Developer Chat

SimLeague Baseball

tzentmeyer

Thursday, October 13, 2005

8:00 PM - 9:00 PM EST


The LIVE portion of this chat will begin on

Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 8:00 PM EST.

Welcome everybody! The update has been out for a week and a half now, and I'm sure there are lots of questions/comments regarding the changes. I'll answer as much as I can over the next 60 minutes, so let's begin...

I had a team weak in hitting and very strong in pitching. I wanted to bunt every time the first batter got on base, to move him over. I set every player to a "5" setting on "Sac Bunt" and they wouldn't bunt them over early in the game. Can I do something else to get these sac bunts down? (hlbart - Hall of Famer - 8:00 PM)

The logic for sacrifice bunts is a combination of traditional baseball logic and the assigned user setting. As the game progresses, the likelihood of a sac bunt increases. Early in a game, the engine generally doesn't have a position player drop down a sac bunt unless he's a horrible hitter and the on-deck batter is a solid hitter. So, to answer your question, there's nothing much you can do beyond assigning a 5 to all your weak hitters' sac bunt rating.

Could you please explain the reasons behind the new salaries - in other words, what are the new factors based on (if you can release this information)? (ericgagne - Prospect - 8:03 PM)

We wanted to re-do the salaries to improve the relationship between cost and production. Since normalization is an integral part of the sim, we felt it needed to be part of the pricing. Since defense has become a bigger part of the game, we also felt it needed to have a bigger impact on salaries. Those were the two primary reasons. With that in mind, we developed a formula that uses the most important core statistics along with their relationship to the league average. Since both position and pitcher fatigue has undergone changes recently, we also give rewards/penalties to players that will be able to play more.

How big of a factor will the catcher arms be (in the game, and in the salaries)? (ericgagne - Prospect - 8:08 PM)

Catcher arms are used strictly in stolen base attempts. The very best catcher arm will turn a 70% basestealer into a 49% basestealer. The worst catcher will turn the same 70% basestealer into a near perfect basestealer. Catcher arms definitely change the game if you favor a basestealing strategy. Catcher arms also play a role in pricing for catchers. The best arm rating will increase salary by ~7% and the worst will decrease salary by ~6%.

Is there a text or excel file for the new hitter and pitching salaries that I can download? If so please tell me where it is. Thanks. (BigGoon - Hall of Famer - 8:09 PM)

Pitchers: www.whatifsports.com/db/pitchersalaries.zip Hitters: www.whatifsports.com/db/battersalaries.zip

Under the new pitcher fatigue system, is the "70% of the team's games" benchmark a game to game standard ( eg. a pitcher whose team is playing in game 100 makes his 71st appearance will have fatigue ) or is it simply that you can make 112 appearances before you have any fatigue ( assuming conservative pitch counts) ? (tegesta - All-Star - 8:10 PM)

It's a projected value. Based on how many games a team has played, the pitcher will be able to throw in 70% of the teams' games played thus far.

The new stolen base/catcher arm ratings changes are overdue; however it is very unfair to apply this new logic to teams/leagues that were up and running on 10/4. SB success rates were a significant factor in my drafting a speed oriented team; generally admin has been good about honoring expectations when revisions are made , so I am surprised at your insenstivity here. Tegesta (tegesta - All-Star - 8:16 PM)

Understood. When we release a new update, there are some changes that we can separate between existing leagues and new leagues and others that we can't. Pitching fatigue was one we could split based on the way it's incorporated in our engine/database/etc. Some of the other types of changes aren't able to be split. With this in mind (and learning from past mistakes), we announce the forthcoming changes with as much advance notice as possible so owners can be prepared for and react to the changes. We'll continue to look for different ways to improve this process.

Tzent, thanks for taking my question. I like to set my pitching staff early and make minor tweaks as needed later in the season. Is there a formula I can use to accurately set pitch counts for my pitchers, starters and relievers? (tarzan - Hall of Famer - 8:20 PM)

If you go with a staff that won't change for the entire season and you don't encounter many extra inning games that drastically affect your staff, then the recommendations in your advanced pitcher settings is the way to go. However, as your team undergoes staff changes and pitchers are rested, these recs need to be adjusted during the season. As is often the case, the manger knows some of these need to be tweaked based on pitcher usage versus the projected usage. For instance, the recs are based on the assumption the pitcher will continue to pitch in as many games as he has up until that point. Usually, this isn't the case. We're currently reviewing the recommendations since the fatigue recently changed. We might be able to make some improvements.

