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- GM Advice -


I am posting this because I want newer owners to have a little help when starting to manage their own BBPro team. I hope it helps some owners not make a stupid trade, or not jump the gun when their team isn't playing well, and decide "I have to rebuild from scratch". I did not write this and I don't even know who did, in fact I can't even remember where I found it to tell you the truth. Remember as you read this that our ratings and potential ratings are a little different than this persons league was, and I can guarantee you the PB.ini was different also. Anyway here it is, hope it helps.

1. Evaluate

When you first get your team you have to carefully look at what you have inherited. The first thing you should check out are the rosters of the good and bad teams in the league. You want to have a good idea of what ratings bring positive and negative results. This way you can better gauge where you want to be, and what you want to avoid. Each league will usually use it's own pb.ini and it will have an effect on what kind of attributes are most important. Can good teams win without speed, or power? How important is pitching, or is the league using a "juiced ball"?

After that you should check out your own team. Start with what stadium and city you play in. Since you play 1/2 of your games at home, you should gear your team towards taking advantage of your stadium. Is your stadium asymmetrical so to give either lefties or righties an advantage? Is your city in a high altitude? Is it a hitter's park or a pitchers park? Grass or Turf? The answers to these questions should dictate what your team should become. You don't want 5 lefty starters if you play in Fenway, or 9 slow power hitters if you play in the Astrodome.

Next you should check out your roster. This is where the real skill comes into play. Can you win it with your current team or are you a cellar dweller? Do you need an overhaul or just some minor tweaking? Are you an aging team or do you have some hot prospects? (More on evaluating players in later chapters).

A quick way to evaluate players

1. Pitchers - the most important attributes in this order AS - FB - CO. Their secondary pitches are also very important, as is EN for starters. Arm strength has to be the most important factor, because it is how fast the pitcher throws. Timing is big in FPS, and hitters have a harder time adjusting to faster pitches. After AS, the FB is important too, but a pitcher with a good FB will pitch poorer without a full compliment of pitches. A starting pitcher CAN get away with bad CO if their EN is high enough to compensate. Also, the sinker (SI) and slider (SL) are pretty important for those pitchers that throw it and are usually better than the other pitches (CU, CB, KN). The AS should be above 80 and a FB (SL or SI) above 70. CO should AT LEAST be 50, but he'll have control problems at that low. Starting pitchers should have at least 60 EN. The higher the EN, the more innings he can pitch before he gets tired.

2. Hitters - the most important attributes are PH - CH - SP. PH and CH should be at least 60, but it also depends on what position the player is at (Cs and SSs are generally poor hitters.) SP can help compensate for a poor hitter, or make a good hitter an All Star. Don't forget to look at fielding ratings. FA is important for IFs, AS is more important for OFs, Cs. FA is how good a jump a fielder gets on the ball.

3. In general, remember that 50 is average for any rating. Also remember to look at the statistical league leaders to see what kind of ratings you want.

2. Your Roster

I can not emphasize how important potentials are (in leagues where they are revealed). When evaluating your roster you MUST - MUST - MUST - look at the potentials of your players. The potential rating is the highest the player will ever get in that stat.
If Mr. X has a potential CH of 50, his actual CH will never be above that. Although actual ratings change, potential ratings never increase or decrease.

If you don't you won't know who will improve, and who won't, you will have a tough time getting any better. Especially versus the owners who do know the potentials. Most leagues will have the potentials displayed. If not, I suggest downloading BBEdit and exporting data in a format you can read (Excel, Access, HTML, etc.) Ask the commissioner of the league if you have trouble viewing the potentials.

With the potentials you can clearly see which players are going to improve, and by how much. Although potentials don't mean much to players over 30, they are critical to younger players. Players' stats increase or decrease at the beginning of a New Year. Players will usually start to decrease in ratings after the age of 28, although if the potentials are high enough, they will not decrease, and may even increase. Players will also increase after the Spring Training is completed. The amount the player will increase is dependent upon a few things. The most important are age and difference between actual and potential ratings.
If a player's actual CH is 30 and his potential CH is 90 he will increase more than another player with an actual rating of 30, but a potential rating of 60.

