Simulation baseball leagues provide an exciting challenge for fans of simulation baseball, especially with the wide variety of leagues, stadiums and historical and current players available with Diamond Mind Online Leagues.
For newcomers to Diamond Mind Online Leagues, the following provides an overview of how to get into one of the thousands of leagues available, as well as some tips to help you put together a winning club.
How Diamond Mind Online Leagues Work
The following breaks down how you play in a Diamond Mind Online League, step by step.
The Types of Leagues
When you play Diamond Mind, you have two categories for the type of league you play in.
Classic League. In these leagues, the player pool includes players from throughout Major League history, rated on the basis of their entire careers. It also includes star players from the Negro Leagues and Nippon Professional Baseball. Classic Leagues are run both with and without a DH and are open to everyone.
Single-Season (SSG) League. These leagues include separately rated versions for each season for every player who appeared in a major league game from 1920 to the present. A SSG Standard League is DH only.
Custom League. A Custom League is set up by individual team owners who create a league with their own rules, including how much players can spend putting together their team.
Pace of Play
An SSG League plays at a faster pace than a Classic Standard League: 9 games per day for SSG compared to 3 games per day for Classic. A Custom League may run at standard pace (3 games per day), accelerated pace (9 games per day) or turbo pace (18 games per day).
Getting started couldn’t be easier. You pick a league to join, name your team, and choose your home park. Then you pick players for your team.
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.
One of the big factors in constructing a team is the player salaries. All players in a Diamond Mind Online League have a salary. In a Classic League, you get $100 million to build a roster, which includes 25 active and 3 inactive players, plus weekly income throughout the season.
In an SSG Standard League, you get $120 million. Custom Leagues have a salary cap that can range from $50 million to an unlimited amount.
Picking Your Park
Diamond Mind Online includes every current Major League ballpark, plus dozens of historical parks. The key is building a team that fits your park. For example, build a good hitter’s team if you want to play at Coors Field. The spacious outfield in Dodger Stadium lends itself to a strong starting pitching rotation.
Picking Your Players
In order to understand how to assess players, it’s important to know how Diamond Mind Online Leagues develop the stats for each player.
In determining how players should perform, Diamond Mind Online “normalizes” the statistics that players accumulated during their careers, relative to their league contemporaries.
For example, in 1930 the league batting average in the National League was .303. In 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher,” it was just .243. The Cincinnati 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.
Different Types of Statistics
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 SSG 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 MLB 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 is the player’s salary. A $16 million player may have better stats than a $12 million player, but is he $4 million better? Making the right decision in this area is key to victory, both for Major League general managers and sim baseball players. You want to maximize the overall value of your roster.
Correctly assigning value to players is only one aspect 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.
A balanced approach for a $100 million cap DH league team might involve spending $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.
Tips for Winning
In other baseball sim games, newcomers usually lose until they get discouraged and quit. Or they may figure out how to “game the game.” That’s not what happens with Diamond Mind Online Leagues.
Diamond Mind creates a game as real as possible. If you build a fundamentally sound baseball team, they will prove competitive from the start. The following ideas can get you started toward building your own winning strategy.
You can 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. In either case, you want to ensure maximum value from each player for your investment. For example, the less expensive players at the bottom of your batting order get a lot fewer plate appearances over the course of the season than those at the top of the order. Also, you can apply settings that limit the innings of your fifth starter compared to your top four.
Another issue is to avoid having too much of a good thing. If you have three closers, there won’t be enough save opportunities to go around for all of them. The same can be said for left-handed power hitters or those with tons of speed on the basepaths.
Some other issues to keep in mind.
- Real GMs sometimes must compromise because the talent pool of players is limited. You don’t have the same constraints. In a Classic League, you can choose from 5,000 of the best players in baseball history. In an SSG League, it’s 75,000.
- When players slump, a real-life GM can’t cut them and spend a chunk of their salary to sign a replacement. While you can, it’s best to be patient. Too much roster churn leads to competitive disadvantage. Avoid it at all costs. Good players and good teams generally produce the results expected of them.
- You’ll receive substantial income during the course of the season (except in Custom Leagues that limit or eliminate such income). Construct your roster to include a few options for using that money to gain the greatest improvement (such as by manning a starting rotation spot with a relatively inexpensive “innings eater” you can replace later with an “ace”).
The main goal is to have a lot of fun. You’ll fall in love with baseball all over again, and playing in a sim league is also a way to make new friends with those who share your passion.