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Out of the Park Baseball 21 doesn’t like the Indians very much

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Despite that, can the SimuIndians fight their way to glory?

Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

This year’s edition of Out of the Park Baseball came out on Friday. It’s excellent news for baseball junkies like me who are desperate for any kind of content and interaction with the game of baseball. I’ve already nailed down my grand strategy for Perfect Team, and Matt Lyons and I are already trash talking each other relentlessly. His team sucks, by the way.

More important to readers of this blog is how the game evaluates the Cleveland Indians system this season. Last year, the game was over the moon with several Indians players. In fact, the community was so annoyed at how good Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor were — they were a near guarantee for 10+ WAR in the first couple of simulated season — that players started asking for the devs to nerf them.

We’re not going to have that problem this year. The game is much less enthusiastic about the state of the Cleveland Indians. We’ll start with its overall evaluation of the current roster and prospects, and then what the in-game preseason predictions expect. Finally, we’ll finish up with a simulated season and see how the Indians fare.

A couple of quick notes: I always adjust the setting to show overall and potential ratings from 20-80 and tool ratings from 1-100. I’ve also enabled 100% accurate scouting for this exercise, and have the game set to evaluate players based on all of major league baseball, rather than just those at their position.

Ratings for Indians Batters

Ratings for Indians Pitchers

Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the injured list:

Emmanuel Clase: 57 OVR, 77 POT

Mike Clevinger: 66 OVR & POT

Carlos Carrasco: 61 OVR & POT

Tyler Naquin: 45 OVR & POT

Ratings for Indians Prospects

According to the game, this gives the Indians the 5th worst pipeline in all of baseball. That’s.... not kind, and I imagine it’s because the developers don’t have the time or resources to dig into low-level prospects like we do. McKenzie in particular took a huge hit this season, and their assessment of our middle infield and outfield prospects frankly seems poor. So it goes. To be fair, they’ve done a pretty good job on the top 100 in baseball overall.

AL Central Predictions

Ouch. Interestingly in this prediction, it expects the Indians to lose more games than they win despite a positive Pythag. Will that bode well when it comes time to run the simulation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Also, it’s always fun to see what the game things of Mike Trout.

My god.

Simulation Results

How badly did things go for the Indians in the simulation? Terribly. On the first playthrough, Francisco Lindor tore his ACL in the first week of the season and missed the entire year. The Indians won 74 games.

I tried it out a second time and all I can say is that maybe the devs are even more frustrated at the Indians’ training staff than the fans, because sweet baby jesus what on earth.

Lindor played 52 games and put up 3.5 WAR though, so that’s cool? Ramirez played most of the season (115 games) and hit .265/.338/.491. Bieber missed only a few starts, posting 5.4 WAR. Clase never pitched. Santana barely played.

Third time was a charm - almost nobody died, except that Shane Bieber tore his UCL in August so badly that he retired. Carrasco strained an oblique but still managed to post 2 WAR, and Civale needed surgery to remove bone chips. In his fifteen starts, he accumulated 1.5 WAR. Anyway, here are our outcomes. Minus the injuries this kind of looks like a best-case scenario:

Hitters

Pitchers

League Standings

Look, I don’t quite understand the Rays winning 110 games either, but nobody got hurt and everyone had a great year over there. Except for Yandy Diaz, who spent the most of the year in Durham. He hit eight dingers.

Anyway, with the Indians in the playoffs I decided to simulate my way through October. The Indians managed to battle to game 7 of the ALCS against the Rays, in whcih they were roundly thumped 11-1. Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes were the postseason heroes for Cleveland, with Ramirez posting a .372/.431/.581 slash in eleven games. Reyes slugged .682 with four home runs and three doubles.

All things considered, a 93-win season and knocking on the door of the World Series feels like it would be a more than acceptable outcome for the Indians this season. Team ownership would be elated that they managed to trim the team down and still maintain a contender, I think. I know I’d be bereft at watching another game 7 go terribly wrong, but at least this time it wouldn’t be while sitting alone in a Chicago apartment.

The game overall looks and feels fantastic this year, with some extra quality of life enhancements, a new scouting system, and even a stadium builder. I personally don’t use the 3D mode at all, but I know actively managing every game is a big pull for many other players. Why not do it in a stadium you designed?

If you’ve had a chance to get your hands on the game, post some of your interesting discoveries and season simulations in the comments. Or, if you feel like it, make it a whole fanpost!