Binary Options Benzinga

2 months back at trading (update) and some new questions

Hi all, I posted a thread back a few months ago when I started getting seriously back into trading after 20 years away. I thought I'd post an update with some notes on how I'm progressing. I like to type, so settle in. Maybe it'll help new traders who are exactly where I was 2 months ago, I dunno. Or maybe you'll wonder why you spent 3 minutes reading this. Risk/reward, yo.
I'm trading 5k on TastyWorks. I'm a newcomer to theta positive strategies and have done about two thirds of my overall trades in this style. However, most of my experience in trading in the past has been intraday timeframe oriented chart reading and momentum stuff. I learned almost everything "new" that I'm doing from TastyTrade, /options, /thetagang, and Option Alpha. I've enjoyed the material coming from esinvests YouTube channel quite a bit as well. The theta gang type strategies I've done have been almost entirely around binary event IV contraction (mostly earnings, but not always) and in most cases, capped to about $250 in risk per position.
The raw numbers:
Net PnL : +247
Commissions paid: -155
Fees: -42
Right away what jumps out is something that was indicated by realdeal43 and PapaCharlie9 in my previous thread. This is a tough, grindy way to trade a small account. It reminds me a little bit of when I was rising through the stakes in online poker, playing $2/4 limit holdem. Even if you're a profitable player in that game, beating the rake over the long term is very, very hard. Here, over 3 months of trading a conservative style with mostly defined risk strategies, my commissions are roughly equal to my net PnL. That is just insane, and I don't even think I've been overtrading.
55 trades total, win rate of 60%
22 neutral / other trades
Biggest wins:
Biggest losses:
This is pretty much where I expected to be while learning a bunch of new trading techniques. And no, this is not a large sample size so I have no idea whether or not I can be profitable trading this way (yet). I am heartened by the fact that I seem to be hitting my earnings trades and selling quick spikes in IV (like weed cures Corona day). I'm disheartened that I've went against my principles several times, holding trades for longer than I originally intended, or letting losses mount, believing that I could roll or manage my way out of trouble.
I still feel like I am going against my nature to some degree. My trading in years past was scalping oriented and simple. I was taught that a good trade was right almost immediately. If it went against me, I'd cut it immediately and look for a better entry. This is absolutely nothing like that. A good trade may take weeks to develop. It's been really hard for me to sit through the troughs and it's been even harder to watch an okay profit get taken out by a big swing in delta. Part of me wonders if I am cut out for this style at all and if I shouldn't just take my 5k and start trading micro futures. But that's a different post...
I'll share a couple of my meager learnings:

My new questions :

That's enough of this wall of text for now. If you made it this far, I salute you, because this shit was even longer than my last post.
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Detailed Review of UBTG

As posted at BoardGameGeek several years ago:
I am definitely a fan of what Gillespie Games has created with "Ultimate Baseball the Game" (UBTG). When I read what others have written about it, I come away feeling like it is both a misunderstood product and one that has not found its audience yet. The web site for the game gives a very detailed account of how it is different from 'replay' games like Strat, but I think that many people gloss over that and focus on the web site's claim that the game is a "simulation of baseball". This seems to cause a misalignment of expectations.
The majority of baseball gamers seem to interpret "simulation" a very specific way, a way more aligned to troves of real life statistics used to get the most realistic possible outcome for a proposed "what if" scenario with limited "player elected" decisions. UBTG isn't built to do that, which I think frustrates many people who are looking for a "simulation". UBTG is also not a "replay" game. It takes hours to play and doesn't have a sanctioned solitaire mod (though it can be played solitaire with some effort - more on that later).
