DIAMOND MIND MANUAL
The pitching chart includes your starting rotation, rules for how your starters are to be used, a list of other pitchers who may start from time to time, and the assignment of relief pitchers to various roles.
You can assign up to five pitchers to each of the following roles:
- Starting rotation. You identify the pitchers that make up your starting rotation and the order in which they appear. You can use a rotation with three, four or five pitchers — just leave spots empty if you don’t want to use five pitchers. You also indicate whether starting pitchers should be used in strict rotation, in rotation but with the option to jump to the #1 starter if off-days make him available, or in proportion to the number of starts made in real life.
- Spot Starters. If you want a pitcher to make occasional starts, you can designate that player as a spot starter. The list of spot starters parallels the list of pitchers in the starting rotation. If you want someone to start 20% of the time in place of the number four starter, enter this player in the fourth spot in the spot starter list, and enter 20 when you are prompted for the percentage.
- Mop-up situations. You can designate up to five pitchers for the mop-up role. This role is used for the weaker pitchers on the team. They will normally be used only when your team is winning or losing by a large margin and the outcome of the game isn’t really in doubt, though they may appear in close games if other pitchers are not available due to injury or fatigue.
- Long Relief. You can designate pitchers for the role of long relief. Long relievers are generally used when the starting pitcher is replaced prior to the seventh inning, but will also be used in other game situations when required, particularly when a team is losing by a large margin and wants to preserve its better pitchers for future games.
- Setup Men. There are two lists of setup men, one to face left-handed batters and one to face right-handed batters. Setup men are generally used in the seventh inning or later in close games, but will also be used in other situations when required.
- Closers. There are two lists of closers, one to face left-handed batters and one to face right-handed batters. Closers are generally used in the eighth or ninth inning when the team has a lead in a close game, but will also be used in other situations when required.
In most game situations, the computer manager uses the first available pitcher in the appropriate list whenever a reliever is called for (excluding players on the reserve roster). So it is important that you list your players in the order you wish them to be considered, with your first choice at the top of the list.
However, there are other situations where another choice will be made. If the bullpen has been used heavily, the computer manager may use the most rested pitcher. If either team has a big lead, it may choose to use a less talented pitcher, to make sure your top pitchers are rested for future games. If a game goes into extra innings, everyone in the bullpen is a candidate to enter the game.
Enter a pitcher on more than one list if you want him to be considered for more than one role. For example, your top setup man may also be your number two closer. However, there is no need to fill up all of the lists, since the computer manager chooses from other lists if nobody in a particular role is available.
The usage mode governs how starting pitchers are selected.
Select Time mode to have the computer manager do its best to make sure that every starting pitcher and reliever gets exactly as many starts and relief appearances as they had in real life. This mode is appropriate for teams that have their real-life rosters intact, and it should NOT be used when you are playing a season with newly-drafted rosters.
NOTE: In Time mode, the computer manager ignores your rotation. Instead, it looks at how many starts each pitcher is limited to in the playing time limits section of your profile (this is usually set to match his real-life starts) and spreads those starts evenly over the season. The pitcher with the most real-life starts will be selected on opening day even if he is not listed in the #1 slot in the rotation. The computer manager will choose starting pitchers who are not in the rotation if their games started limit is greater than zero.
Select Strict mode to have the computer manager use your pitchers in the order they appear in the starting rotation. The computer manager will choose another starting pitcher only if a rotation starter is injured when his turn comes up.
Select Skip to have the computer manager use your pitchers in the order they appear in the starting rotation but skip to the #1 starter when one or more off-days have left him rested enough to start before his turn. The computer manager will choose another starting pitcher only if a rotation starter is injured when his turn comes up.
The Strict option is usually best for DMB leagues that are using newly-drafted rosters.
You can enter a number to tell the computer manager how big the starting rotation should be. Modern teams almost always use a five-man rotation. Four-man rotations were common until the 1970s, and smaller rotations were the norm a hundred years ago.
The computer manager ignores the rotation size setting when you select a Usage mode of Time. It uses this value to enforce a Strict or Skip rotation.
When you are using either the Strict or Skip rotation mode, this value tells the computer manager which rotation slot is due to start the next game. You can change this if you want to juggle your rotation during a season.
NOTE: When the computer manager selects a starting pitcher in Strict or Skip mode, it simply chooses the pitcher who is in the Next starter slot. It doesn’t look at who was used in recent games, so it’s up to you to make sure that the Next starter value is set appropriately if you are mixing human-managed games and computer-managed games for this team.
A depth chart goes hand in hand with a saved lineup, and guide the computer manager in its use of players who are not in the starting lineup. There are four roles that you can assign to a bench player in a depth chart:
- Platoon Player. A platoon is a pair of players, one who bats left-handed and one who bats right-handed. The manager starts the left-hander against right-handed pitchers and the right-hander against left-handed pitchers. If the opposing team changes pitchers, the computer manager may substitute the platoon player to get a favorable left-right match up.
