Sunday, March 29, 2015

Baseball Mogul Diamond: Head-To-Head Records

I just got an email from a customer suggesting that we show head-to-head records between each team during the season. Well, Baseball Mogul already does that (and we've made some improvements with Baseball Mogul Diamond). So here's a quick primer for anyone who wasn't aware of the "Head-To-Head" button on the Calendar Screen:

Near the top of the Calendar Screen is a rectangle with the words "Head-To-Head". It doesn't really look like a button, but it is.

Clicking the button brings up the head-to-head records for every team, divided by league (and with a section for "Interleague Play", if applicable). An example of just the National League is shown here:

My team (the Cubs) are shown in blue. Our record against Cincinnati was 5-14. We went 4-2 against Colorado, 2-5 versus the Dodgers, and so on.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Baseball Mogul’s League Builder Feature

Although we are busy working on Baseball Mogul Diamond, we often get questions asking about existing features in Baseball Mogul. I got an email yesterday asking if it was possible to "combine teams from different years".

It is possible. It's called the "League Builder" and it's one of the primary ways you can customize your league. The League Builder lets you build a league with any team from the 1901 season through the present day. To access this feature, you first must choose to “Start a New Game” in Baseball Mogul. Then select “Custom” (as shown below):

After selecting the “Custom” option, you will be prompted with four more choices to build a league. Choose the “League Builder”:

The League Builder consists of a dialog box that lets you select any season and any team from that season. Then click "Add Team >>" to add that team to your league.

Continue until your league is complete. You can use teams from all different years, or have a few from the same year. You can even pick 30 different years from the same franchise, letting you test which year was the best team for any select organization, like this:

The League Builder supports leagues as small as four or as large as thirty. When you finish selecting the teams of your choosing, click “Done” and the league will finish setting up, after which you’ll be able to play with or against your favorite teams of all time from year to year.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Baseball Mogul Diamond: The "Skip" Button

Baseball Mogul gives you multiple ways to manage players in the last year of their contract (including those eligible for arbitration). The easiest way is to select "Expiring Contracts" in the Sortable Stats Dialog (on the Team Menu):

Then open the player's Scouting Report and click the "Negotiate" button:

However, if you still have expiring contracts at the end of the season, the game will force you to sign or release each of your players. This is frustrating, because you have to decide (for example) whether to sign Jon Lester before you know how much Felix Doubront is going to ask for in arbitration.

So ... we are adding a "Skip" button for Baseball Mogul Diamond.

It's a small feature, but for folks (like me) who wait until the end of the year to deal with expiring contracts, it makes it easier to keep your best players and still stay within your payroll budget.

Monday, January 19, 2015

9 Random Thoughts On Deflategate

1. Even though it rhymes, "deflategate" is a boring name. We should call it "ballgate".

2. The NFL requires that balls be inflated to a pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 psi. If you inflate a ball to 13.0 psi in an 85-degree room and then take it outdoors on a 50-degree day, the pressure will drop below 12.2 psi.

3. Aaron Rodgers claims that the refs themselves actually take air out of the balls. Weird.

4. The rule specifies that the refs check the balls exactly two hours and fifteen minutes before the game. As shown above, a team could inflate the balls with hot air and just let them deflate. This would appear to not violate the rules, although one could argue that it violates the spirit of the rules.

5. "The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications" and "the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game." In other words, if the balls weren't properly inflated at halftime, any blame should fall on the Referee.

6. Troy Aikman has officially lost it, as proven by his absurd claim that "deflategate" is a more serious offense than "bountygate".

7. During the press conference on ESPN, Belichick came across as somewhat credible. However, when I listen to just the audio, I can hear serious stress in his voice. If I had to bet, I'd put my money on "Bill is lying". I don't think he ordered it, but he is so detail-oriented that I'm sure he was aware of the possibility that his staff might be doing something like this on a regular basis.

8. Nevertheless, I think it's unlikely we'll find any hard evidence against Brady or Belichick.

9. Regardless of how this turns out, the NFL should reduce the amount of air in the ball anyway. This would do three things:
  • Increase receptions and interceptions (and decrease incompletions). This would increase offense and scoring, and also increase the excitement and drama that comes from interceptions and pick sixes. These are all good things.
  • Decrease fumbles. If fumbles went down by 40%, we would see teams shifting away from "average running backs who rarely fumble" (like BenJarvus Green-Ellis) and back towards dynamic superstars (like Barry Sanders). Again, this is good for the game.
  • Decrease field goals. Flatter balls are harder to kick. The NFL has been bending themselves in knots trying to cut down on field goals, from changing where to put the ball after a missed field goal to fucking up the overtime rules. It would be much easier to just deflate the balls a bit.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Viewing Head-to-Head Stats (Baseball Mogul)

When I posted some news last week about Baseball Mogul Diamond, one of the responses was a request to add "hitter/pitcher results vs. each pitcher/hitter and hitter/pitcher results vs. each team".