So what is UBTG delivering? To me, instead of being a "statistically driven simulation", UBTG is actually a "baseball strategy role playing game" where, at any given moment, the player must make strategic decisions in the role of: -The general manager -The manager -The pitcher -The batter -The baserunners -The fielders
When I say "moment" above, I really mean it - far from being a "set your roster, roll the dice a few times and write down the winner", UBTG actually includes some "bullet time" play for events like infield grounders where fielders and batters have to make split second decisions about, for the batting team, whether to try and take a base, and for the fielding team, where to go with a throw. You will spend minutes on a play that takes seconds in real baseball, but for the player who wants to 'role play', this is a good thing! UBTG is a first edition and, in my opinion, not quite perfectly engineered, but it's exceptional as a first effort.
Now, the pitch by pitch mode Diamond Mind Baseball (DMB) comes close and has many of the same features as UBTG and (depending on how you see things) the "advantage" of automating some of the action, while also including more 'real life stats' (more sophistication for injuries, ballpark factors, wind) into its machine, UBTG seems to be the most complete "Baseball strategy role playing" game there is, where I'm measuring completeness not in the number of statistics used (where DMB and several others have a great deal more) but in the number of 'player elected' decisions that have to be made by a live person on every pitch and ball-in-play.
So, if you are wanting to simulate a lot of games quickly - if you are wanting results derived from a specific season from a specific player - if you want columns of SABR data down to the thousanth's place in decimals all feeding into the results - you can safely stop reading knowing that UBTG is not going to satisfy your needs. On the other hand, if this notion of head to head strategic decisions using a simplified but still highly-thought-out statistics model, over several hours (it will probably take you all of 4 hours to play your first "advanced" game with all the rules) appeals to you, and you are ready to learn more about "Baseball strategy role playing", read on:
While this review will be long, for at least a taste of brevity I am revealing only the full 'advanced' game. There is a simplified 'basic' game option also, though while it is more accessible it lacks much of the strategic bite of the advanced version and feels much more luck driven. Anyway, putting that aside, let's examine the roles to play in the advanced game.
The first role you must play in this baseball RPG is the General Manager. So let's talk about how you select your players in UBTG. The UBTG team includes a baseball historian who has indexed 19th century players, negro league players, dead ball players and modern players using his own proprietary (and private/unavailable, at least so far) model, so that you can have 'dream matchups' of any of the above. Satchel Paige vs. Barry Bonds - OK... Babe Ruth and Frank Thomas in the same lineup? For sure...
Here are the details of the simplified statistics model:
BATTING: When batting, along with right/left handedness it looks like this: 1) A 'hitting rating' integer up to 15 - of the real life stats, hitting rating feels closest to on-base percentage... a higher hitting rating will of course lead to more hits on balls in play but it will also lead to more fouls and balls on balls not in play. We'll cover an example of this later.
2) A 'power rating' up to 15 - of the real life stats, this feels closest to slugging percentage... And in fact slugging record holder Babe Ruth has the highest power rating in the game. On base hits, power rating is applied to determine whether a 'base hit' outcome is actually a double, single, or home run. The specific mechanic is that you must roll <=2x the power rating with the game's 30-sided die (the only die in the game) in order to qualify for a 'power upgrade chance', and then, based on the power rating, you roll agin to determine whether you got the upgrade to a double, triple or home run (some upgrade chances fail and the base hit remains a single).
3) A 'speed' rating up to 15 (though no one has earned a 14 or 15 yet) - UBTG's historian differentiates pure speed from 'baserunning acumen' but of course when batting speed is all about getting around the bases.
Then there are a series of binary 'skills' for batting that you either have or you don't, which are: 4) 'Keen Eye' -- this reduces swinging strikes that would lead to a strikeout. For example, a given die roll outcome will look like this: "Strike but Foul if Keen Eye"
5) 'Situational Hitting' -- this skill only can be used with <2 outs and certain baserunner conditions, but it's all about compromising some power (literally abandoning the ability to use 'power upgrade') to 'hit behind the runner' which, overall makes runner advancement more likely even if the batter makes an out.
6) 'Clutch Hitting' -- this still only can be used with runners in scoring position or in the 9th/later if the batter can tie or win the game -- it is definitely powerful as there are several die rolls that are "base hit if clutch hitting, otherwise ball' - definitely a big difference
7) 'Base Running' -- This is applied as a modifier to die rolls in any baserunning situation that calls for a die roll
8) 'K+' -- Actually a 'negative' skill, this increases the likelihood of striking out. It's applied differently than the other skills in that it actually is applied to affect a real-time increase in the pitcher's attribues.
