What do I do during the preseason?
The preseason is one of the most important and most active times of the season in CSFBL. Not only does hope spring eternal for all 24 teams, but there are a lot of tasks that are best handled in the preseason. Here’s a list for easy reference.
1) Set allocations: This is probably the most important Spring Training task. Your 4 allocations (player development, player drills, pitching scouting and batting scouting) lock during the 4/1 sim and stay locked in place until 4/1 of the next season. And there are no do-overs. Your budget for allocations is equal to the difference between the league salary cap and your front office payroll. In other words, If your league’s salary cap is $60 million, and your front office payroll is $45 million, you have $15 million for allocations. For more details on how allocations work, read this >> Front Office Allocations
*HELPFUL TIP* - A great way to get front office payroll as low as possible is to keep all “Zero Experience” players in the minor leagues until after the Allocation Lock. Keep some low salary players around to fill active roster spots until your allocations locked. And keep those high salary rookies off your front office payroll! A player that makes $200,000 a year might make 10+ consecutive opening day rosters without ever seeing any game action once the season starts.
2) Sign Free Agents: As teams try to maximize their allocation budgets, quality players are always getting cut in the preseason. So a great way to add talent and fill holes is to scoop up the salary cuts from other teams. Keep checking back to your league’s transaction page to see who recently got dropped. But keep in mind…if you sign experienced players before 4/1 they’ll count against allocations. So for the marginal free agents, you may want to wait until after 4/1 to try to sign them. But be aware, there’s always a signing frenzy during the first 10 days of April so don’t expect every free agent you want to sign with your team. For more details on how free agency work, read this >> Free Agents
*HELPFUL TIP* - In the preseason, free agents sign at regular intervals. For 8/day leagues, free agents sign every 4 game days, starting with March 4th. So you want to get your bids in quickly and pay close attention. Unlike in the regular season, in the preseason you can put in a bid on someone and have him sign with your team at the next sim. For example, If you place a bid any time between 2/28 and 3/3, he’ll signs on 3/4. (Unless the player is over-bid, then he may sign even sooner)
3) Low Minors Position Moves: Position players can change positions while in low minors using the Low Minors Position Manager accessible from your team’s “Manager” page. The ONLY time of the season this tool can be used is in the preseason, prior to the start of the 4/1 sim. And the player MUST remain in Low Minors for the entire season for the change to take effect after the flip to the new season. Players in the midst of a position change will appear with an asterisk next to their name on your roster page. For more details on how LM position changes work, read this >> Low Minors Position Changes
*HELPFUL TIP* - Changing position in the majors is not ideal. To do so, you have to play a player out of position for 80+ games (much more for a catcher), and then their ratings adjust the next season, but the adjustment is much more advantageous when the players are young and still in low minors. So look over the defense for all your position players in LM. If you have a low range SS…move him to a position he’ll be more successful at. If you have a big arm somewhere, maybe they’d make a better catcher. In MLB, players get drafted out of college and high school and often move to a new position when assigned to their rookie ball league. Don’t forget to apply this strategy to CSFBL too.
4) Trade: Trades happen all season, from the minute spring training starts to the trade deadline on August 31st. But many leagues experience the most trade activity in the preseason. Teams looking to maximize allocations may be more willing to trade that veteran all-star to clear up salary and pave the way for a youngster to come up. Many owners are eager to trade veterans for draft picks or prospects while other owners are eager to acquire major league ready talent and are willing to trade their picks and prospects. The preseason is a great time for these parties to come together. For more details on how trading work, read this >> Trade System
*HELPFUL TIP* - Go to your league’s forum and post your trade block. And post what you’re looking for. Let people know what you need and what you’re offering and you’ll get people beating a path to your trade window. Also, check out the new Player Search feature to hone in on trade targets. If someone has 2 good shortstops eating up front office salary, they’re likely to be willing to trade one. Player Search can help you find teams that have excess at one position, or teams that have a void at a position that you have excess in.
5) Adjust your stadium dimensions – (only relevant for leagues that allow stadium changes) Stadium dimensions lock at the start of the 4/2 sim, so if you want to do any “construction”, you need to do it before then. Take a look at your teams strengths and weaknesses. Do you have strong defense? Ground ball pitchers? Lots of sluggers? Maximize your home field advantage by adjusting your stadium to the dynamics of your team. For more details on how stadium setting works, read this >> Stadiums and Stadium Models
*HELPFUL TIP* - There’s really no magic tip for setting stadium dimensions. The same change that will help your hitters is likely to hurt your pitchers and vice versa. The same change that is likely to help your pitchers is also likely to help your opponents’ pitchers too. So translating stadium dimension to wins can be tricky to say the least. Tinker with stadiums. Pay attention to the changes you see. You also might want to look at leagues that have fixed settings to see the impact. For example, CSFBL Justice is a max stadium league…all stadiums are maximum size. Triples are super high. Homers are relatively lower. ERA tend to skew higher.
6) Ask your commissioner to move a prospect back to Low Minors –This doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the preseason, but we’ll add it to the list regardless. Commissioners and admins have the ability to move any player that has NEVER played a single game, back to low minors. So if you called up a 19 year old for salary reasons or whatnot, and you want them moved back to low minors, ask your commissioner. For more details on player reassignment, read this >> Player Reassignment Tool
*HELPFUL TIP* - If a player is age 17 to age 22 and has never appeared in a single major league game, they will develop better in low minors than if they are in AAA or on the active roster. It’s an easy request to fulfill, so don’t be shy…reach out to your commish! But if the player is 23 or older, there’s no advantage to being in low minors, so 23+ can stay in AAA and enjoy the same development that they would have in low minors. (26+ will actually develop better in AAA than in LM)
And there you have it….6 things every CSFBLer should pay attention to in the preseason.