1. Get a mentor (or several) outside this world to ask questions to. Forums >> scroll to Hardball Dynasty section >> click Hardball Dynasty forum >> mentors list is the 3rd post down.
2. Ask questions in the World Chat here...you'll tend to get several opinions plus some of the logic behind what people are advising.
3. A good way to get some sense of what the ratings "mean" (in addition to seeing what stats a player has produced) is to see what players with comparable ratings have done. World Office >> Reports >> Player Search >> set Franchise to "All Franchises", level to ML, View to Current Ratings and Position to whatever position the player you're looking at plays. That gives you a list of all the players on ML rosters at that position...convenient way to compare ratings and stats of players (note that ballparks can have a pretty severe effect on what stats players produce).
4. Please be cautious about trading until you've played at least a couple of seasons. There's no faster way to wreck a franchise (well, maybe you can do it as fast in free agency) than to fire off several trades before you really know what the ratings mean.
5. Pre-season (the period from the start of the season to Spring Training) moves pretty fast and can be overwhelming. If you're not sure what things you need to do on each of these days, ask questions.
6. Of the documentation HBD offers, I find the most helpful item to be the Help FAQ. Admin Office >> Help >>F.A.Q.
7. When I got started, one of the hardest things for me to figure out was what to offer free agents and how to "read" the free agent market. Ask off-world mentors about this one...I'll plan to do a complete post or page on this topic as well.
8. As much as you possibly can, try to ignore the OVR rating. Here's the distinction you need to understand: OVR is a composite of a bunch of the other ratings but it does absolutely nothing to determine performance of any kind. A hitter's power rating, for example, is a big factor in home run production. A pitcher's control rating goes a long way to determining how many walks he issues. OVR isn't like that...it takes a bunch of ratings (including things like stamina, durability and health) and combines them into one rating that's an overgeneralized guide to a player's overall "value". Trust me on this one, when veteran HBD owners are looking for a reliever who can give them 120+ innings and be a reliable, around 3.00 ERA guy, they're not paying any attention to OVR.
9. What ratings are important and which ones aren't? You'll get a lot of opinions on that one. All the ratings have meaning...they all interact to produce AB-by-AB results and an overall stat profile. Don't get locked in on one rating in your evaluation. For a long time I was over-focused on pitchers' vR. I figured it was more important than the vL and I couldn't understand what the pitch ratings meant. So I ended up with a bunch of P's with vR's in the 80's (very good) but vL's and pitches in the 50's (not very good)...with lousy results.
10. Above all, have fun. Ignore all the above if they don't fit your idea of fun. If you can't do HDB your way, what's the point?