9) 'Team Leadership' -- The UBTG team believes in the competitive value of having 'team leaders' (Think of guys who were player managers or guys who were a 'coach on the field' like Joe Morgan) in the dugout or in the field... if a team has team leaders in the dugout it earns 1-5 one-time use chits that can be redeemed to: a) Temporarly boost a batter's hitting rating b) Nullify advantages that the pitcher would get from throwing his "best pitch" (more on that later) c) Get a 'great jump' for a base stealer
So that's batting.
FIELDING: Now, in the field, it works like this:
1) A 'fielding rating' - this slams together many of today's advanced defensive stats into one- in gameplay though it shows up as a major factor in whether extra bases and other unforced runner advances will be successful or not. Combines fielding, throwing and tagging.
2) A binary skill of 'big throw' - relevant only for catchers and outfielders, the BT is used as a die roll modifier which increases the likelihood of a throw-out on advancements. Most analogous to "base running" skill for batters.
3) List of position eligibility - you can play out of position in UBTG but with severe penalties in fielding rating.
PITCHING: Finally, for pitchers you have the following:
1) A 'pitching rating' up to 15 that is I suppose closest to 'WHIP' -- it's really treated like the inverse of the 'hitting rating' above. I'll show why with an example a bit later.
2) A 'K rating' up to 4 that is closest to 'strikeouts per inning pitched' -- certain play outcomes will turn BALLS or FOULS into STRIKES if the K rating is high enough, but more importantly, K rating also one of two factors that determines 'pitcher type', which differentiates entire columns of results based on a spectrum of command and control guys to more 'wild' strikeout pitchers
3) Binary skill of 'Big game' (starters) and 'Save' relievers that legitimately functions as a 'do over' for certain pitches... very powerful in key moments of the game
4) Binary skill of 'pitch call' for catchers which functions exactly the same as (3) above
5) Binary skill of 'pitcher endurance' which means that fatigue begins 20 pitches later (starters) or 10 pitches later (relievers) than normal
6) Binary skill of 'knuckleball' which influences a few results, though frankly makes no difference most of the time (a minor disappointment, but I can forgive the designers on this one)
7) Binary skill of 'pitches to contact' which creates more strikes and more contract, along with fewer strikeouts and walks. This is the other factor in 'pitcher type', along with K rating
Finally, remember that 'Team Leadership' skill from before? If the fielding team has team leaders 'on the field' then it can use chits to: a) get the 'element of surprise' advantage on a pickoff throw b) prevent (really 'nullify') ERROR results that occur from die rolls
So there you have it - that is the full universe of skills as derived by the UBTG team and their historian. Assembling your 25 man roster allows for a wide range of flexibility in choosing which skills you want to prioritize. Setting your line-up is similarly fully up to you, as is whether or not to use the DH.
Now you've picked your players and are ready for the first pitch - here's where you get to the heart of the UBTG experience - the pitcher batter battle. Here's how it goes down:
First, pitcher tells the batter whether he's throwing 'Normal', 'Strike mode' or 'Ball mode'. This simulates that a major league hitter can get a 'read' on pitches which look 'dead red' or 'clearly a ball'. That said, this is an imperfect skill, so of course if you take a pitch in 'ball mode' it still might be a strike - and if you take a pitch in 'strike mode' it might still be a ball, though the odds are heavily against this in both cases for all types of pitchers.
