Franchise Ball News
The Lions' Den: Q & A #2 Sep 11th 2019

Hello, everyone! The Lions' Den is back for its second edition. Thanks for all the questions, please continue to send them in as you think of them, I enjoy answering your questions and I'm sure many owners can learn from your questions as well!

What do you think is the most important rating attribute in a player? -New York Flames

I believe contact is the most important rating, because usually if a player has contact below 80, they will hit below .220, and I've seen players with contact over 95 and all other ratings in the 60s and 70s hit above .300. I always try to get players with the highest contact stats as possible, and assuming their contact is at least 90, then I look at power and speed, which are about equal in importance, in my opinion.

Besides the Alpha Ruby Northeast, of course, what is the best division in FB?

Well, the Delta Premier East and Northeast will both always be up there, the Epsilon Peak West is surprisingly interesting, the Theta Premier Southeast and Southwest both have a strong case for top 5, but I'd argue that actually, by far the best division in FB is the Theta Premier Northeast. The Sunnyvale Clouds and Charlotte PRNacionals were 51-win and 49-win teams last season, respectively, and the Chicago Atom Smashers and Louisville Colonels are both also excellent teams that would consistently win most other divisions in FB. So, with two of last season’s top 5 teams in the world and two more top 40 teams, I have to say the best division in Franchise Ball at the moment is the Theta Premier Northeast.

How can you tell ahead of time if you have a good, consistent relief corps?

Well, to be honest, you really can't...every season is different and you need to test your players out to see if they can perform. Your best shot at predicting how dependable your bullpen will be is looking at their scout ratings and their career stats, but both of those can be misleading. Players are inconsistent,  just like in the MLB, and you really just need to test everyone out. Having multiple pitchers with solid numbers that you can count on is very important, because you are setting your team up for failure if you go into the season with just one or two realistic options on the bullpen. Depth is important, both for rest and for replacing anyone who doesn't perform well enough.

Do you recommend the New England Patriots way (trade a player a year before he's done) or the New York football Giants way (wait until he is completely toast, and then try to trade him, and when you can't you release him)? -Seattle Marvols

I like the football analogies, haha! Well, I’m not sure how you can tell when it is a year before a player is done, but I do tend to try to trade players when they get to the age of 31 or 32. I don’t really keep players that are completely toast on my roster, so unless I’m planning on trading a player, you will rarely, if ever, see a 35-year-old or older player on my roster. So, yeah, I try to trade players before they are completely worthless while I can still get some value for him, so I’d prefer the Patriots’ way. As much as I hate the Patriots, their success speaks for itself, haha. But to be honest, it’s up to you to decide your strategy. You can’t really tell when a player will start playing terribly, so you might want to trade them even earlier. Keeping a young, deep team is definitely important. But to be honest, I personally just hate releasing players, so I’ll always support trying to trade a player a few years before he is toast, while I can still get some value for him, even if it means risking the 20% chance that he might actually have another decent season or two in him.

How do you go about bullpen use? -Newark Boxers

Well, I am notorious for absolutely despising relievers in Franchise Ball (check the archive of some of my losses in my first few seasons if you’re wondering why, haha!) so I am not an expert on this at all. But, I do know a few things: Just because a player is a reliever doesn’t mean he doesn’t need stamina. I’ve seen 90/90/20 relievers try to go for one inning, just one inning, and get shelled. It doesn’t make much sense, but it happens pretty much every time. So, never use a reliever with stamina below 60 or so, no matter what their other ratings are. Also, I personally stay away from automatic relief conditions, because you can only set the score relative to your team’s score, not the actual amount of runs given up. I prefer making changes in the in-game manager, when I actually have control over everything and can use my judgment. There is no way to stop a reliever from coming in if a condition is met unless you use in-game manager to take him out as soon as he comes in. So if, for instance, you have a condition where a reliever comes in if the game is tied heading into the 7th, and the game is tied heading into the 7th in two games in a row (or more!), the reliever might be tired and get destroyed, and if you’re not online, there is nothing you can do about it. Not to mention the fact that relievers in general are unreliable and inconsistent and I personally prefer just letting my starters go the distance (it’s worth noting that I also ensure my starters have good stamina [80 or above], so your strategy might be different if your starters don’t have good stamina). But, to answer your question, if you really want to use relievers, make sure you have multiple solid options in your bullpen so that they can rest, and in general, try to be online for your games and use in-game manager to make decisions based on the actual amount of runs given up and the stamina of your current pitcher on the mound, since relief conditions sadly cannot account for either of those things.

Thanks for all your questions, and good luck to everyone in the second half of Season 77!