Strategy and Tips

Many people who join the site watch their first few teams get off to a rough start. This is understandably frustrating, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

Baseball is a long season
First and foremost, remember that a slow start can always be turned around. Almost everyone who has played on this site has a story of a team starting terribly and bouncing back to win the division. I've seen teams start 1-15 and comeback to win the title. Obviously this won't always happen, but don't let a bad start ruin your season.

Don't give up on superstars
It doesn't matter how badly Babe Ruth is struggling, benching him won't help. Give your stars time to get out of their funks. There are no "slumps" built into the simulator, it just naturally happens sometimes.

Understand the player pool of your league
You might have a player who looks great statistically, but in comparison to the competition of the league, is just an average player. This is especially true in leagues like All-Time Greats. To keep things simple, there is no era-balancing, so someone like Willie Mays, while he dominated his era, may not have the stats to be a stud in the All-Time Greats player pool. Take advantage of features like "Compare Player Across Leagues" to get an understanding of how each player performs within that type of league.

Don't ignore free agents
I almost always see a player like Chuck Klein (OF) available in free agency in All-Time Greats leagues. Just because you've never heard of Chuck Klein doesn't mean he shouldn't be on your team. A left-handed, .380 hitter with 40 homers is a great catch in the All-Time Greats league. Find a way to get a player like that in your lineup, even if it means benching a player like Sammy Sosa. I've heard people bemoan their team, even though players like George Sisler (1B), Rod Carew (2B) and Luke Appling (SS) were available as free agents! These examples are from the All-Time Greats pool, but it's true for every league.

Don't assume you have a lineup of All-Stars. In most Auto Leagues, every team has a great lineup. Don't assume loading your lineup with power is the answer. Contact hitters help set the table. Speed in your lineup will get you an extra base, and maybe a key run or two. A struggling owner recently showed me his lineup in a 1970-Present league. His lineup was full of sluggers, but there was great talent available in the free agent pool. I recommend he drop Joey Votto in favor of Rod Carew (a .388 hitter) at 1B. I suggested he dump Bret Boone for Luis Castillo (9 speed) at 2B. I also suggested he bench one of his slugging outfielders for Paul O'Neill (.464 OBP). These are some examples of how I think he could have improved his lineup simply by leveraging what was available in free agency.

Use your Slump Busters as soon as possible
Especially if your team is struggling, you want to take advantage of anything you can to start to turn your season around as soon as possible.

Watch some games, understand why your lineup isn't working
Maybe the same guy is constantly striking out with a man on third? Maybe your lead off hitter is getting on base but never being moved into scoring position? It's amazing what the flow of a game will tell you about your team, far beyond what the stats imply. If I have a great lead-off hitter, I like to put one of my weaker hitters in the #2 hole. Why? Because he can sacrifice himself and move the runner into scoring position for my #3 and #4. Of course this isn't the best strategy for every lineup, but it's up to you to determine the chemistry of your team.

Platoon L/R when you have two equal players
There is a tiny advantage for a RH hitter facing a LH pitcher, and vice versa. (Likewise, there's a tiny advantage for a RH pitcher facing a RH batter, and vice versa.) But, the advantage is not significant enough to drastically change your VR and VL lineups, UNLESS you have two players at the same position who are about equal.

Learn the ropes for a few seasons
This site has been around for a couple years now, so there may be some owners in your league who are very comfortable with the site. Realize that you might not have instant success until you learn the ropes. This is mostly true in the popular All-Time Greats leagues, where owners have grown familiar with the players.

Accept you will have bad seasons
Sometimes you will do everything you possibly can, and your team just won't pan out. Your star pitchers will bust, your star hitters will slump. Hey, it happens. Chalk it up to a bad year, and move on to the next season!

Be sure to check out my blog post about managing a team through a season!

Tips from an actual user on the site

This was written by user Bbfan20013. Here is his advise on how to enjoy the site:

ONE ACCOUNT PER PERSON! It might seem obvious when you join the site, but I’ll explain why at the end.

DO NOT treat the strategy option as something to ignore. This is what helps you decide how to set up your team.

Offensively, there aren’t any stats that you shouldn’t look at. I would say use the stat line (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS), and speed. There is no real right way to run a team offensively. I would say always have a second catcher, a fourth outfielder, and a utility player. I like to have my fastest guy as the leadoff hitter, unless he can’t get on base (look up Moneyball memes, you’ll get the reference), and a guy that makes contact at the number 2 spot. Numbers 3 and 4 should be your OVERALL best hitters, and the number 5 and 6 guys should be for the power guys. 7 and 8 should be your worst hitters, but if your roster permits, the 9 spot should be used as a second leadoff hitter. Always platoon and switch your RH and LH lineups to prevent fatigue. If you have two players that are equal, switch them off at that position and DH. In one league, I had Greg Bird and a Japanese 1B, both lefties. Since they are so similar, I have one playing first against RH and the other DHing, and then I switch them against LH.

