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Out of the Park 18 Review

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The new version of Out of the Park Baseball released, you can buy it here.

I’ve had a review copy for a few days. I haven’t had enough time to play around with everything but, if you are a fan of the series, it is still a great game. If you haven’t played before, and you want to try the most realistic baseball management game around, it is easily worth the money.

Every year it is a little better than the last, even when I think it can’t get any better.

OOTP can teach you about the real game. You deal with options, waivers, clubhouse chemistry, trades, free agents and most everything a GM deals with. You can fire and hire coaches, scouts and trainers. I’ll admit I’ve gotten angry at the real-life George Poulis and fired the virtual one. You even deal with the Rule 5 draft each year.

If you like, you can manage the team as well. Set pitching rotations, batting orders, set up the bullpen. You can manage in game too, if you like. Steal, hit and run, I even hear a rumor there is a sac bunt button.

And, if you like, you can build your league. Want an all Canadian league, you can do it. Or you can play the Japanese league. Or Honkbal, you can play the Netherlands league if you choose.

Some of the new features this year:

  • Historical Negro League clubs, a feature I want to get around to playing with.
  • World Baseball Classic tournament. I haven’t looked at it yet to see if you can use players that didn’t play in the WBC. I’d try it if you could get the Canadian team out of pool they were in.
  • And there is an expanded ‘accomplishments’ system, and a Challenge Mode that allows you to share and compare accomplishments with others. I’m not a big fan of this, I don’t need medals, I figure building a winning team is the accomplishment I want. But this seems to be included in most games these days.
  • The injury system has changed. Players can have little nagging injuries that can affect their play.
  • They’ve improved the 3D game view (though I played it a bit and really wasn’t excited by it). I’m happy with the normal mode.
  • And, as it has the past few years, they have historical seasons, you can start in any season from 1871 right through to 2017. It’s fun to start as the 1977 Blue Jays and see if you can build to a playoff team faster than the real life team did. Or play one of your favorite seasons from the past. I played as the Expos starting around 1978, just to see what could have happened. You fans of the bunt can play in the dead ball era. Or maybe you want to see how Babe Ruth might have done if he had stayed a pitcher, instead of moving to the outfield.

Of course, the game has 2017 rosters, which, of course, is the fun part of the game. As always, the first thing I do with the game is start playing as the Blue Jays. Since I’m playing with a beta copy, I might not have the final roster, but some notes:

  • The game starts you off 2 days before the start of the 2017 season, which makes it tough to do much with the roster. I’d much rather start a little further back.
  • The opening roster had Devon Travis out for 4 weeks, which seemed like a real possibility a couple of weeks ago. Since I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Barney and Goins at second, I signed Brett Lawrie as a free agent. Not a good move, he was a clubhouse problem and he didn’t hit for me, .174/.269/.174. I put him on waivers when Travis was ready to play, and thankfully the Nationals claimed him.
  • 6 times through the rotation, the starters have been terrific, a 3.22 collective ERA.
  • The bullpen, on the other hand, has been terrible. Grilli and Joe Smith, in particular, were terrible. I traded them off for a couple of non-prospects, and the salary relief. I picked up Tommy Hunter and Dan Straily off waivers
  • Offensively? The team has been awful. 13th in the AL in runs scored. The only Jays to be hitting at all are Jose Bautista (.315/.414/.508) and Melvin Upton (.333/.316/.889, but he missed two weeks with an injury).
  • No one else is hitting. Donaldson .234/.345/.395. Martin .213/.312/.415. Kendrys Morales .242/.288/.419. Troy Tulowitzki .248/.317/.354. Dalton Pompey .161/.225/.248, after missing the first 10 days of the season on the DL. Ezequiel Carrera .222/.276/.222. Kevin Pillar .186/.225/.248.
  • I released Justin Smoak (taking the loss on the contract). No surprise, but no one want to trade for him. He cleared waivers, but refused to be demoted.
  • My feeling is I’m going to play until the trade deadline, making only minor moves, and, if we aren’t in the running, go full rebuild mode.

Some screen shots: