Friday, February 4, 2011

Tips for Rookies: Budgeting

Today's event is budgeting, which can be accessed by going to Admin Office > Budgeting > Set Budget.  This is an important first step in the season as it shapes the kind of team you are capable of having this year.  Think you can contend out of the gate?  Consider pumping up player payroll and making a run at some premium free agents.  Prefer to develop in house?  Turn up your prospect budgets and start building through the draft.  The choices are endless.  Here are some pointers to make some sense of things.

The Basics

In total you have $185M to divvy up between the categories of Player, Prospect, Coaches, College Scouting, High School Scouting, International Scouting, Advance Scouting, Training, and Medical.

The first category, Player, is determined by taking $185M and subtracting your values for all of the other categories.  You don't set this category directly, but it is determined by the values you set for all the other categories.

Prospects and Coaches can be set anywhere from $6M-$20M.  They can be set anywhere between this range every year.

The remaining categories can only be increased or decreased by $4M in either direction from what they were set to the previous year.  Because new worlds start with a baseline of $10M for all of these categories, you may only set them to somewhere between $6M and $14M this year.  Then next year, you can increase/decrease them by $4M more again if you desire.  The minimum value for all of these categories is $0M and the maximum is $20M.  If you've done your math, you know you cannot reach $20M in these categories until Season 3 at the earliest.

The Categories

Player:  This is the big one, the base payroll for all of your players, from ML down to Rookie ball.  If you want to mimic the Yankees, turn this up and reel in the big fish in FA.  If you prefer to model yourself after a small market team, keep this low and trade away high-salary players for younger prospects.

Prospect:  This category determines how much money you have available to pay to prospects their signing bonuses.  There are 2 ways to get new prospects, which we'll discuss more later.  They are the Draft and the International Free Agent market.  Draft players will have demands based on where they are drafted and how willing to sign they are.  International Free Agents will have initial demands, but often be bid up by other owners trying to land the same player.  Basically, turn this up if you want to try and build up your farm.

**Remember that in this world this category is capped at $25M for the entire season.  Though you can only set it to $20M initially, I will discuss budget transfers later.  Budget transfers will allow you to bring this category as high as $25M, but no higher due to our world rules.

Coaches:  This category determines how much money you have to sign your coaches.  The simplified theory is "Coaching + Playing Time = Development".  Young prospects will develop no matter what level they play baseball at, as long as they are getting playing time and their coaches are good.  The more money you put here, the more likely you'll be able to land the premium coaches when the time comes.

College/High School Scouting:  Both of these categories effect how many players you'll scout in advance of the midseason Amateur Draft, as well as how accurate the projected ratings you'll see for them are.  College players tend to be older (obviously) at the time of draft, meaning they are closer to the majors but have fewer developmental years left in them.  High school players are younger with more developmental years.  The higher you put both (or one) of these categories, the more likely it is that you will have a strong draft.  Remember to consider where you are drafting!  If you're drafting 32nd overall, it may not make sense to pump these categories too high, unless it is to plan for the future (remember the +/- $4M per year rule).

International Scouting:  Throughout the year, your scouts will inform you of international prospects/players that you are then allowed to sign using your remaining prospect budget.  Turning this category up means you will be notified of a larger selection of these players, and you will also see more accurate projected ratings for them.  This is the only other way to stock the farm outside of the draft.  The advantage to this category is that even if you have a bad draft slot, you can still land a stud prospect via this process.  The disadvantage is that these prospects tend to command much more expensive signing bonuses as owners bid them up, sometimes dumping their whole prospect budget on one player.

Advance Scouting:  This category controls the accuracy of the projected ratings you will see on players under 27 years old (all players 27 and older have projected ratings that match their current ratings--even though it is still possible for them to develop slightly).  Turning this category higher means you will be more confident that the player you are trading for will reach the projections you are seeing.  Many veteran owners will turn this down once they understand the development patterns, but I would advise against it as a rookie owner.  I have plenty of seasons under my belt and still keep this very high most of the time.  Very important if you want to make any trades involving prospects.

Training:  Training is responsible for 2 important things.  First, the higher your training the less likely your players are to get injured.  This is important as it makes it less likely that your ML stars will go down to injury, and that your precious prospects won't get injured and have their development wrecked.  Second, a high training budget will slow the ratings decline of older players.

Medical:  The slight difference between training and medical is that medical reduces the length of injuries once players are injured.  So, for example, if you have high training but low medical your injury frequency will be low but your players have a higher chance of getting injured for a long time and taking big ratings hits.  If your training is low but your medical is high, you will see a higher frequency of injuries but each injury will have a low chance of being for a long period of time.  If you just want healthy players, you'll have to turn both categories up.

Budget Transfers

Though you cannot perform these until tomorrow it is important to keep them in mind, as they may effect how you budget.  If at any point during the year you find yourself with excess Player, Prospect, or Coaches budget, you are allowed to transfer it to another category.  You can do so in $2M chunks, and you forfeit half of the money in order to do so.  But, for example, to get to the $25M Prospect cap, you could overbudget Player by $10M, then transfer all of that to Prospect, giving you $5M more to use there.  Just keep it in mind that you can do this, as you'll probably use it some day.

And that's it!  Happy budgeting!

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