Next, the pitcher chooses the pitch to throw -- every pitcher in the game has the same four pitches, which are four colors instead of specific pitch names. White and Black are fast and Green and Red are slow, which is meaningful for stolen base attempts and on third strikes, where a guess of at least the correct speed can give a chance to turn a strike into a foul. where it gets more interesting is that each pitcher has at least one 'best pitch'. That best pitch is determined by what type of pitcher it is. Remember, pitcher type is based on the combination of 'K rating' and 'Pitches to contact'. For the four colors there are four pitcher types (Contact<=1k, Contact>=2k, non-contact<=1k, non-Contact>=2k) each of those types has its own specific column of possible results correlated to specific die rolls. As you might expect, the number of die rolls that could lead to a swinging strike for the non-Contact>=2k pitcher is the highest - and in particular that pitcher type's 'best' pitch can convert a number of FOULS into swinging strikes.
Meanwhile, simultaneous to the pitcher choosing the pitch to throw, the batting team chooses the pitch to swing at, or to not swing at all and take the pitch. The pitcher choice and the batter choice are done by concealing a colored marble (white/black/green/red) in your hand and holding it out over the board, then a simultaneous reveal. The number one factor in the results of a given pitch is whether the batter has guessed right or guessed wrong.
Exploring that factor further, very specifically, the heart of the action are the game's "play results tables" (PRT) which are a series of grids starting from '1 or less' as the index value for the top row and '34+' as the index value for the bottom row. There's a grid for each possible permutation of baserunners. Results <1-13 are unique to those permutations, while results 14-34+ are common for all permutations. As you might imagine, each index value represents a modified die roll of the 30 sided die. If there are no modifiers and you roll a '4', you look in row 4 for the result. Now, onto the columns of the table - there is one column for a RIGHT GUESS that's used for any right guess regardless of pitcher type. From there, rows 1-13 of WRONG GUESS are common for all pitcher types, while rows 14-34+ have unique columns for each of the four pitcher types. We'll talk about some of the modifiers below, but for now let's compare right and wrong guesses.
Considering RIGHT GUESSES, a lower die roll is generally better for the batting team - in fact '1 or less' is an unconditional home run even if using the 'situational hitting' skill (just over the fence!) -- Meanwhile considering WRONG GUESSES, a lower die roll is generally better for the pitching team.
The chain of results for RIGHT GUESSES looks roughly like this from low to high die values: HOME RUN>Hard to field base hit>Base hit>Conditional base hit (for example only if clutch hitting, or if you can roll again less than the batter's hitting rating)>BALL>FOUL
Over on the WRONG GUESS side, where the lower numbers favor the fielding team, the results generally look like this: Double/Triple Plays>Force outs and ground outs>Fly outs>Strikes>Fouls>Balls>Single (a wrong guess can be a single only in the 34+ row)
Of course many play results are conditional - some examples are: - Base hit IF batter has clutch hitting skill and there are runners in scoring position -- but otherwise a BALL - BALL unless pitcher threw best pitch, in which case FOUL instead - STRIKE, unless batter has keen eye, in which case FOUL instead - FOUL, unless pitcher's current K rating is 3+, in which case STRIKE instead
While there is MUCH more to the game than just this table, this is the heart of the action and will drive the results more than any of the other elements in the game. So, given that, some readers may wonder if such a big swing in possible results from RIGHT GUESSES (which almost never result in any kind of out) to WRONG GUESSES (which almost never result in any kind of hit) leaves too much in what is essentially a 'guess which marble I picked' question. Perhaps this would be true if all marbles were equal and the pitcher had as much of a reason to choose any one color as any of the others, which actually is indeed the case in the 'basic' game. But this is not just rock, paper scissors, because:
1) Right guesses have +6 added to them (i.e., to the die roll) when 'best pitch' is used, and some wrong guesses have -3. Remember, right guesses favor the hitter the lower the die roll, and wrong guesses favor the pitcher the lower the die roll, in general 2) All pitchers also have a 'second best pitch' which can add +3 to right guesses 3) Contact>=2k pitchers (Greg Maddux) actually have THREE of the four pitches which can modify die results on right/wrong guesses 4) The pitch speed (recall two are 'slow' and two are 'fast') can affect the success of a stolen base 5) Many results in the PRT are conditional to the 'best pitch' (BALL unless best pitch in which case FOUL, for example) 6) For the non-Contact >=2k pitchers, their 'white' best pitch, a 'power' fastball, drives significantly more swinging strikes than any other pitch in the game
Any 'guessing game', most famously rock paper scissors has these thoughts on the part of the guesser? a) Will he repeat what he just used last time or change? b) What does he usually do first? c) What does he do after a 'win'? d) Whad does he do after a 'loss'?
