Brendan Miller’s Out of the Park 18 Review

Where do I begin with Out of the Park Baseball 18? I hope what I’m about to say does the game justice. I’ve been a user of the computer-based (they have a mobile version too) baseball simulation for several years, and each iteration of the game has gotten better and more realistic.

It’s that realism that most defines OOTP. You can actually put on your Theo Epstein thinking cap and completely overhaul any organization, top to bottom. Want to focus on player development? Spend a big chunk of your money to do so. Want to extend Addison Russell to nine years at $135 million? You can do that (yes, I did that). Want to solve the Cubs pitching woes? Go ahead and trade Ian Happ and more for controllable pitching (guilty, I did that too for Sean Manaea).

When I took over the Cubs organization before the 2017 season, my pitching staff struggled a bit, just like they are doing now. Yet their FIP’s — advanced metrics are included in this game — were much better than their ERA’s, suggesting that my defense was suboptimal. Indeed, I needed to finally pull the trigger and play Albert Almora more because Jon Jay’s defense was probably inflating my pitchers’ numbers.

These are just a few examples of what I have done in my own game, but I’m just scratching the surface. You can adjust depth charts, lineups, rotations, bullpens, 40-man rosters; you get to draft, promote and demote prospects; you can fire front office personnel and coaches, raise ticket prices, employ “sabermetric” strategies (e.g., shifts, bunts, etc.), and so much more. It’s addicting.

And since ratings are based on the same ZiPS projections featured on FanGraphs, player performances are eerily accurate. All that accuracy makes trading challenging, and prospect development also follows a predictable timeline. That means you can’t rush Eloy Jimenez to the bigs because he still needs to hone in his skillset against high-A pitchers.

OOTP is available now for PC, Mac, and Linux and it’s well worth the very modest $39.99 investment. Try it for yourself, especially if you are an avid baseball fan. I’d be shocked if you didn’t feel the same way I do about the game after just one day. If, that is, you don’t get completely consumed by it and lose all track of time.

Oh, if you’re a puckhead, they’ve also got Franchise Hockey Manager 3 available and it’s only $74.99 to purchase both simulations in a bundle.

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