All players do not necessarily reach their full potential in all ratings. However, players are more likely to reach their potential if they have more development points allotted. Each season, there are three sources of player development points:
- 0-10 points from a player's HIDDEN internal development ratings (you can't see these)
- 0-10 points from a team's annual investment in player development ($500K per point)
- 1-3 points from the Low Minors or AAA development bonuses
How Development Works
There are a few components to development and decline.
- Each rating has a peak age and a decline age - the age at which a player is usually fully developed, and the age at which a player usually declines.
- Each player has a "peak" modifier, which influences the peak/decline age for all his ratings equally
- Each player has a "development" and "decline" modifier which affects how quickly (or slowly) he develops and declines.
- Each team invests money in development and drills, which influences how quickly (or slowly) all their players develop or decline each season.
- On top of that are the ‘Gods of Randomization’.
Some players, especially those who are slow developers on a team that doesn't invest a lot in development, will never reach their potential. Some players, quick learners on a high-investment team, may peak quickly. Some players may see peaks at different times – for example; a PO/SY pitcher may see his PO peak in his mid-20's, only to see it decline in his 30s when his SY peaks … kind of like learning a new pitch.
It is a quite varied system. Many players do reach, or come very close to their potential, but there are absolutely no guarantees.
Minor League Development Bonus
Players develop faster in the minor leagues thanks to a development bonus. The bonus applies to players who are in the minor leagues when a season "flips" on November 2nd to the next season.
For players in Low Minors, the bonus is determined by age
- Players aged 17-19 receive +3 points of development in Low Minors
- Players aged 20-22 receive +2 points of development in Low Minors
- Players aged 23-25 receive +1 points of development in Low Minors
- Players aged 26+ receive no development bonus in Low Minors
For players in AAA, the bonus is determined by their major league (Active Roster) usage over the course of the season.
ANY player of ANY age can receive a +1 bonus in AAA – if, over the course of the season, the player had fewer than:
- 6 games played / 21 IP (for pitchers)
- 35 plate appearances (for hitters)
It is important to note that players who are Free Agents also gain/lose ratings when a league 'flips' to a new season. They only
gain 0-10 points from the player's HIDDEN internal development ratings and nothing else. Once a player is signed to a team, the other rating variables apply.
Once a player turns 23, there is no longer any advantage for that player to be in Low Minors – they can earn a +1 bonus regardless of whether they are in LM or AAA.
Once a player turns 26, they no longer receive a bonus in LM, but can still receive a bonus in AAA. In other words, don't keep anyone in Low Minors who is 26 or older.
More on the topic
Each player has an expected increase or decrease in each rating each year, and these are determined by a calculation based on:
- his age
- the rating
- his actual and potential ratings
- his internal "peak" rating (which skews his personal peak/decline age)
- his internal development and decline ratings (0-10 each)
- the investment of the team in development and drills (0-10 each)
For the AVERAGE player, each point invested in development/drills increases his development or slows his decline by 20%.
For the EXTREME player who will develop well on his own or decline slowly on his own, each point invested increases/decreases by about 10%.
For the EXTREME player who will develop poorly or decline quickly barring help from the team, each point invested could theoretically increase/decrease by 50% or more ("or more" because a player with, for example, ZERO internal development, will not develop at all without the help of his team).