All of that thinking is part of being at the plate in real baseball ('he's started the last three batters with fastball, so I'm looking for the fastball') and in UBTG as well - but in addition to that, the batter has to consider:
e) Since the pitching team knows they'll get the best modifiers on the die roll with a 'best pitch', should I guess the 'best pitch'? Or, will they anticipate that I'm going to look for them to throw the best pitch and pick something else to make sure of the WRONG GUESS? f) If I don't choose to look for the BEST PITCH, would they choose the second best pitch? Or is that too obvious? g) If there's a runner on base, will they choose a FAST pitch or will they go against the grain knowing I'll be looking for a FAST pitch h) If there's 2 strikes and it's a non-contact >=2k pitcher, do I for sure go with the BEST PITCH knowing that I'll likely strike out swinging for anything else? i) Do I just 'take' the first pitch (not showing a corresponding marble) to learn tendencies of how he starts off batters, then try to capitalize?
All of this brings a real richness to the 'cat and mouse' game, but there's even more! When the pitcher has a heavy advantage over the batter (comparing 'pitching rating' to 'hitting rating' incl. handedness), the batting player can only use 3 colors (and only 2 for the largest advantages, such as when pitchers bat) -- in these instances it's possible for the pitching team to get the batting team to exhaust all possible guesses while the at bat is still in progress and then move to one of the other colors, forcing either a WRONG GUESS or for the batting team to just take pitches and hope that the pitcher can't find the strike zone. Similarly, if the hitter has a big advantage (or in STRIKE MODE) the pitching team might have to reveal a marble and only use the other three in choosing, making even a random guess change from a 25% to a 33% chance of hitting a RIGHT GUESS.
Batters can try and swing at pitches in BALL Mode but any right guesses (particularly from contact pitchers) will have modifiers added. In STRIKE MODE, both RIGHT and WRONG GUESSES have -2, reflecting that if a right guess happens on dead red, this will be very solid contact, but if a wrong guess happens on dead red (you read dead read fastball and it was actually a changeup) this will hurt contact.
Remember those ratings from before? Pitching rating minus hitting rating (including +1 to hitting for opposite hand and -1 to hitting for same hand) = PITCHER ADVANTAGE and gets added to right guesses - but if Hitting rating is > pitching rating then that's BATTER ADVANTAGE and it's added to WRONG GUESSES.
The batting team's other surprise options include BUNT (which the pitching team can also surprise by charging in to try and field) and SITUATIONAL HIT (discussed above). Bunts have an entirely separate two grids used to determine first a) whether the bunt was laid down successfully and then b) who fields it, and determining any putouts.
This pitch by pitch faceoff is the biggest strategic decision in the game but it's far from the only one- picking up the pace of the review a bit, here are other decisions that must be made:
-The rule on BASE HITS is that as the batter goes, everyone else goes... that is, if batter gets a single, everyone moves up a base. BUT, nearly all base hits allow for all runners to 'Go for the extra base' (and maybe even an extra 2 bases, rare but possible) as a player elected option. For each runner, you calculate FIELDING DIFFICULTY (FD) which includes both a die roll but then also factors such as - The batters power (mainly only on fly outs, since power for BASE HITS comes via the POWER UPGRADE mentioned earlier) - Runners speed - Whether runner has 'base running' skill - Whether runner had risky lead - Whether runner was 'forced' - Whether there was a 3-2 count with 2 outs - What base runner is running to - Where on the field the ball was hit (die roll, slight bias to pull for all hitters) - Fielding ability of throwetagger - Whether thrower has 'big throw' - and more...
