This guide discusses the deeper things about BB Mogul 2017 that you might not find in the instructions or on the forums. It focuses mainly on player development but not entirely. It's just things I learned through playing.
Don't have more than one player at any level at the same position. And this includes Low minors - the instructions are wrong about that. It's all about how much playing time someone gets and other players doing the same thing will eat into playing time. This also includes pitchers. Each level should look like your major league staff - no more than 5 starters, 1 closer, etc.
So change player positions however necessary to make sure they are all filling a unique role, but try to have them working in positions where they have values of at least 70 and have the athletic attributes to play the position well. Otherwise you'll just waste any defensive development that occurs there since they'll never play that spot for you in the majors.
For the most part, don't promote by ratings. Someone ranked 74 might not be ready to move up to AA for example. Look at stats. You want something like a .230 batting average and .300 obp for position players, and a sub 4.00 dERA and more strikeouts than walks for pitchers. The exceptions are that Pitchers in the high 70's should be in AA, 80+ get moved to AAA, 90+ should be in the bigs. Position players are more hazy than that, 80+ should be placed in the majors or traded at the beginning of the following season.
It's still about playing time. Don't send a bright prospect to the majors as an occasional bullpen arm or right handed platoon player or something. You can do that with mediocre prospects who you'd like to fill a hole with, but the top guys need to be in the rotation, pitching 90 games a year in the pen, or regulars. I've also found that guys who you platoon with early in their careers often never learn to hit same handed pitchers. Sometimes, especially left handed hitters, aren't able to do that even if you play them everyday, but the only way to know this is by letting them try for a couple of years.
I promote players to the majors at the beginning of every year. If there's a small injury mid-season I'll move a guy up from my bench and play short handed, and if there's a big injury I'll make a trade). A full year of stats at the minor league level give me a better picture of where the guy is, and also it seems that players I bring up mid season always fail to develop.
You often have to make a choice with platooning - are you thinking short-term or long-term? Platooning at a position will always give you the best numbers for that season, you can even platoon 2 crap players and often get decent production. You could make the claim that platooning is OP - oftentimes a fringe player will do better against opposite hand pitchers than a star will. BUT, platoon players often stagnate. A regular will develop more and give you more of a talent base later down the line.
Pitchers often don't find their control and hit their stride until around 25, 26. Really a guy has to be 26+ for you to be sure he's not going to blossom. What this means is that you can't promote 4 pitchers a year to the majors and replace the guys who aren't pitching well. Most young major league pitchers aren't going to be great and you'll just get on a treadmill, constantly working with underperforming young guys and watching pitchers you traded away win awards for other teams once they mature.
So the best way to work with pitching prospects is to cull them mercilessly, promote only the best of the best to the majors and use the rest as trade fodder. If your farm system is good (it goes without saying you need to be #1 in everything budget-wise) you'll have more good pitching prospects than you know what to do with anyway, so there will always be more elite guys. If you're only promoting elite prospects they will almost always become stars if you are patient.
It's a lot of the same with position players, except they can be productive in the majors at a younger age and the ratings benefit from being in the minors is lower. You'll see a pitcher on occasion crack 90 overall in AAA. Position players tend to top out in the low to mid-80's.
Most position players don't start out at the spot they are best suited to play. Someone with a weak arm might be a 3rd baseman, for example, or a guy with limited mobility might be a 2nd baseman. Don't be afraid to change someones position to best suit their athletic skills. But keep in mind that if a player's ability at a position is less than 70 to start with they will never really play that position well even if they have the ability to do so.
Best way to look at that is to add 10 to their current ability at the position you're looking at. If you wouldn't put that score on the field at the major league level, you're wasting your time shifting the player there.
Minor Things about Roster Construction and Who to Sign
- You need a experienced rotation anchor and an experienced closer. Young pitchers can be great, but erratic. You don't want to rely entirely on them no matter how much talent they have.
- A bench should have 2 OF, 2 IF, and a C. Make sure your manager can do in-game maneuvering.
- Pitchouts have a huge effect on runners caught stealing. If you try playing dead ball era in particular without pitchouts set to at least normal, the opposition will run all over you and you'll get like a 4% caught stealing rate. So keep that set to normal at least even though you're going to walk more people by doing so.
- I use individual strategy settings and for each player, you need to update them every couple of years. Steal Success, Hit and Run, and bunting increase over time so a guy can develop into a great base stealer even after he hits the majors.
- You can often find great platoon players with garbage overall ratings who have no value to the AI. Before my teams become championship-winning robots, I'll always have guys, especially right handed hitters, with overalls in the low 70's but with a .304 average and 12 hr in 200 ab, or something like that. The game never respects these players but if you look at the platoon ratings of guys as well as their stats vs opposite handed pitchers, they can help you win.
- Going further with that, ratings are often not indicative of how good a player is. If a player is putting up good numbers (Simple test - an ops that is average or better for his position, for his league and time) and doing the job defensively (Simple test - a DRAA that is around zero or higher) and you don't have a hotshot ready to take his place, who cares if his rating is 74? It's the AI's loss. Players like this don't tend to have long careers, but sometimes they'll keep plugging away as minor stars for 5-6 years. So look at what a player is doing on the field and not just what the scouts say. As a GM, you can look at the stats and go with your gut about a player and sometimes that is the right thing to do.
- There are always undrafted prospects on the scrap heap. If your budget rating is high, you've got the extra money to spend, and you've got room in your low minors, it's worth snarfing up the top ones especially the pitchers. They're often no worse than prospects who are playing in many teams systems, and with a boost of a #1 farm system behind them, they're perfectly capable of becoming stars. At worst, you'll probably earn the money back by selling them a few years down the road.