In our last post, we set up a new custom OOTP 16 game featuring the best teams from 1985 and 2015. In this post, we’ll simulate to the all-star game while taking a look at the season’s progress on a month-to-month schedule. One important note is that, even with all the configurations that were made, I still don’t trust OOTP not to do something weird, like release or waive an important bench piece, even though I believe I’ve removed any justification for it to do so. Because of this paranoia, I’ve set myself to control all 16 teams in this league by going back to the league functions screen then clicking the “Set all teams to controlled by Doc Brown”.

I want the game to control all roster adjustments other than releasing or signing players, though, so I entered the “Manager’s Office”, by clicking on Doc Brown on the top menu, going to “Manager’s Office” (aka the home screen), then switching to the “Control & Auto-Play Settings” and set the AI to control everything except transactions. I also don’t want OOTP notifying me about DL transactions (since we’ve turned off injuries, this only involves players coming off the DL), so I turned off all notifications except notifying me in the event of a long-term injury.

manager

Now that we have an air-tight setup, it’s time to play ball. We’ll use the “Play” menu to advance the season to May 1st. The standings page is easily accesible from the “League” menu and checking the “Show Leaderboards” box at the top of the standings gives us a preview of the WAR leaders and various traditional stats.

May1

The ’85 Cardinals and ’85 Royals are already on their way to making good on their pre-season predictions. I’ll be the first to admit I’ll be pretty disappointed if the end of season standings just match the pre-season predictions. At least the 2015 Cardinals are keeping things interesting. Along the right-hand side report shortcuts we’ll find a button that looks like a bar graph which will take us to the current leaderboards.

May1NLPitching May1NLBatting May1ALPitching May1ALBatting

We’re still in small sample size territory for the season but we can already see some familiar faces floating to the top of the crop. In the previous post, I pointed out that 1985 George Brett was coming off a near career low 122 OPS+ in 1984. Adrian Beltre, on the other hand, posted a 144 OPS+ in 2014, giving his projections a boost for 2015, to complement his Hall of Fame caliber defensive skills. We can actually see how OOTP sizes up the top starting players for each team with a default report provided by OOTP. Under the “League Info” menu, we’ll find a “League Reports Home” option and then we can use the “Select League Report” drop-down in the upper right-hand corner to choose “Positional Strength by Position”. Here, we can see that OOTP considers Beltre the top third baseman in this league.

3rdBaseRank

The positional strength report is a nice way to get to know a new league and get a new manager acquainted with what players to target. OOTP’s aggregate ratings aren’t always in line with the way I’d rate players, since it can be swayed by an incredibly speedy hitter or a pitcher who’s long on stamina but short on stuff or movement, but these reports serve as a nice way to acquaint a new manager with where their team stands on a positional basis. These reports also clue us in to why the ’85 Cardinals are struggling out of the gate as their starting players mostly rank below average or much worse at every position including their top starting pitcher, John Tudor.

The monthly pitching accolades for April went to 2015 Kansas City’s Chris R. Young and the ’85 Mets’ Dwight Gooden. I’m guessing this is one of the few times these players will ever be mentioned in the same breath, even with Young’s recent late career rise. Puig and Beltre were named NL and AL hitters of the month while Alex Guerrero and Dalton Pompey brought home the rookie of the month awards, completing a near sweep for 2015 players.

Clicking the “Play” button again, we’ll skip ahead to June 1st.

StandingsJune1

Things just keep getting worse for the ’85 world champions. Switching the team menu to the ’85 Royals allows us to see their team home screen including this nugget of information:

royalsjune1

It’s a little difficult to win games with this lack of production from every element of your team. It’s not all doom-and-gloom for every player and team to this point, however. Since I did not wipe out the league’s players’ statistical histories, OOTP is still tracking all the players in the league with respect to their milestones. Since the historical rosters are set based on a database of the players who appeared on each teams’ roster during that season, Cesar Cedeno actually appears on both the Cardinals and Reds from 1985. This means he was able to complete his 2000th career hit twice this seasons, a feat also accomplished by the Red’s Dave Concepcion. The League History menu allows us to see upcoming milestones and it shouldn’t be long before Alex Rodriguez and Rod Carew collect their 3,000th hit. Pete Rose is stuck on 4,135 in case you’re wondering.

hits June1ALBatting June1ALPitching June1NLPitching June1NLBatting

While modern players sit at the top of many of the leader boards, 1985 players won 2/3 of the monthly awards in May with the ’85 Dodgers’ Pedro Guerrero and ’85 Yankees’ Dave Winfield winning hitter of the month while the ’85 Blue Jays’ Luis Leal won AL pitcher of the month and Gooden repeated in the NL. Pompey repeated as AL rookie of the month and Jorge Soler captured the the award in the NL. OOTP 16 seems to really like Jorge Soler as I’ve rarely seen him not succeed in any given league.

Our next sim will take us all the way to the All-Star Game.

midseasonstand

As of July 14th, not only are the ’85 Royals on pace to set an MLB record for worst winning percentage in a season, they’ve also already clinched a 100 loss season and the ’85 Cardinals are not far behind (or maybe ahead is the better word). This isn’t a huge surprise in this format, though, as leagues featuring cross-era teams often end up as feast or famine affairs. At least George Brett’s season is looking up. After a .443 OPS in May, Brett rebounded with an .837 OPS in June and he’s off to a great start in July with a .930 OPS, leading to a player of the week award. Josh Harrison won the NL hitter of the month award in June while Don Mattingly represented the AL (just for the record, he didn’t appear to have sideburns in 1985). Masahiro Tanaka won AL pitcher of the month and Pedro Strop’s 7 saves, 4 wins, and 0 ERA convinced OOTP to name him NL pitcher of the month.

At the mid-summer classic, both 1985 and 2015 teams received a balanced representation as players from both years played side-by-side.

asgpitch asg

Rob Refsnyder of the 2015 Yankees may be the most surprising starter in this all-star game. Refsnyder was expected by many to contribute to the Yankees in 2015 but he ended up appearing in just 16 games at the major league level in a brief July call-up and spending September with the team. A reflection of his real life scouting reports, OOTP gives him the potential to be a slightly above average contact hitter but doesn’t respect his ability to hit for power or play a great second base. In spite of his modest ratings, Refsnyder is hitting .332/.371/.524 for the 2nd place Yankees.

ref

And here are the leaderboards at the break.

july14NLhitters july14NLpitchers july14alpitchers july14alhitters

There’s some sort of bug causing Phil Coke to show up in the AL qualified pitcher leaderboards in spite of the fact that has been in AAA for the 2015 Cubs all season. It will also be interesting to keep an eye on the AL pitching leaderboards where ERAs are slightly higher than the NL but your FIP leaders are posting FIPs well over a point higher than their NL counterparts. Also interesting is the amount of parity among hitters. In normal seasons, a few players will run away with the offensive categories similar to how Dwight Gooden is dominating the pitching leaderboards. We don’t have a best in their generation hitter in their prime, like a Mike Trout or Joey Votto, in this league, though, so it leaves the door open for guys like Harrison and Pompey to worm their way to the top of the WAR and .wOBA leaderboard with just enough skill and a little bit of luck.

This wraps up this installation of our 1985 v. 2015 simulation and we’ll post the 2nd half of the season later today. As a reminder, OOTP 16 is available on PC and Mac and the game is on sale now with Franchise Hockey Manager 2 via Steam or alone and you can also purchase OOTP 16 on sale directly from the game’s website.

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  1.  Back to the Future with OOTP 16: 1985 vs. 2015 (Pt 3) | Banished to the Pen
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