This is really optional, but coming from me, I say ALWAYS TURN ON PINCH HITTING AND DEFENSIVE SUBS! You also have to go into the edit lineup screen and add who you want to pinch hit and pinch hit for. MAKE EVERYONE PINCH HIT FOR EVERYONE, AND BE ABLE TO BE PINCH HIT FOR! EVEN Barry Bonds! You NEVER know. The pinch hitter could be a .220 hitter and be the one to start a rally. Also, this really helps with fatigue. Now I’ll understand if it’s a .132 hitter with 0 HRs and 1 RBI, then he can really warm the bench. For defensive subs, I like to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). .990 FLD and above won’t be taken out (unless they have terrible range) and say from .974 and below, they cannot come in as a defensive sub (unless he has good range).

Do not pay attention to W-L and ERA when signing a pitcher. W-L and ERA is a stationary stat on PC. It does not affect your player in any way. When looking at pitchers, look at WHIP, H/9 and BB/9 (and if you want SO/9). For RP, H/9 and SO/9 are a lot more important. Set up your rotation and bullpen according to these stats. I like to go from best to worst, but I suggest not ranking your bullpen like this if you don’t use a setup man and closer. Always have at least 4 bullpen arms, 5 if you don't have a long reliever.

As for intentional walks, this is really up to you. A couple of owners suggest not using it because the sim doesn't really take into account the players on base. Most times, I do see it used correctly, but I don't go on play-by-plays that often. So, if you want to try it and see how it works, go ahead. But if it seems like it's screwing up the important games, then I suggest not using it.

Don't make trades until you generally understand how to evaluate players IN THAT LEAGUE. Leagues are like snowflakes, none are the same and players act differently. HINT: Trading Dean Anna for Clayton Kershaw is an unfair trade. Do not offer these types of trades. Just don’t. You’ll regret it.

Auto Leagues
Join a few auto leagues, get a feel for the site, before joining the custom leagues. Auto Leagues are leagues that run on auto-pilot. In terms of rules, the only things you need to worry about are keepers and the type of league that you are in. Keep in mind that once you join an auto league and it starts, you cannot quit the league.

Check for free agents in auto leagues after the supplement draft or in custom leagues as soon as free agency opens up. In some leagues, there are guys that are still serviceable, and who knows? It might be someone you need.

Stick with a 2015 league first before moving on to the All-TIme Greats and stuff. The All-Time Greats leagues have a lot of amazing players, and with all that talent, players are bound to have bad years, causing bad teams. By not knowing this, new owners will typically think they’re doing everything wrong.

Custom Leagues
ALWAYS read the FULL rules before, during, and after your tenure in a league. They will help you through what to do in that particular league.

Try not to go over budget. Most older leagues allow cutting contracts at half rate, but if you're in the wrong league, you’re screwed, and you then can’t just leave because...

NEVER leave a league without informing the commish, and definitely do NOT leave after joining 15 and a half seconds ago. By leaving in this manner, you have a rep as a “hopper” (a guy that just hops from league to league). Even if your wife’s in labor and you need all the time in the world to contend to her and the baby, still, let all the commissioners know. A post on the public board if you have to cut down on leagues is also acceptable.

Real stats do not always translate in the sim. If a player has good stats but is doing horribly on the sim, don’t give up too quick. It can be a bad league. In my league, a White Sox OF performed to league average, and then the next year came out of NOWHERE to win the MVP.

Don’t try to be a commish of a league 2 weeks into your PC experience. First, stay in the test drive (under Join Leagues—>Create Your Own League) and use the tools for a little. When you’ve become real familiar with them, if there is one available, ask a commish if you could try being a sub commish. Once you feel comfortable, keep getting help from some PC veterans, then you should be a commish. I would wait 4-6 months before requesting for a league. And even then, have your sub commissioners be PC veterans.

If you have no idea what to do, ask people questions. Many of the owners here are very helpful to new owners, and might send you over that hump.

Final Tip
Final tip is a big one: DO NOT CHEAT!!! Cheating is the WORST way, commissioner or not, to ruin your PC rep. There is a “See User Feedback” option in the commish tools that commissioners use to tell if you deserve to be in the league or not. A lot of commissioners do look at the reviews, so you MUST be careful. And even after everything has cooled off, it’s kind of sad to see those reviews about you. So DO NOT CHEAT, EVEN IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT IS CHEATING, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT, JUST DO NOT DO IT!

If you do end up screwing up in some way in which commishes and owners don’t trust you and won’t let you in leagues, DON’T BEG. Just admit you did the wrong thing and focus on trying to get your reputation back. Soon, owners will trust you, and you will be treated fairly by at least 80 percent of owners. But if you cause a storm in the leagues you are in or the public boards, you will never be respected on this site.