Let me start by saying this: Out of the Park Baseball 16 is everything that I have ever hoped for from a baseball video game.
As someone who hopes to work in the field of Baseball Operations after college, OOTP offers me all the tools possible to simulate how being a General Manager would feel. From the full rosters that extend from the Majors to a team’s international complex, OOTP Baseball gives you the power to control almost every aspect of a professional organization. It is absurd how detailed and impressive this game truly is, almost as if it’s the crowning achievement of all baseball simulators—not to mention how tough it is to stop playing.
If you need an example, use myself. I had planned to finish this review days after I was graciously given a copy of OOTP 16 on March 23. Fast-forward three weeks, and I have finally beaten my addiction to the game just so that I can tell you how ridiculously awesome it is.
Before this year, I had never played OOTP. I had never heard of OOTP. I had no idea that this type game even existed. I was, however, an avid player of the more mainstream MLB the Show and the 2009 2K Sports one-hit-wonder, MLB Front Office Manager.
Recently I had grown tired of playing the Show’s franchise mode because it simply did not offer the depth and control I was looking for, as it was focused toward a different type of baseball audience—a more general type of audience, the casual baseball fan. As for MLB Front Office Manager, I loved that game. I would spend countless hours playing it—attempting to perfect what I thought were my “General Managing skills.” It was the most in-depth baseball simulation game I knew at the time, and I even played it to this day—although the rosters were incredibly outdated. However, the negative for this game was that it wasn’t focused toward all baseball fans. Front Office Manager was, instead, geared toward the type of fan who does more than just watch some games and enjoy baseball. It was geared toward the type of fan who loved the game more than just the casual fan, toward the baseball fan who loved the game within the game. It was geared toward a more educated baseball fan.
This is where OOTP trumps both. The thing with OOTP is that, while it seems to be another game directed towards a more in-depth baseball fan, it’s actually something every type of baseball fan would enjoy. It’s a perfectly designed game that can be easily played by the casual fan, as well as enjoyed by gamers concerned with controlling the intricacies of professional baseball.
As soon as I started playing this game, I knew this was exactly the type of game I was looking for. You could even call it love at first trade, which was a salary-shedding prospect-grabbing doozy of a deal set up like this:
31-year-old SS Jose Reyes, 36-year-old SP Mark Buehrle, 29-year-old SP Andrew Albers, and 36-year-old SP Johan Santana to the Texas Rangers for 25-year-old LF Ryan Rua, 21-year-old CL Keone Kela, 18-year-old SS Ti’Quan Forbes, 17-year-old SS Rougned J. Odor, 27-year-old RP Spencer Patton and cash ($6,368,619 to be exact, the entire amount that the Rangers had remaining—cue maniacal laughter).
The trade resulted in a gain of four good prospects and around $47.5 million of salary relief toward the current season—as well as the ridding of two older pitchers who would be free agents after the 2015 season. However, now that I’ve showcased my ability to rob the Rangers, let’s get back on topic.
What makes OOTP so great and revolutionary is the level of depth it goes to. With a player rating system based on Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA rating system, it’s even tough to argue anything but the closest accuracy possible for each player’s individual rating. Another interesting feature is that essentially every player to touch a baseball field this season at the professional level—and some semi-professional levels—is included, ranked, and used. This year’s game contains the Australian Baseball League, along with several independent leagues in the US and Japan. A step up from OOTP 15, which introduced seven international leagues in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, Italy and the Netherlands. All of those leagues feature real rosters, with countless hours of work invested in researching realistic player biographical information, statistics, and ratings.
Another perk is that in OOTP 16 you don’t just control the players and with a look at the salary and how it affects the teams’ finances for that season. No, in this baseball simulator you get the chance to control a team from every aspect as a GM would. That means you have to factor in how each move affects the teams’ chemistry, how the fans will react, and how the player himself will act as well. That’s also in addition to how the move affects the team financially. You can also even set ticket prices, which can give a team a solid source of revenue if done correctly.
You can switch between three game modes as far as controlling a team goes. These game modes are GM only, GM + Manager, and Manager only. This is useful for players who might be great at roster creation, but not so great as far as the day-to-day management of the players goes—lineups, pitching rotations, bullpen, pinch hitters, etc. Manager mode is vice-versa, as you get to set the lineups, rotations, pinch hitters, etc. You can even use the famed LOOGY, if you so choose.
Historical baseball or custom-made teams more your style? Don’t worry, OOTP offers that too. Their comprehensive historical rosters reach all the way back to 1871, giving you the opportunity to play seasons you might not have even been born for. You could even go back and replay the strike-shortened 1994 season to give the Montreal Expos only first World Series—don’t worry, that’s what would’ve happened.
Those of you already familiar with OOTP Baseball might be reading this thinking, “Duh, we’ve known about this amazing achievement of science and such ever since it was first released in 1999! I bet you didn’t even know that the company is based out of Hamburg, Germany and that they only have one American employee. Did you even know that they received an official license from MLB.com and Minor League Baseball this offseason?”
To that I say yes, I did know that the company Out of the Park—and, more specifically, their baseball game franchise—is all those previously listed things. As a matter of fact, Baseball Essential has gotten the chance to talk about the game with that very same American employee on multiple occasions. You can check out the most recent one here, done by Gershon Rabinowitz:
With OOTP, another interesting feature is that off the field things can even affect an organization. Players can get hurt through things such as riding BMX bikes, bowling with teammates, tripping over an automatic tarp, even playing hide-and-seek with their children. Not only can players get hurt, but they can also go bankrupt, get suspended for fights/on-field altercations, managers can even be fined for lashing out at the media. Owners can die, leaving their children in charge of a team. However, positive things can also happen. Players can start their own businesses, get engaged, film TV commercials, help the community through various outreach programs, etc.
Obviously, these injuries don’t occur often. Instead they are used to further make the game seem and feel more realistic than any possible competition. A player can deeply root himself within a team’s community, or deeply isolate himself from it. There simply is no other game that can use all of the things listed above to create a realistic morale for each player that deals with his happiness—or lack thereof.
When you look at OOTP 16 as a whole, one thing comes to mind—perfection. Out of the Park is in a class of its own. There is no competition, there is even very little in the way of comparison. As far as sports simulators go, this game is absolutely years ahead of the rest. The people at Out of the Park baseball have created one of the most revolutionary sports games of our lifetime, and this iteration of it has only solidified an already near perfect product. It’s clear that years of development and hard work have led to a truly spectacular product. OOTP is more than worth the sticker tag, and I highly recommend it to everyone with ears willing to listen.
OOTP 16 is $39.99 and available on for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can find the most recently updated version of the game here. OOTP also has a mobile game, which is named MLB Manager and available for $4.99 in the App Store and Google Play.
For those of you who would like to know more about how the game works, a YouTube tutorial has been linked below. This should allow you to get a feel for the game, if you need one.