Once FD is calculated for all the runners, the batting team can decide who all is going to go for the extra base - at this point the fielding team gets to decide where to attempt the putout, which could lead to a decision like "Do I take the chance to throw out the lead runner at 20% chance of success or do I try to throw out the trailing runner at 35% chances of success"? The batting team can play it conservative and only advance if it's a sure thing or run the risk even if there's only a 3% chance of success! By the way, outfield throws from base hits to 3B or Home can be "cut off" as well... for example, gameplay might go like the following example - emphasis on the word DECIDES:
-With 1 out, Batting team has runner on 1st - Batter hits double to CF -Batting team decides to 'go for the extra base' to score the runner from 1st after calculating 70% chance of success of that runner scoring and 40% chance of batter-runner reaching 3rd (if the CF threw directly to 3rd) -Fielding team decides to throw home -Batting team decides to now advance the batter-runner to 3B at 50% chance of success (with the throw being cut off), baiting the fielding team to cut off the throw home to ensure the runner scores -Fielding team decides whether to let the throw go home or cut off and throw to third
On infield plays, the intensity of the decision-making gets dialed up even further with something only found in UBTG, called "immediate unforced advance" and "delayed unforced advance". I'll use an example to explain again:
1-With 0 out, Batting team has runner on 1st and 3rd - Batter decides to bunt 2-On the bunt, the batting player decides to place the runner at 1st in "Immediate unforced advance" -- this means he's not running with the pitch, he's waiting to make sure the bunt isn't popped up and only running once the bunt is down fair. But the runner on third is maintaining their normal or risky lead and not running yet. -Now there's a die roll to determine who fields the ball, and FD is calculated for all of the following: a) The forced runner headed to second b) The batter-runner c) The runner on third, who, as soon as the fielding player might throw to second or first, has the option to make a "DELAYED UNFORCED ADVANCE" and dash for home while that throw is occurring, and also has the option to MAINTAIN RISKY LEAD (and get thrown behind) or to return to the bag. The batting player must decide this option d) Now the fielding team decides where to attempt a putout - let's assume for now that the runner on third MAINTAINED RISKY LEAD - this means the fielding player gets to decide between --Trying to pick the runner off of 3rd --Trying to throw out the forced runner at 2nd --Trying to throw out the batter runner --Do nothing (which would mean that everyone is safe but ensures that no one would score) Now let's assume the fielding team decides to try and gun down the runner at second - here the batting team now must decide whether to execute the DELAYED UNFORCED ADVANCE of the runner from third to home, knowing that, assuming the 1B fielded the bunt, that a 3-6-2 double play is possible.
That's a lot of decisions - and of course they don't happen in 'real time', but it's a great way to get 'inside' the guts of this bang bang play. When you get several runners the FD calculation can drag a bit because of all the modifiers, but the more you repeat the process, the faster you get at determining FD.
Other decisions in the game: -Deciding whether to try and pick off runners with a risky lead at the risk of a wild throw -Deciding whether to try and steal a /base, or hit and run -Deciding when to use the 'situational hit' -Deciding when to apply defensive sets including 'play in for bunt', 'play in to prevent score', 'play corners in' -Deciding when to make a substitution -Deciding when to dive for a ball which is eligible for the 'dive play' (3.3% of base hits, die roll '20') -Deciding when to use your chits (this will all make more sense now), including: -Pitching team using "big game"/"save"/"pitch call" chit to nullify a RIGHT GUESS in a critical situation, making it a 'do over' so hitting team has to guess again (the larger effect being making it even harder to get that critical 'right guess' against the best pitchers) -Hitting team using "team leadership" to nullify the modifiers from a BEST PITCH, which might turn am inconsequential BALL into a game winning BASE HIT
So that's the theme... decisions decisions decisions - making this a true "Baseball strategy role playing" game. By the way, yes, the strikeout pitchers will tend to get more strikeouts, the best hitters will tend to get more hits, and so on-- but let's get real -- 'simulation' is secondary here. You could invent your own team of made up players and assign them the attributes above since the model is so simple! You could even have a 'salary cap' for assigning out fixed amounts of rating points and chits.... how would you use them? Would you create a babe ruth and a nick punto or would you create a balanced team?