- Defensive Replacement. If you specify a player in this role, the player will be inserted into a game in the late innings of games in which the team has a narrow lead.
- Utility Player. You can list up to five players as utility players at each defensive position. These players are used when a starter is injured or removed for a pinch hitter or pinch runner during a game. If you want someone to be used primarily as a bench player but make occasional starts, you can indicate the percentage of games this player should start at this position.
- Pinch Hitter. You can list up to five players as pinch hitters versus left- or right-handed pitchers.
See below for suggestions and guidelines that may help you decide how to set up your depth charts.
The computer manager currently makes defensive replacement decisions one position at a time. That means that there’s no point in trying to set up your profile to make a series of defensive shifts.
For example, you cannot tell the computer manager to insert a player as a defensive replacement in center, move the starting center fielder to right, and remove the right fielder.
You don’t have to fill the list in to make the computer manager use pinch hitters. If these lists are empty, DMB chooses pinch hitters from all available players on the bench, including starters who are resting for the current game.
However, if you choose to enter one or more players in these lists, DMB chooses only from among these players when a pinch hitter is called for. If none of these players is available, the computer manager then looks to the full bench to see if another hitter could be used.
The computer manager doesn’t always choose the first player in the list as the first pinch hitter in the game. Sometimes it will choose to keep the top player available for a better opportunity later in the game
There are eighteen tactics for which you can influence how the computer manager makes its decisions:
- five govern offensive plays: bunting, stealing, using the hit and run, base running, and taking pitches.
- four influence how frequently pinch hitters will be used in various situations: for a pitcher, for a non-pitcher, for a platoon partner, and in the late innings of a blowout.
- three affect defensive tactics: holding runners, guarding the lines, and bringing the infield in.
- and six help determine how the pitching staff is used: pitching around hitters, intentionally walking hitters, pitching out, making pickoff throws, using relief pitchers, and using closers.
The values you can set for each tactic are Most Frequent, More Frequent, Neutral, Less Frequent, and Least Frequent.
Playing the Percentages
For each of these tactics, Diamond Mind has studied play-by-play data to analyze the frequency with which each of them are deployed by real-life managers. We have examined how those frequencies are affected by the inning, number of outs, the score, base runner locations, the ability of the players involved, and other factors.
When set to Neutral, the computer manager attempts to replicate these real life patterns by choosing, for example, to bunt with only the best bunters in the most appropriate bunting situations and when the batter wouldn’t do better against this particular pitcher by swinging away. In other words, if you set everything to Neutral, the computer manager plays the percentages.
Based on an analysis of thousands of real-life games, the computer manager knows the odds of winning a game in any situation (such as when you’re the away team and down by a run in the seventh), and it knows the probability of scoring a certain number of runs in any situation. So it sometimes plays for a big inning, and sometimes it plays for one run, whichever gives it the best chance to win. And it preserves the element of surprise, so you cannot always predict what the computer manager will do in a particular situation.
If all of your manager tendencies are set to Neutral, a team with more good base-stealers will steal more often than a team with fewer good base-stealers. A team with more good runners will take more extra bases on hits and flies than a team with fewer good runners. This is equally true of real-life rosters and draft-league rosters. As a result, the Neutral setting is the best choice for most teams, especially teams with which you are not too familiar.
The other settings are intended to override the real-life manager tendencies. If you want your team to bunt less often, despite having many good bunters, set your tendency to Less Frequent or Least Frequent. If you want your team to try to pressure your opponent into making tactical errors, set your Running tendency to More Frequent or Most Frequent. But be aware that being more aggressive may mean taking more chances than the percentages would normally call for.
What the settings mean
Because there are too many variations in game situations and talent levels among different rosters, there are no precise answers to the question, “What will the computer manager do if I choose this setting?” However, you may want to consider the following when making your choices, and then play some game using the computer manager to see how it handles your team in different situations:
Stealing. When set to Neutral, the computer manager is reluctant to attempt steals with runners owning low Steal ratings, since they will be thrown out too often. If you want to further restrict your steal attempts to those players with the highest steal ratings, choose Less Frequent or Least Frequent. This will not stop your best stealers from running, but will restrain other players.
Holding runners. When set to Neutral, all runners but the worst are held. Choosing Most Frequent causes all runners to be held. Choosing Least Frequent causes the first basemen to play behind runners with low Jump and Steal ratings.
Base running. This tendency applies to singles, doubles and fly balls. It does not affect the decision to send the runner home from third on a ground ball.
Guard the lines. This setting controls the inning in which the computer manager begins to think about guarding the lines:
Most frequent, more frequent = 7th Inning
Neutral = 8th Inning
Less frequent = 9th Inning
Least frequent = never
Infield in. This setting controls the inning in which the computer manager begins looking for opportunities to bring the infield in:
Most frequent = 1st Inning
More frequent = 4th Inning
Neutral = 6th Inning
Less frequent = 7th Inning
Least frequent = 8th Inning
This tendency does not affect the decision to bring the infield in at the corners, which can occur anytime during a game to discourage a batter from bunting.