In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.
This week, we are going with a simple idea: what if there was an Arena Baseball? The smallest possible field, with a fast astroturf, 42-foot-high walls to knock balls off of and easily lob high-reaching homers over. Something like this:
And, what’s more, I’m telling the computer to approach this as if this is the 2015 MLB season, so they’ll use the same tendencies that MLB teams would.
This could get weird. Go below the jump to see how weird it gets (and click any pictures to make them larger):
This league uses mainly fictional players (some real players- mainly those who aren’t in the Majors anymore and instead are overseas or in the minors, did get through, due to me screwing up in how I set this up) and is made up of two sub-leagues: League One (no DH) and League Two (DH). All eight teams play in that micro-ballpark with the 42-foot walls
I’ll be playing as the New York Goonies here, because I’ll never say die. However, the pitchers might:
Yes, that means that there will be over 2.8 times the average amount of home runs. The batting averages can be expected to be 1.364 times the average. There will be far fewer doubles and it should be LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to hit a triple (however, some people do, in fact, hit triples). I wonder how my scout assesses this ballpark?
That’s some damn deep analysis, bird-dog.
So, anyway, game 1, against the Baton Rouge Silver Swords. Here goes nothing!
First off, the fact I called the stadium “Arena Baseball” allows for a cool opening by the announcer:
After my Goonies go 1-2-3 in the first (with every damn hit being right at a guy), the Silver Sabre lead-off man, Jim Holmes, starts off with a solo bomb at a whopping 249 feet. I have this image in my head of him just barely moon-shotting it over the fence with something that would have been a lazy fly ball out in any actual baseball game. Amazingly, that’s the only run of the inning.
I then simulate to the 8th inning, and “wake up” to find that the Goonies are losing 14-4. Lovely. Baton Rouge has had 6 home runs. While I score one run in the top of the 8th, the Silver Sabres respond with 6 in the bottom of the 8th. In the end, the final score is 20-5. Oof.
I then simulate to the end of the first week. It’s been a wild week. In their second game of the year, the Goonies won 17-15 in 12 innings. In a game on Friday, Baton Rouge scores 13 runs in the 8th inning to beat Los Angeles, 24-15. On Sunday, the Goonies beat LA 36-3, hitting 13 home runs in the process.
The season goes on. On April 13th, Brooklyn scores 7 in the bottom of the ninth to beat San Jose, 20-19.
As May dawns, we see a bizarro baseball world. Pitchers with ERAs in the 5s are declared the pitchers of the month. The offensive statistical leaders are enough to make a pitcher faint:
The pitching leader board, meanwhile, would make a hitter salivate:
Looking back at the hitting leaders, the man who most stands out is Jose Ruiz of Baton Rouge. Truly, this man is a Destroyer of Worlds. At one point in April, he homered in 15 straight games (real-world regular baseball record: 8). He is on pace to finish the season with 216 home runs, more than the career total of Kansas City Royals great Mike Sweeney. He’s hitting .409, and that’s over 100 points below the league leader, Doug “Rock” McCoy of the Goonies.
The season goes on, and on May 9, Baton Rouge and LA have perhaps the craziest game yet, as the LA Thunder win 28-26 in 10 innings.
By June 1, Jose Ruiz has 60 home runs, but has been overtaken as HR leader by J.R. Miles of Phoenix, who has 63. The lowest ERA by qualified starting pitchers is Juan Carlos Jimenez’s 6.12. Ron Johnston of Glendale leads the starters in fewest HR/9… with 2.54.
Later that month, the All-Stars are announced. It’s… quite the group. No pitcher selected to a teams are below 5.65. Jorge Cantu, one of the few “real” players, is selected for his .394 batting average and 37 HRs.
The mid-year leader boards look like this:
Yeah, look at J.R. Workhorse Miles is leading with 91 HRs. At the All-Star Break. He’s on pace for 197 home runs on the year. He also leads in RBI at 189, or just two away from Hack Wilson’s single-season record of 191.
Meanwhile, with the pitchers:
Abandon all hope! Abandon all hope!
The All-Star Game goes to League Two (the DH League) in 17-8, with Jorge Ruiz and Ryan Doumit (another one of the real players left over) both hitting two home runs.
By the end of July, five hitters have more than 100 home runs. Four have more than 200 RBIs. Six have more than 200 hits. The doubles leader, in contrast, has 11. The triples leaders are tied at 2. Josh Pike of the Silver Sabres saw a hit streak end at 50 near the end of the month. On July 18th, the Phoenix Roadrunners beat the Goonies 39-7, with Wenty Burton racking up 13 RBIs, 3 HRs and five walks. As far as I can tell, there have been a grand total of two shutouts the entire year so far, and even then they weren’t complete games but rather joint efforts.
