One solution to the problem of accurate player ratings is to make them less accurate. This works, but leads to some really dumb results, like your scouts telling you that Ubaldo Jiminez has a "95" Control rating.
The other option is to simply turn ratings off. Baseball Mogul lets you do this, and it's actually a good option in my opinion. After all, the game is much more realistic when you turn off the ability to see player ratings. Nobody in Major League Baseball has a crystal ball regarding player abilities. You can't just give your scouts more money and magically gain access to the "true" ability level of every player in baseball. If a GM could view the Strat-O-Matic cards for every single player in his organization, the job of talent assessment would be pretty boring.
So, real front office personnel don't have a binder filled with scouting reports that say things like "Albert Pujols has a 93 Power" and "Derek Jeter has a 67 Range". Thanks to statistical analysis (by everyone from Bill James to Clay Davenport, Voros McCracken and Nate Silver)* we now know that stats are better than talent scouts at predicting player performance. In the year 2013, you are more likely to see a GM consulting PECOTA projections than asking his scouting staff whether Felix Hernandez is on the downside of his career.
But, player ratings have a long history in baseball simulations, with good reason. Ratings are convenient. Without ratings, all you have are stats. For a minor league player, you have to adjust those stats for the level of competition and the ballpark he's in. And then translate it in your head to some general sense of the player's quality, so that you can decide if he should be promoted or traded. That's not much fun. I'd rather just have a few numbers that summarize a player, so that I can spend my time building my team and playing the games.
Thus, the creation of a mode simply called "Realistic Scouting". Baseball Mogul is a computer game, but it doesn't have to feel like a simulation. You should have access to ratings and predictions for each player, but they should only be the ratings and predictions that would be available to an actual general manager.
"Realistic Scouting" includes many of the ratings you have seen before, but they are now derived from a player's actual historical (major league and minor league) stats. And, now that we are including complete real-life minor league stats, we can calculate Major League Equivalencies for every year that a player spends down on the farm.
|Sandy Koufax scouting report (click to expand)|
More Scouting Options
Finally, some cosmetic changes. You can change from the 50-100 rating system to the 20-80 scale used by Major League scouts. You can also choose 25-95 (like Art of Baseball) or 1-20 (like Championship Manager). No screen shots yet, but I am using Realistic Scouting in much of my testing and I prefer it to previous versions.
* My apologies for not including the hundreds of researchers, writers and bloggers that have helped us understand and appreciate the sport we love. On a personal level, extra special kudos to Christina, Joe, Rany and all of BP, THT, the Baseball Analysts, the authors of The Book, and "the Seans" (Lahman, Forman and Sullivan).