Diamond Mind Online leagues fall into two categories:
Getting started is simple: you pick a league to join, a team name, and a home park. Then you choose your players.
All the players have salaries. For Classic Standard Leagues (with or without the DH), which are forming constantly and are open to everyone, you get $100 million to assemble your roster (25 active and 3 inactive players), plus weekly income throughout the season. (For SSG Standard Leagues, which are DH only, you get $120 million to start, and these leagues are played at a faster pace than Classic standard leagues: 9 games per day for SSG compared to 3 games per day for Classic).
Custom Leagues, which are set up by individual team-owners, range from a salary cap as low as $50 million to an unlimited amount, and may be set to run at standard pace (3 games per day), accelerated pace (9 games per day) or turbo pace (18 games per day).
Once your league gets underway, you set your lineups, starting rotation, bullpen roles, bench assignments, and team and individual player tactics. You can sign free agents, propose trades to other team owners, and even take out loans to acquire better players. Every possible player, team and league statistic is tracked and at your fingertips throughout the season.
PICKING YOUR PARK AND YOUR PLAYERS
We’ve got every park currently in use in the major leagues, plus dozens of historical parks to choose from. You want to tailor your team to your park. For example, if you’re playing in Fenway Park, you’ll want some right-handed power hitters in your line up who can take advantage of the Green Monster looming out in left field.
In determining how players should perform, Diamond Mind Online® “normalizes” the statistics that players accumulated during their careers, relative to their league contemporaries. What does this mean?
In 1930, the league batting average in the National League was .303. In 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher,” it was just .243. The Reds shortstop in 1930, Leo Durocher, hit .243; the team’s shortstop in 1968, Leo Cardenas, hit .235, 8 points lower. On a normalized basis, however, Cardenas is better: he fell just 3% below the league average, while “Leo the Lip” was a whopping 20% lower.
FINDING GOOD PLAYERS
When searching for players, you can use their real-life stats, or (in Classic leagues) the stats they’ve accumulated in Diamond Mind Online® leagues (referred to as “sim stats”). (Sim stats are not searchable for Single-Season leagues.)
For real-life stats, the categories denominated by a “+” are the normalized stats, with 100 representing the league average. So a batter with an OPS+ of 120 had an earned run average 20% better than the league average. (For single season leagues, "+" stats are not searchable in our database, although you can access them through the links for each player to Baseball-Reference.)
The “sim stats” can be particularly useful for assessing player characteristics that are difficult to gauge from real-life stats, like fielding range and injury-proneness, as well as for the 100+ Negro Leagues and Nippon Professional Baseball players in the player pool for whom there are no real-life (major league) stats available. Limiting your sim stats searches to Standard Leagues only may provide a better basis for comparing players (since their performance in Custom Leagues may be distorted by the different salary caps and other unique rules applied in such leagues).
How good a player is represents just one-half of the equation, the other half being the player’s salary. You may find that a $16,000,000 player is better than a $12,000,000 player, but how much better? A key to winning in this game is to think about what each player is worth, and maximize the overall value of your roster.
Picking good value players is only one aspect of the task of building a winning team. The other is assembling a roster of players with complementary skills, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Everyone knows that you can have too much of a good thing. For example, if you have three closers in your bullpen, there won’t be enough save opportunities to go around for all of them.
Consider a standard $100 million cap DH league team. Taking a balanced approach, you might spend, say, $70 million on position players and $30 million on pitchers (although many owners have succeeded with more extreme approaches).
Your key players are your starting lineup, starting rotation, closer, and main right- and left-handed set-up men. In a DH league with a five-man rotation, that’s 17 players. For the remaining 11 players on your roster - your bench, the back of your bullpen, and your inactive reserve – you want to spend relatively little, say $6 million. That leaves you around $66 million for your starting lineup and $28 million for your core pitchers.
With that amount of cash, you could choose to build your lineup and pitching staff around a few expensive stars supported by role players, or take a more balanced approach with solid players top to bottom. You want to ensure, however, that your roster is structured so that you get maximum value from each player for your investment. Players at the bottom of your batting order, for example, will get a lot fewer plate appearances over the course of the season than those at the top of the order, and by ticking Use Spot Starter Option on your Pitching Rotation page, you can limit the use of your fifth starter compared to your top four.
Newcomers to other online simulation games typically take a beating for several seasons before they either get discouraged and give up, or learn the tricks that insiders use to “game the game” to be successful. That’s not the case here. Diamond Mind Online® is as realistic a simulation of actual baseball as we can make it, which means that if you assemble a fundamentally sound baseball team, it should be competitive.
There are, however, some important differences between Diamond Mind Online® and actual baseball, which you should take into account in constructing your teams:
If you’d like to read more, Imagine Sports has a monthly newsletter with a column, The Tipping Point. Tipping Point columns are posted to the Advice message board each month. You also might find some useful tips in these Seawolf’s Breezes columns from our Articles message board archives:
Building a Team to Take Advantage of Your Park
The main thing is to have fun. Pick all-time greats like Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige, and guys with cool names like Catfish Metkovich and Frenchy Bordagaray. Match wits with other baseball fans. Relive your childhood. Fall in love with baseball all over again. If you didn't like wha happened to baseball in the Steroid Era, our players are guaranteed not to use steroids.
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