roster and not signed beyond the current season will be exposed to the draft. To protect your players from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft you must add them to your 40-Man roster prior to the freezing of rosters on the day of the draft.

    There is one small difference in the settings and that is you will only draft up to as many players who meet your target settings. In other words if you target 0 players you will draft 0 players. You also must have enough excess money in your player payroll to draft a player and you must have room for the player (i.e. your 40-man roster can't be full) in order to draft a player in the Rule 5 draft. The last stipulation is that the maximum number of players you can take in the Rule 5 draft is 10.

  • International Prospects
  • During the season, your international scouts will send you correspondence regarding an international prospect. International prospects are a great way to obtain either some minor league filler or potential superstars. Other franchises in your world may see the same players as you, so always remember that bidding can be very aggressive. Bidding on some of the elite players has reached well into the $20M - $30M range. Any negotiations you have with a player will be acted upon in the next cycle and, rest assured, they will let you know exactly how they feel.

Management Options
  • Console (Level Management)
  • The Management Console lets you specify how much control you want over your system. For instance, do you want to manage injuries at the AA level or would you rather have the AI do it?

    The console also lets you provide default values for some common player settings. You can also run all the recommendations for your team at the click of a button per level.

  • Lineups
  • There are up to four different types of lineups to account for the combinations of vs. left and right handed pitching, with and without the DH.

    By default, the recommended lineups are used. To return to these recommended settings at any time, click the "Show Recs" button and then the "Save Current Lineup" button. To change the lineup at any time, select the position for the player from the drop down menu and choose the numbered spot for him. Lineups will only save if they are set with unique players at each position and a player at each spot in the batting order. For non-DH lineups, the pitcher will bat in the spot left open. This does not have to be the ninth spot.

    In order to leave a player out of the lineup, but available for play, set his spot to bench. To rest a player for that game, set the player's order to Rest and he will not play unless he needs to be brought into the game due to injuries and no one else is available.

    To help with position assignments, the player's natural position is always noted with an "*". Secondary positions are always denoted with a "^". Playing a player at a position he's not suited for can have disastrous results. You can toggle the listed positions for a player on the Player Settings or Edit Rosters page.

  • Pitching Staff
  • Managing a pitching staff in Hardball Dynasty is vital to a team's performance. Fatigued pitchers can suffer extreme penalties including injury so it is very important to keep as many pitchers healthy as possible.

    When editing the pitching staff, consider a balance between starting and relief pitching. Rotation sizes can vary from 1-6 man rotations with an additional option of using tandems. By default, rotations are set to recommendations, with an emphasis on stamina for starting pitchers. To return to these recommended settings at any time, click the "Show Recs" button and then the "Save Roles" button. For more detailed information on all of the different pitching roles you can also consult Knowledge Base article #728.

    The lower you go in the minors, the more pitchers you should have on the roster. It is very common at the low levels of the minors to see pitchers to go to and from the inactive list after games.

  • Managerial Settings
  • You can set your managerial tendencies for each level within the franchise. These include your tendencies to sacrifice bunt, hit and run, pinch-hit, pinch-run and double-switch. You can also indicate how aggressive you'd like to be on the base paths, stealing bases and arguing calls. You can also indicate when you'd like to use defensive replacements, provide rest to your starters, when to use a mopup pitcher and when to use the closer.

  • Hierarchies
  • The pinch-hitting hierarchy dictates which players will come in during pinch-hitting situations. Each box is labeled for the type of situation (i.e. Late/Close Need Power, Late/Close Need Contact, etc.). In addition to each scenario, the hierarchy is further broken down by the handedness of the pitcher. It gives you complete control over whom you want to come in to pinch-hit during each type of situation. You will surely see the impact of your managerial decisions during games throughout the season.

    The Defensive Replacement hierarchy dictates which player will enter a game for defensive purposes at each position. The manager evaluates these decisions in the order of difficulty (the defensive spectrum).

    The Player Rest hierarchy dictates who will come in to rest your players in the field when the conditions you have set have been reached.

    These recommendations can be filled quickly by using the recommendation buttons on each page.

  • Player Settings
  • On the Player Settings page, you can set the individual settings for your pitchers and position players. These decisions are important and will directly impact the engine which could be the difference between a win and a loss.

    • TPC is the Target Pitch Count. A pitcher will attempt to reach this many pitches in each game. In extenuating circumstances, he may pitch beyond his TPC, but will never exceed his Max Pitch Count. A pitcher will always come out of the game within a few pitches of his MPC (usually his TPC) based on the situation. In general, an HBD inning takes about 15 pitches. The stamina rating is directly related to how many pitches a player can throw in a game without fatigue

    • Auto Rest refers to the fatigue value under which the player will automatically be set to rest for the next game.

    • The Relief checkbox indicates a player who may pitch in relief. You may also allow your starters to come in as relief. Position players or starting pitchers able to relieve are viewed as long relievers.

    • The Call Bullpen setting designates your patience with a pitcher who has not yet reached his TPC. It is on a scale from 1-5 where 1 is very patient and 5 is a quick trigger.

    • For PH, PR, Def Rep and Allow Rest, these are players for whom it is ok to remove in these situations.

Prizes & Incentives

Prizes are based strictly on the big league level and are broken down as follows:

  1. World Series Winner receives 5,250 Reward Points.
  2. World Series Runner-Up receives $25 in credits.
  3. League Championship Runner-Up (2) receives $12 in credits.
  4. Division Championship Runner-Up (4) receives $8 in credits.
  5. First-Round Runner-Up (4) receives $4 in credits.

*World Series winners who used a promo code or took over a team without paying receive $25 in credits instead of Reward Points.

**Credits won can only be used for future seasons of Hardball Dynasty.

As an extra reward for maintaining a franchise for 5 consecutive seasons, you'll earn a $10 credit for a future season of Hardball Dynasty. After the 5th straight season controlling the same franchise in the same world, the credit will be distributed shortly after the final game of the big league World Series in the world. So, if you joined a world in season 3 and stay with that franchise, you'll earn the credit after season 7, 12, 17, etc.

Conclusion

If that all sounds exciting, we haven't even touched the surface when it comes to what else is available. There are pages detailing just about every stat or transaction you can imagine in a variety of ways. Boxscores are incredibly realistic (view the current World Series Highlights as an example). Every stat is tracked. It's an immersive world and we hope you join!

We're constantly improving the game based on user feedback, so if you find an area you wish was different, our ears are always open. Just click the Customer Support link at the bottom of every page.

We hope this info helped. If you want more, you can always turn to the page-specific help, the rules, the knowledge base, the forums, or our dev chats.

Good luck with your franchise!

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