As it turns out, we've been tracking player-vs-player and player-vs-team results since 2007. So here's some info in case you didn't know how to access this feature:

1. On the charts tab in the Scouting Report, click on the gray box that shows what is currently being displayed (batting average, 2 outs, etc.) and you will get a dialog box that lets you choose vs-player or vs-team:

2. Stats by each team's lineup versus the other team's pitchers are shown at game start (when selecting a starter or adjusting the lineup). For example, this screen shot shows a player comparing the career performance of two pitchers against the Yankees:

3. During game play, head-to-head stats are shown under the batter's scouting report.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Baseball Mogul Diamond

Last week, I promised some news about Baseball Mogul to our newsletter subscribers. I haven't been able to pull together any screenshots, but I can let you know about some new developments, with more information to come over the next 3 months.

We're changing the name, sort of.

In early 1998, we launched a game called Baseball Mogul 99 (instead of the more accurate "Baseball Mogul 98"). This numbering scheme was chosen by our publisher, and matched other sports games, but it has since led to confusion because "Baseball Mogul 2015" includes rosters for 2014, with player stats through 2013.

So, the next version, including stats through the 2014 season, will not be called Baseball Mogul 2016. It will be called Baseball Mogul Diamond. The logic behind the name "diamond" is that we have four notable areas of new features:

(1B) Free Agent Compensation

Baseball Mogul Diamond includes up-to-date rules and regulations for free agent compensation, matching those set out by the most recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Free Agent Compensation
When teams lose players to free agency (after giving that player a "qualifying offer") they are entitled to additional picks in next amateur draft as compensation.

Many of you don't want these roster rules to slow down game play or make it more complicated. So, we have added a new "Roster Rules" dialog that lets you customize this feature.

(2B) Improved Aging Model

This includes many small changes, but the most visible is the fact that players now move "down the defensive spectrum" as they age. Bill James first defined the defensive spectrum in the 1980s, creating a list of positions from the least difficult (on the left) to the most difficult (on the right):

The best offensive players are usually found closer to the left side of the spectrum. (Note that before about 1930, 3B was actually between CF and SS).

As players age, they tend to move from the more difficult defensive positions (on the right) to the least difficult (on the left). For example:

  • Rod Carew played 2B until age 29, then moved to 1B.
  • Craig Biggio was drafted as a catcher, but moved to 2B at age 24 and moved the outfield at age 36.
  • David Ortiz started his career at 1B, then slowly shifted from being a DH in about 15% of his games to starting at DH 97% of the time.
  • etc.

(3B) New General Manager AI (Artificial Intelligence)

We're rewriting the general manager AI so that computer-controlled teams draft, sign, re-sign, release and trade players more realistically. The "Tradezilla" engine had some flaws that needed to be fixed, and the AI had other weaknesses. For example, it was common for a team to sign (or trade for) a star player, only to let him rot on the bench because the team already had a great player at that position. Teams also have serious problems with cash and salary management, among other things.

So ... the new roster rules described above required that we create much more comprehensive GM AI, and has also allowed us to fix existing problems. As many of you have noted, the addition of the roster rules solved some of the problems for us. For example, free agent compensation tends to help small market teams stay competitive with the big boys.

(Home) Improved User Experience

Okay. There are many smaller improvements, so I just lumped them into "improved user experience".

We've improved end-of-season contract negotiations by making it easy to skip a player and come back to him later. We also show you how much payroll you have in expiring contracts, to make it easier to stay within your budget.

You can now view player projections (not to be confused with "predicted stats") on the Leaders Page and in the Sortable Stats Dialog.

Pitcher usage has been adjusted (yet again) to not only match recent trends by managers, but to ensure accuracy in all historical eras. We have also added more adjustable parameters, in case you want to tweak the simulation results to your liking.

And of course we are continuing to respond to your bug reports and suggestions in our forums.

Thank you for continued support and feedback, and please stay tuned for more info!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Miss You, Jonas Gray

As a Patriots fan, I loved watching Jonas Gray overpower the Colts in Indianapolis. On Sunday, Gray become the first running back since the Great Depression to rush for as many touchdowns as the rest of the league combined.

However, as a Patriots fan, I already miss Jonas Gray. That's because I know that he won't be here for long. Unlike Tom Brady, he's not going to retire in a Patriot's uniform. Bill Belichick doesn't keep running backs around for long (unless he can use them in the passing game, like Shane Vereen or Kevin Faulk).

Remember LeGarrette Blount? Of course you do. He also ran for four touchdowns in one game, also against the Colts. In the playoffs! Two months later he signed with the Steelers.

Belichick feels, perhaps correctly, that today's running game is about power blocking and play-calling, not about star running backs. This means that he can pick Jonas Gray off the scrap heap and turn him into a star. Belichick also knows that running backs get old fast. Put these two facts together and it means that we probably won't be seeing Jonas Gray in a Patriots uniform next year.

Jonas, I miss you already!