Obviously a young player will increase more than an older one. Another important factor is how many things a player has to increase in. If a player is close to being maxxed out (actual rating is equal to potential rating) in a few ratings (CH, PH, SP) he will increase in the other ones much greater than if he wasn't maxed out.
A player's actual CH and PH is equal to 60. His potential CH and PH also equal 60, so his SP and AS will increase much greater than normal. The same goes for pitchers. If a pitcher has 4 pitches he will improve slower than a pitcher with 2.

So with the potentials, you can get a very good idea what your team's weaknesses and strengths are. Remember that the computer adds a random factor to player ratings during the New Year and spring training.

3. Strategy

With all the advance scouting you have done, it's time to figure out a course of action. Take into account all the above and come up with a plan. Remember that with an online league you don't have to decide within 2 minutes of what you should do with your team. This is not Warcraft or Quake. Take some time, like a day, a week, or even a month. If you're not sure what to do it would be better to do nothing, rather than trade away your talent only to find you could have used them instead.

4. Trading Strategy

WARNING TO NEW OWNERS: There are a lot of owners that prey on new guys. The hands down easiest way to improve your team is to rip off other owners. Therefore the veteran GMs try to rip off the new guys, and 10 times out of 10 the new guys lose out. Don't believe me? Look around in any league and I'll bet you'll find a few teams that are stocked with the best players, and a few that have no talent. Why? The veteran guys ransacked the new owners. It happens all the time.

Three rules of thumbs will help you out:

1. Whenever you consider trading someone on your team, make sure the WHOLE league knows. Either post a message on the TT page or send an email out. Reason #1: Simple supply and demand. The more people that know about the availability of the player - the higher the price will be. Reason #2: When taking over a team you may consider trading players the old owner wouldn't have. Maybe another owner has tried to acquire that player from the old owner - only to be refused. In that owner's mind the player is still untouchable, although he isn't.

2. If you're not 100% sure about a deal DON'T DO IT! Don't feel pressured to make a deal no matter how many emails you get. A simple "no" or even "I'm not sure at this time" always works. Again you have plenty of time to make trades, so think them out. I've thought about deals for weeks before saying "yes." As a new owner, it is even better to go back on your word, than ruin your team.

3. Don't trade all your good guys at once. There are many reasons for this. As a long time owner I've seen people come into the league, trade all their good players, noticed they messed up and leave the team. The next person taking ownership will have a dried up team with no chance to turn it around. Secondly, if you trade all your guys at once, you drive the bidding down. Again, simple supply and demand. Although some people like to quickly reshape their team and trade everyone at once, there is no rush.

So let's say you think you're ready to deal, and you've decided how you would like to mold your team. First you should scout out the players (or picks!) you need. Look around the league to see what is a hot commodity, and what the league is overflowing with. Good hitting OFs and 1Bs are usually easy to find, but a good hitting SS or C is another story. In most leagues pitching is always at a minimum. You may even want to "test the waters" by seeing how many owners want for good pitching, or a good player at a certain position.

When you find a player you like you should offer his owner a trade, but make sure the whole league knows which players you want to trade. You may get a better offer by advertising than you expected. The best way to trade with another owner is to find out what his needs are. Offering him a 1B when he has 3 is not the way to trade. Try to match up your strengths and his weakness when trading.

EXAMPLE: You have three good 2Bs, and he has none. He has three good 3Bs, and you have none. Offer him a 2B for a 3B.

Remember to look at the big picture when trading. Maybe he has 3 OFs, but all of them are slow, maybe all of his relievers are right-handed, or maybe his team is growing old. You can find a need in most any team, although you may not have what that team needs are.

The second most important thing is evaluating a trade. It is also the hardest. Are you giving up too much? There is no sure-fire formula for this. The best way to evaluate a player's worth is to offer him up to trade publicly. Send an email or post a message for all to see. Actively try to trade him to other teams. Even if no one wants him, it may be better to hold on to him, rather than give him up for less. If you really don't know if you're getting a fair deal, then ask the other GM to throw in a good draft pick, like a first or second rounder. Draft picks are always good to acquire.

IMPORTANT: Don't trap yourself into a corner when trading. A lot of new owners will do this. EXAMPLE when you want to make an offer with another team send a message saying: What do you think of trading Mr. X for Mr. Y? INSTEAD OF: I'll trade you Mr. X for Mr. Y! The difference? In the first line, you are leaving yourself a way out if you decide you don't want to make a deal. In the second if you back out will be reneging on the deal.

