I thought it would be a good idea to help some of the newer players (and veterans) understand how player development works and hopefully get the most out of your prospects. I have been playing OOTP since 2004 and have a lot of experience with the engine itself. I used to frequent the OOTP boards just as much as I do here but not any longer. The main premise has been the same throughout the various titles. I am by no means claiming to be an expert, I am trying to help provide some guidance and knowledge for how to get the very best out of your prospects. I am sure people will disagree with my assessments, and that is perfectly fine. I also hope that others of you agree with what I am saying. So I hope this is helpful to some of you. Part 1: Behind the Scenes There is a lot going on "under the hood" in OOTP that although I can set variables for a lot of it, there is still randomness involved. And that is a good thing. If it was predictable, it wouldn't be a very good simulation of baseball. Above you will see our league's settings for player development and aging. I will break each of these factors down for us. And no... we aren't changing them. Batter Aging Speed: This affects how quickly batters lose their skills as they age. The higher the setting, the quicker they will lose their skills. Batter Development Speed: This affects how quickly batters develop their overalls and thus attempt to meet their potential ratings. The higher this is, the quicker they develop. Pitcher Aging Speed: Same as batter Aging speed Pitcher Development Speed: Same as Batter Development Talent Change Randomness: This is what determines how random prospects potential changes are. The lower this is set, the more their potentials will change throughout their careers. The higher? Less. Create and maintain hidden players: Unfortunately, this has no impact on our league as coaches and scouts are disabled. Show and use personality ratings: This is for the things you see on their BNN player page. Greed, Desire for Winner, Work Ethic, etc. Show and use player morale system: I will go into more detail later here, as this affects development somewhat. As you can see, there are numerous factors at work within the engine itself. Obviously there are some things that we as commissioners cannot control, but this is the basics. Part 2: Newly Drafted players So you've drafted your players and you have some scattered either in Rookie Ball, or some of the players who signed bonuses are showing up in your DFA. Where do you put them now? You need to make a commitment to these players first and foremost. They are the future of your team and you need to make sure that you are not putting too much pressure on them to perform. If they don't perform, bad things can happen. The absolute first factor that should play into your decision making is how well developed are they now? Are their overall ratings close to their potentials? Are their overall ratings very low? That sort of stuff. The lower their overall ratings, the lower in your system they should be playing. As we use MLB's actual player scouting ratings system (20-80), I don't want to be too specific here. Not everyone plays using this scale and I am trying to help you in your offline leagues and even others not on the site. Just keep in mind that the lower on your ratings scale the ratings are, the lower in your organization they should be playing. The second factor that should play into your decision making is, how old are they? Age of your prospects is very important. You have to realize that outside of a couple of once in a generation players, nobody makes the big leagues as a high school player. They have to earn their stripes in the minor leagues and grow and develop as players. I recommend setting a goal of getting your prospects to AAA by age 22 to 24 if at all possible, and then up to the big leagues by 23-25. There will always be outliers. Guys who develop really well, and guys who develop very slowly and blossom in their late 20's. But for the most part, these are good target ages. So a High School player is going to require a lot of patience. The majority of them have huge gaps between their overall ratings and their potentials. Your goal is to close this gap through managing them properly through your minor league system. I always recommend starting your High School Players professional careers in Rookie Ball. They have plenty of time, and really have a small body of work. So make them prove to you they are ready. The College Player is a completely different animal. Most come out of College in their 20's. Does this mean they can skip Rookie Ball or Short A? Of course not. If a lot of their ratings are at the lower end of the scale, they need to be in your lower levels to work on these skills. But your College Players with a lot of potential on the other hand will come out of College very, very nicely developed. This is where your judgement is crucial. Depending on their age, and what you set as that target age to make the big leagues, you have to make a decision on where to start their careers. Under no circumstances would I ever recommend putting a minor leaguer in AAA to start his career. Even the most developed players will meet excellent competition their, and he may struggle. Agree to disagree with me, but I wouldn't recommend this. Instead, you need to decide between A and AA. You need to factor in how close their overalls are to their potentials. Is the player nearly maxed and 22 or 23 years old? Throw him in AA. Is he still off the pace of his potentials? Throw him in Single A. This is ultimately a judgement call and later, I will discuss how to evaluate their minor league performances. But use this as a guideline for now.