Gillespie has done an amazing job and this is very fun if you like to get 'inside the head' of all the baseball roles. I do see a few opportunities to improve, which are as follows (Gillespie is already thinking about many of these):
1) Base hits on WRONG GUESSES -- probably my biggest suggested change, along with outs on right guesses -- It is nary impossible to get a base hit on a WRONG GUESS when facing a good pitcher (and the game is full of good pitchers). To have a die roll of 34 requires a significant hitter to pitcher advantage and if a contact pitcher throws their best pitch only the maximum 7 point hitter advantage can counteract the -3 on a WRONG GUESS and still result in a hit, which is always a soft single! This doesn't seem right... Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera... these hitters can be looking fastball and then 'make the adjustment' to the offspeed pitch -- maybe giving up a little power (though not as much as 'situational hitting') but still being able to drive the ball. It's taken me a while to get there but I now believe that the game is too penalizing for the best hitters on 'wrong guess' pitches. At a minimum, it feels like if I guessed fast and got slow and had one of these great hitters, I should not have to roll a 30 and then also have at least a 4 point advantage to get a single... I'm not sure how to get this into the game - whether the WRONG GUESS PRT just needs to be a bit more forgiving (probably) or whether this should be another special skill. I'd suggest it's the PRT... I'd make even a 31 at least a 'roll again' for a hit... but even here... it seems like that's not right, and that even against a great pitcher, a great hitter has a chance to make the adjustment. So even where there's pitcher advantage a wrong guess should still have a chance... even for a power upgrade, in my opinion. I'd say for pitcher advantage of 3 or less, an unmodified roll of 30 should probably have a good chance of being a hit, and then of course even moreso as hitter advantage comes in... Adjusting from slow to fast?? well, that usually is a 'foul' at best so I think that's covered. So, yes, officially, I'm recommending that if a slow pitch is thrown and there's pitcher advantage of 3 or less, a wrong guess of a fast pitch should give a better chance at 'making the adustment' ... excited to hear what the Gillespie's have to say on that one, given that they tested the PRT for 20 years or so, ha! But it just doesn't lay right with me that there are only very scarce soft singles possible in the most extreme of circumstances. In my play to date there just hasn't been one at all because the pitchers used have been so strong! It feels too gimmicky to have solid hits only on 'right guesses'and I think it needs looking into.
Related to this, a few 'right' guesses should also probably result in outs. Hard hit outs, mind you, but outs... those balls that commentators say "he got all of it, but right at ____" this would balance out the averages etc. that the Gillespie team has worked so hard to make sure come through in results of well played games. Allow for some outs on 'unlucky' right guesses and more powerful and more occurrences of hits on 'lucky' or 'highly skilled hitter' wrong guesses, please! To me this is the biggest issue with the game, and actually materially annoys me, really the only thing that does though (2) below comes close.
Just to hammer this point home further, think of baseball games you watch on TV in particular - what do you hear? None of these are that rare! -"Wow, he got all of that ball but just hit it right to the center fielder!" (RIGHT GUESS but OUT) -"Jammed him, and look at that, just a little duck snort right over the infield and no one can get it - falls in for a hit..." (WRONG GUESS but HIT without requring a huge batter advantage) -"Watch him hold his hands back for the offspeed pitch and then just go with the pitch right down the opposite field line for a double" (WRONG GUESS but powerful hit for a good hitter) For that matter, some hitters can even throw their wrists to accelerate for the fastball, so maybe we allow for that too.
Okay, the horse is dead... moving on!
2a) As mentioned above, there is a modicum of 'pull' in where the ball goes on batted balls. In the outfield 1-10 = LF, 11-20 = CF and 21-30 = RF. You subtract 1 for a RHB and add 1 for a LHB. That's all. This feels a little too 'random' to me, making every batter "Tony Gwynn" spraying the ball to all fields. I would like to see another skill (NOT a rating) added for "pull factor" which would boost that +/-1 to a bigger number - maybe -6/+6. Jim Thome doesn't spray the ball to all fields with just a 3% bias towards right..... nor David Ortiz, etc...
