Monday, April 23, 2012

Play Two Out Rally

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite baseball games: Two Out Rally.

My preemptive apologies as most of these details were taken directly from their website. Keep in mind this isn't an interactive game like MLB 12 The Show or MLB 2K12. It's actually a simulator with an RPG twist. Hopefully the following wall of text does not deter anyone from trying it.

2 Out Rally is a multi-player online role-playing game MMORPG dealing with the on-field action, off-field drama, and general excitement of the game of baseball. Registration is simple, free, and required in order to play 2 Out Rally. By registering, you create a "scout" (your username) who will recruit players, run teams, and organize leagues.

Influence is the currency of your scout and gives him the ability to change events of the world in all sorts of ways, either through Gamechangers, finding new players, purchasing boosts for his players in either experience or cash, or starting new teams. Influence can be acquired in a number of ways:
  1. Completing hidden in-game accomplishments either during a game, over the course of a season, or for the length of a career.
  2. Winning special tournaments or participating in community events throughout the year.
  3. Providing articles or content to build 2 Out Rally's story.
  4. Serving as a Tester, Administrator, or Forum Moderator for 2 Out Rally.
  5. Purchased from our store or other participating vendors.

Barry Brawn is a
PED monster!
Player Creation
When you start your scout's career, you will begin with enough influence to build your first player with a little left over. This will get you involved in the game and playing right away. In this section, we'll go over the basics for the decisions you will have to make and what those will mean for your character.

You'll want to pick from either a pitcher or a position player immediately, as their ability sets are completely different, and each choice you make will affect them differently. The three elements that will comprise your character design are Attributes, Skills, and Biographical elements. Here's what each of these means.

Attributes are the primary ability sets for your player and represent strength in a general area of the game. If you've played an RPG before, you're probably familiar with these, but if not, don't worry; it will make perfect sense. The point value of an attribute is the sum of all points in its Skill tree (see below). When a player has associated a majority of points into one attribute, that attribute is known as the Primary Attribute or Focus.

Skills are four abilities within each attribute. These skills represent pieces of the player's abilities and allow for more specific customization to the player. For example, the Speed skill is a part of the Athleticism attribute. Adding one point to the Speed skill will add a point to the overall Athleticism Attribute.

Biographical elements are those related to your player's physical size, background, and personality type.

As soon as you've selected either a pitcher or position player, there will be 3 attributes referenced with each selection you make, and every decision you make will alter them in some way. There are countless possibilities, so don't be afraid to experiment.

Burlington Blue Devils won
the wild card in the
red division of Tier C
Finding a Team & Playing the Game
After your player is created, they will need a team. Computer controlled teams will send you offers and are fine as a last resort, but you should prefer to play on a human controlled team with more skilled players and team upgrades for the possibility of free player training. Your player earns more experience when your team wins, so this is another advantage to human controlled teams. You can advertise your player using their forum or contact team owners directly using their private message system.

During your first few levels, this will be the only real development option probably available to you - earning valuable game experience. There are a few ways to earn experience in 2 Out Rally:

  1. Playing in Games (a static reward for being on a team that plays games)
  2. Winning, an increased experience bonus for every time your team achieves victory.
  3. Moving up a League Tier, which will vastly increase the amount of experience you gain. Abusing lower levelled competition isn't going to get you to the big leagues.
  4. Rushing Your Player, where your scout expends Influence to get extra training and immediately advance in level.

Every time you earn a set amount of experience, you will advance in level, which will give you 5 more skill points to spend on your development. As you advance in level, you will become eligible to compete in bigger and better leagues, before hopefully taking the stage of the WBL itself. The experience required will increase greatly with each advancing level, so advancing will become more and more difficult as you try to reach the apex of your career.

Once you find a team and start earning your salary, the hard work really begins as you will want to make sure they train every day. If your team has upgrades, then some/all of your upgrades could be free. Training also provides the possibility of receiving a bonus, which varies. Some scouts choose to save their player's salary until they can afford the option with the best experience to cost ratio ($8,000), but you may risk missing out on bonuses.

There are three types of training: fitness, celebrity, and charity. Your player receives one skill point for every level of fitness training completed. Celebrity and charity training requires you to complete 10 levels, but provides you with 13 skill points or a 5% experience boost, respectively. The common consensus is celebrity training is your best option.

2 Out Rally is wrapping up their 13th season. They have shown they are constantly updating and evolving this game for their users. One of the latest updates added Gamecast, which is quite similar to MLB Gameday. It allows you to replay the game and see how it actually happened. Check out the preview here.