Do you guys miss me? (sbob85 - Hall of Famer - 8:21 PM)

Like the Angels miss a strike 3 call.

What is the new formula for stolen base results ?, that is, what is the relative importance of real life steal success %, the runner's raw speed rating , and the catcher's throwing rating ? Is it true that a strong catcher's arm rating will result in fewer steal attempts --independent of the steal setting you assign to the runner ? (tegesta - All-Star - 8:24 PM)

The first part of the question was answered earlier. The second part is true. The catcher behind the plate will play a role in the baserunner's decision to steal or not. The better the catcher behind the plate, the less the runner will attempt to steal and vice versa.

Tzent, is there a problem you are aware of with the salaries of the strike year players (1972, 1981, 1994)? (tarzan - Hall of Famer - 8:25 PM)

We've reviewed the salary formulas numerous times and haven't seen anything wrong with the pricing of the strike season players. I know there are some theme leagues testing this strategy out, so we'll evaulate the results when the leagues have concluded.

I know this is a little off topic, and a noob question, but why not sim 5 games a day? Why only do 1 in the am when you could do 2 and the teams to progress more quickly? (frankum - Hall of Famer - 8:28 PM)

Many users log on and check the status of their team prior to each game. With that in mind, we tried to design a model that wouldn't be overbearing for an owner. 3 times a day (when you get to work, before you leave work and at night) seemed like a good fit. We're not sure if it's the perfect model, but we know it's worked fairly well so far.

Hi, If understand correctly, you use the Bill James defensive spectrum in your code. When it comes to moving players who are ranked at one position to one that they are not, how does this affect them. Can I play a Catcher at 3B with minimal damage? How about LF? Could my A-/A+ AAA Shortstop excel in CF? I guess what I am really asking is how exactly do you figure out the fielding rates of out of position players? Steve Mutzu LeMay Rippers (Lemayripper - All-Star - 8:33 PM)

Anytime a player is put in a position he didn't play that season, his fielding percentage is mapped to the new position (maintaininig the same level of play). Then he is assigned a 2% penalty to his fielding percentage. Each shift along the spectrum results in an additional 4% hit. The likelihood of turning double plays for out of position players also decreases. Putting a non-catcher behind the plate will result in many successful steals along with a ton of passed balls. Catchers are a special case, so we assign shift penalties based on the position they will be playing.

Is it true that pitchers are averaging more pitches per inning in the new SIM? Why? (apaler - Rookie - 8:38 PM)

Yes. When we developed the new pitching fatigue system, we analyzed the pitch counts being used and realized they were coming up way under what they should be. AS a result, we introduced extended plate appearances. There is now a small chance of an extended plate appearance where the upper limit on the pitch count has been raised. This is resulting in a more accurate pitch count total per game. Also, to eliminate parks affecting pitch counts per game (which counterintuitively is not the case in the MLB) we introduced a small relationship between ballpark and pitch count. Plate appearances will see less pitches in high offensive parks and more pitches in low offensive parks.

If an out is recorded as "Fly out to deep left field" in a park that is -2/-1 for HRs, does that mean that the park effect prevented a HR? Are most other out descriptions generated randomly? (xtrude - Newbie - 8:39 PM)

In the current engine, a deep fly out is random and doesn't reflect the park effects.

What is the new average pitches thrown per inning? And why does it seem to affect relievers so much more than starters? (moleculeman - Pro - 8:46 PM)

For all open leagues that started after the update, here are the averages: 16.46 P/IP 147.5 P/G

Pitch counts have signficantly increased with the update and appear to have been over tweaked. Even a shutout with 2-3 hits/walks is in the 125+ pitch range. The fatigue seems to be more severe than what was experienced on the test site... (rickr - Hall of Famer - 8:50 PM)

Time will tell on the pitch counts. It's not an easy thing to test because there are so many different strategies and so many different roster configs. We'll re-evaulate next month and if the pitch counts continue to appear slighlty higher than anticipated, we'll be able to tweak them lower. The fatigue on the main site is the exact same as on the test site, so it's probably just a different in league setup/teams.

With pitch counts how offen does a batter swing at the first pitch and connect. (acidrain - All-Star - 8:53 PM)

It depends slighlty on the ballpark. It's a small percentage. We use a normal distribution and specify the mean and the standard deviation, so it's hard to provide an exact number without analyzing some numbers.