2b) Of course once this is introduced, the fielding team should be able to decide to shift their infield and/or outfield, separately, left or right to account for this pull factor. If the ball goes where it's most likely to go, then I'm rewarded in FD for a hit or maybe even earn an out instead of a base hit in certain infield scenarios. But if the batter surprises and goes against trend, then I'm at more risk of Higher FD or balls getting through that might have been outs otherwise. Now it may seem this would get overly complicated (for the infield) with runners on but I don't think it would be that bad -- if things are shifted over towards 1B in the infield, it would mean many grounders to 'third' would get through for a hit, and that grounders to short would get fielded but with a very high FD for making any putout at third base, and probably automatic advance to 3B on some PRT 1-13 results. If things are shifted over towards 3B then second and third are covered and it would just be a matter of grounders to '2B' having a more likelihood of getting through - the 1B still has to stay close enough to the bag to receive the ball. Overall the design should be 'risk/reward' as in real life.
A scary batter in this model would be a pull hitter who also has SH (can't think of one of these right now, but I'm sure there was one somewhere out there) who has great pull power but can handle the bat when they want to...
2b) 'Draw Walks' skill -- As noted above the game as the "keen eye" for strikeout prevention, but what about Rickey Henderson (a player 'disrespected' by UBTG a bit to my eye) and other hitters who actually excelled at inducing balls even on good pitches. I'd like to see this as a binary skill which would "turn strikes into balls" on taken pitches to truly give the great OBP men their due. Rickey is a guy who just seems underrated in the UBTG overall skill ratings, and to me it's got to be because this skill is not in the game.
3) 'Pitch framing' skill for catchers -- The academic analysis is out there for everyone to see now and I've e-mailed it to the Gillespies - this is a real thing that can be measured in the game. A great framer can "turn balls into strikes" - this skill would probably be the counter to the previous one.
4) 'Rob a home run' die roll -- This play happens too often to not be able to be player-elected, in my opinion. At the low end of the 'home run' range, perhaps that die roll qualifies as 'robbable' if the relevant outfielder has the right combindation of speed and fielding. Then they make the leap and try to get it based on a die roll. Would love to see this in... More for the entertainment of it than the items above, but who wouldn't like to rob a home run?
5) 'Pickoff move' skill -- Andy Pettite, Terry Mulholland... truly great pickoff moves that froze runners at 1B. These aren't represented in the game and I think they would add more realism to the decisions around stealing, leads and pickoffs.
6) Wild pitches/passed balls seem a bit scarce, though they are in the game. Minor.
It should be noted here that Team Gillespie is currently very highly interactive on their web site via the 'ask a question' feature and will consider all suggestions. One common response I've gotten is to invent my own mods or, if I've already invented them, to try them in the game and see what happens. While that's okay, the whole value of UBTG is that it's a system that the family has tested for 20 years, so mods like the ones above would be better received coming with their stamp of approval rather than just my imagination!
Hope you've enjoyed this look at the game - my critique is meant to be constructive and I hope that my analysis (certainly largely positive) will help this game in finding its audience, in particular because it is very hard to find an opponent right now!
Postscript- I mentioned solitaire... it's a bit crude but using dice or a computer you can randomize many of the decisions above (usually with 2 factors) and get 'realistic' outcomes... for example, if using the die... 0-0 count... roll 1-25 means 'opponent' takes the pitch, 26-30 swings, and so on... it's not perfect but it can be done and it's a great way to test out all the different parts and pieces of the game, especially modeling the effect different choices have on results. You've just got to set up the conditions of the first roll based on 'what would they most likely do' (sometimes it's 50/50), make your choice and then find out if things went 'your way'.
submitted by CommanderBigMac78 to FansOfUBTG [link] [comments]

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