So why am I telling you all of this? It's fun!

If you're interested in joining 2 Out Rally, then I encourage you to click the link below and try it out. Using this link will credit me with the referral. Feel free to ask me any questions. Thanks!

Starting a new team in season 14! <-- Click here to start playing!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Highs and Lows

David Freese goes yard.
The St. Louis Cardinals are off to a great start this season. They are currently 9-3 with a three game lead in the NL Central division. Their offense has been tremendous as they have scored 70 runs over those 12 games, which is currently the best in all of baseball. The majority of their pitching has fared equally well, though Adam Wainwright is taking a little longer than hoped to bounce back after missing all of last season. The Cards have allowed 36 runs to their opponents and Wainwright is responsible for 11 of them, almost one third of them.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Pirates have only managed to begin the season with a record of 5-7 and is four games behind the Cardinals. Their pitching is keeping the team alive, while the offense already seems dead. They have only scored 26 runs thus far this season, which puts them in last place by a sizable margin of seven runs. Surprisingly, they do not have the worst record in baseball due to their pitching and defense only allowing 35 runs, which is the fourth best in baseball and one run better than the Cards.

It seems like both teams picked up where they left off last season. Doesn't it?

The Cards offense is currently dominating the majors in many offensive categories including batting average (.301), on base percentage (.367), runs (70), RBI (70), and WAR (5.9). They are also a very close second in slugging percentage (.513). The Buccos are last in nearly every category including hits (80), batting average (.205), on base percentage (.252), slugging percentage (.287), runs (26), RBI (23), and WAR (-0.3). They are second to last in homeruns with six, one more than the lowly Chicago Cubs.

Andrew McCutchen game winner.
The current major league batting average is .248 and the Pirates only have five position players who have an average above that, six if you include Kevin Correia. The Cardinals have nine above average positions players, 11 if you include Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia. If you look at the other side of the line, the Pirates have five regular starters who are slumping while the Cards only have three.

That may sound almost comparable, but let me paint a picture for you. Pedro Alvarez and Rod Barajas both have two hits thus far this season (oddly enough, all four are extra base hits), which is the same as the Card's Lynn and Garcia. Alvarez is currently leading the majors with an atrocious 46.4% strikeout rate. That's worse than our annual leaders in whiffs: Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds.

What does all this mean? The Cardinals are doing well right now and will be even better once Wainwright returns to form. Lance Berkman was hampered by a calf injury and will finally hit the disabled list, but the young guys on the bench have stepped up to fill his big shoes.

Generally speaking, the Pirates need to play better. They have been doing well with run prevention, but they really need to work on run creation. Alvarez and Barajas are not the only ones who need to wake up. Neil Walker, Clint Barmes, and Jose Tabata have all been dragging their feet as well.

The two teams start a three game series tomorrow in Pittsburgh, so we shall see how this story unfolds.

Fri, April 20 at 7:05pm: Charlie Morton vs. Lance Lynn
Sat, April 21 at 7:05pm: Kevin Correia vs. Jake Westbrook
Sun, April 22 at 1:35pm: Erik Bedard vs. Kyle Lohse

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Overall Rankings - Final Update

Spring training is winding to a close and Opening Day is right around the corner. Granted, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have already played two games in Japan.

The 25-man rosters are more-or-less set at this point. We should not see any more dramatic swings in fantasy baseball draft position unless another season-ending injury occurs, which is why this is my final update for the 2012 season overall fantasy baseball rankings. The list can be accessed by clicking here or the link at the top of the page.

I imagine many of you have their fantasy baseball teams drafted by now, but I want to make sure my readers are in the know. Here are a few noteworthy headlines to remember if you still have a draft scheduled:

Many analysts ranked Ryan Braun anticipating he would be forced to serve a 50-game suspension, but it was overturned and some lists were never updated. Removing the outliers shows he should be drafted fourth.

The following players will miss the entire season and were removed to avoid confusion:
  • Victor Martinez has a torn ACL in his left knee.
  • Ryan Madson will require Tommy John surgery on his right elbow to repair a torn ligament.
  • Joakim Soria will have Tommy John surgery due to ulnar collateral ligament damage.
  • Scott Sizemore has a torn left ACL.
  • Joba Chamberlain underwent Tommy John surgery in June to repair issues in his throwing elbow. He also had surgery on his right ankle to repair an open dislocation.
  • John Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery, not that anyone would draft him.

The following teams have notable players who may begin the season on the disabled list:
I hope my resources were/will be helpful for your fantasy baseball drafts. Good luck in your leagues this season!