Finally you should take into consideration what team you are trading him to. You shouldn't trade to teams in your own division or the top teams in the league, UNLESS you are 100% sure you are getting the better of the deal. WHY? Well these teams are your main rivals. If you are to ever be good, you are going to have to beat these teams. It is fine to trade your older players to them (since they will be diminished by the time you will be challenging them). It is NOT OK to trade them your prospects, high draft picks, or young stars. Imagine trading them your 19 yr old star-to-be. Then this player should be a star in 2-3 years, and you will have to face him for at least the next 10 years. A top team with 23-year-old starters will be impossible to beat for a decade! Now imagine if they keep getting young prospects and draft picks. When it comes down to it, it's better to receive less in a deal than trade a good player to a rival team.

5. Advanced Trading Strategies

Taking the Initiative

At one time or another you'll be in a scenario where you are interested in acquiring a certain player from another team. There are basically two emails you can send:

#1. I'm interested in Mr. X. If you'd consider trading him, look over my team and tell me who you like.

From this email you'll most likely get either no response (because the owner thinks you're too lazy to work out an actual offer), or an email back with all your best players on it. From that position it will take some time to come to a good deal, as you will have to explain why you don't want to trade each good player on your team.

#2. I'm interested in Mr. X. If you'd consider trading him, we can work on a few deals. If you like draft picks I can offer you my 2nd and 3rd rounders in the amateur draft. If not, it seems that you could use some help at SS and 2B. I have two good infielders in Y and Z that I'd be willing to deal. Let me know either way; I can be flexible.

By sending this email you have somewhat limited what the other owner will be looking at. Upon receiving this email, he will most probably look at the guys you offered and the deal at whole. If it's fair, he may just take it at face value, and not look to get more. In any deal you will most likely be better off if you deal on your own terms. Also by giving him the option of either deal, you have much more to work with. Some people value picks and/or prospects more than others, so by giving as many options as possibly you greaten the chance at making a deal. Another good way to work on a deal is to send an offer like this:

My 2nd round pick or Jones, SS
My 3rd round pick or Smith, SS
Mr. X.

Pretty much the same offer as the 2nd email, but a little more flexible. In general you will get a better deal by initiating the deal and giving the other owner a few options to choose from. Just remember you won't get any deal you propose (unless it's a newer owner) so try to make the offer fair.


When trading there is a strategy to underbid the other owner when negotiating. The obvious upside to underbidding is more leverage when negotiating. Should you underbid, you are more likely to get a better deal, even when compromising, since you started at a lower point. By underbidding, you greaten the possibility of ripping the other owner off.

However underbidding does have a large downside. When an owner gets two offers for the same player, he will most likely negotiate with the owner that offers more from the start. So by underbidding you may take yourself out of a possible deal from the start. Experienced owners will get offended at someone who repeatedly sends low-ball offers, and may stop dealing with them altogether (and yes I have done this a few times).

6. Rebuilding Strategies

Ok so you're going to rebuild. The most important things to get are draft picks and prospects. Its time to trade away your aging starters, and hold your young stars. The best thing to get is sure-fire prospects. Using potentials, this shouldn't be too hard. 1st round picks are a must to acquire too, but don't forget that latter round picks are important too. You can usually get a solid player (possibly a star) in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Remember that the stars in the draft usually go in the top of the first round, so if your winning % is under .500 do NOT trade your 1st rounder UNLESS you are 100% sure that the player/picks you are acquiring are going to be worth the star player you would have drafted. The best time to get draft picks is a few sims after the draft. The further away from the draft, the cheaper the picks get. Trading right before the draft for more picks can get pricey.

The best time to trade your better (older) players is in the beginning of August. Right when the pennant races are heating up, and teams are looking for a player that'll put them over the top. (The perfect time to get those top teams to give up their prospects and picks! I've seen this happen a few times.) While rebuilding you should try to get a draft pick "thrown in" to every deal you are making. You can acquire a lot of 2nd and 3rd rounders this way, which will turn into solid starters, and backups. To rebuild successfully you MUST be active in the draft. Otherwise you might have just thrown everything away.