The forums are full of reports of new fatigue patterns for pitchers in leagues that were up and running before the update. From the degree of changes in fatigue being reported it is hard to believe that this could all be due to the new pitch count engine changes. Could you comment ? (tegesta - All-Star - 8:56 PM)

I've handled quite a few support tickets regarding similar complaints. I've verified each request and the leagues are still using the old fatigue. While pitch counts per game have increased by a small margin, more often than not what I've been seeing is teams with small staff sizes having higher WHIPS than in real life which is causing the fatigue. The best place for a team owner to see what's going on is the Advanced Pitcher Settings pages. Comparing the sim IP with the actual IP combined with the sim WHIP with the actual WHIP usually gives a good indication if the pitcher is projected to throw more pitches than in real life (which results in fatigue). In new leagues using the redesigned pitching fatigue, you can get this info by simply hovering over the fatigue value in the Manger's Office.

Besides his fielding percentage, does moving a player to a position he does not play affect his range? Will an A 2B who didn't play 2B that year be an A CF? (bkoron - Prospect - 8:57 PM)

Range works the same way with different penalty values. 10% hit for being out of position, and a 15% hit for each shift on the spectrum (in the more difficult direction).

Given the new fatigue system, how many innings should a staff have in a hitter park like Fenway? (apaler - Rookie - 8:59 PM)

It depends on the type of league. If it's an Open League that has 2 AAA prospects, you can draft between 1400 and 1500 IP and be in good shape. As you gain experience, you can probably draft less innings and get away with it. Learning how to use/abuse a mopup pitcher can generally save you IP.

"Based on how many games a team has played, the pitcher will be able to throw in 70% of the teams' games played thus far." You mean, throw WITHOUT FATIGUE, right? He can throw in more than 70% of his team's games, but he'll probably get lit up. That leads to an interesting question. Do all pitchers fatigue at the same rate, or do worse pitchers fatigue quicker than better pitchers? Please include "in game fatigue" in your answer. (bkoron - Prospect - 9:02 PM)

Yes, without showing signs of fatigue. Fatigue is based strictly on pitch counts. Pitch counts are either the actual value or derived using an internal formula (which happens to have an r-squared value above .99 for you stats guys). Pitch counts are usually higher for pitchers that allow more walks and go deeper into counts. So, whether a better pitcher fatigues faster/slower depends on his strengths and weaknesses. In-game fatigue is also based on pitch counts.

Is it true that a strong catcher arm rating will cause less stolen base attempts ? (tegesta - All-Star - 9:03 PM)

Yes. The quality of catcher has an impact on a runner's decision to attempt a steal.

So how was the outraged customer email/day average this week? Up from two weeks ago? It's sad when people have their favorite toys taken away from them, but any step in the direction of reality is a good step and I commend you for taking it. (bkoron - Prospect - 9:06 PM)

While there has been quite a bit of positive feedback, there has also been some negative. The negative feedback is understandable, though, because veteran users of the site are seeing a drastic change from what they have been accustomed to. It takes a week of games to get an arm around how the new fatigue works. Seeing a starting pitcher shoot to 0 stamina after a start was unheard of in the previous version, so we expected to see some upset/confused owners. The users in our test leagues experienced the same initial shock but were happy with the results by the All-Star Break. We just hope everyone hangs in there to get a better feel for the new system because we're confident they'll be happy in the end. No more Greg Maddux throwing 400 IP without any ill effects!

What's all this I read about any zhlub can play 1B? (bkoron - Prospect - 9:08 PM)

Since 1B is the weakest on the spectrum, players only suffer the out of position penalty. This won't be so lenient a move in the future, though, when we expand the types of errors in the game. Out of position 1B will see more errors on bad scoops in the dirt, for instance.

pitch count how does it factor into all this? (acidrain - All-Star - 9:09 PM)

I hope this has been answered in a previous response. If not, please send a ticket to customer support level 2 and I'll try and answer your question.

How tall are you, Tom? (ozomatli - Hall of Famer - 9:11 PM)

I'm the same height as Todd Coffey.

Thanks everyone for participating. We sincerely hope everyone is happy with the update. As always, if you have any questions/concerns or would like us to provide you with any advice on a team, feel free to contact customer support.

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