By August’s end, it is clear that two teams are the envy of the entire league: the Glendale Express and Baton Rouge Silver Sabres. September has just started, but the playoff hunts are essentially already over:
Instead, the focus in the last month of the season is whether the 200 HR mark can be broken. J.R. Miles is at 177. There is another story however, as Miles hits, hits, and keeps hitting. On September 17th, he hits for the 56th game in a row:
The next night in Baton Rouge, Miles grounds into a double-play to end the first inning, and then does the same in the fourth.
But then, in the 6th, Miles does it in dramatic fashion:
I find it fascinating that even if you have the players play in a stadium with essentially no outfield, it took until September for somebody to beat DiMaggio. Had Miles not done it, it’s possible nobody would have.
Go figure. What’s more, by the end of the season Miles has beaten DiMaggio’s minor league mark of 61 and is only kept from tying or breaking Jim Wilhoit’s streak of 69 by the fact the season ends after Miles has hit 68.
This is what the final leaderboard for Arena Baseball 2015 looks like:
Miles ends well above the 200 HR mark, with 213. That’s as many as Andy Pafko and Travis Hafner had for their career. His 427 RBIs is over twice as many as the real world MLB record. That Miles also has a .478/.556/1.454 slash line further shows the insanity. In fact, it’s so insane that OOTP barely has enough room to even include all those numbers:
That is only minor breakage, but it’s still definitely breakage: Out Of The Park Baseball is not meant to have people hitting triple-digit HRs in a single season. It isn’t meant to have people with 4-digit slugging and OPS. If somebody were to have a four-digit HR total (which would probably happen over a career if I ran this more than one season), it would probably cause the numbers to either break utterly or to start literally overlapping on each other.
The pitcher with the fewest HR per 9 IP still gave up nearly three and a half dingers a game. The WAR leader, Ron “Yard Man” Johnston, isn’t eligible for ERA or other leaderboards, but still went 16-1 with a 5.35 ERA.
Oh, and Baton Rouge ended up winning the title. Good for them.
Now, let’s look at the awards at the end of the season and how insane they are if we were to look at them in a real-world context in a league that didn’t have arenas for games.
A guy with three saves, NOT EVEN THE MOST ON HIS TEAM, won best reliever in League One. Oh, he struck out a lot of people, and his win-loss wasn’t bad, but, man, that 6.81 ERA would get anybody in a real league sent down, if not outright released.
17 saves! And a 7.36 ERA. Oof.
Now, Ron “Yard Man” Johnston won pitcher of the year in League One, but the winner in League Two was Charlie Logan:
He allowed 255 hits, but a 7.61 ERA is like a 2.00 ERA in the Arena League, I guess.
.435 batting average! 185 HRs! 273 hits! And yet that is nothing compared to the League Two MVP…
J.R. Miles. Of course it’s J.R. Miles.
Now, let’s finish off this installment of Breaking OOTP by looking at some overall data from the teams and league:
TEAM STATISTICS (note that two expansion teams were automatically added to the game at the end of the season because I forgot to turn that option off):
6,429 HRs were hit during the season. 14,020 runs were batted in. There were 18,552 hits. The LEAGUE had a slash line of .365/.428/.758. And that’s with pitchers hitting in one of the leagues.
Now, let’s look at pitching. Please note that the following will not be safe for children, the elderly, or expectant mothers:
OH DEAR GOD MY EYES! Look at that 10.78 LEAGUE ERA! Oh, and there were THREE shutouts all year.
And, get this, I’m reasonably sure that this simulation may have been conservative.
Imagine, if you were, if a real stadium was built with the micro-dimensions and 42-foot-high fences, it’d be so radically different from baseball as we know it that it’d basically become a different sport altogether. Yes, there’d be plenty of cheap sky-high pop-up home runs, but think of all of those line-drives and such that would be bouncing off the wall. There would be TONS, far more than in any of the simulations I did. And, depending on what the wall was made up of, they could literally be hitting the outfield wall and bouncing all the way back to the infield, perhaps all the way into the infield stands for (presumably) a ground-rule double.
And with that in mind, it’s likely that the defensive positioning would be radically different. It’s likely there wouldn’t be any outfielders at all, and instead it’d be 7-man infield all the time. Really, there is no way to know what crazy form this Arena Baseball would take.
Still, we can figure out a few things from this experiment:
- OOTP‘s statistic pages can’t handle so many homers and so high of SLG and OPS.
- In the land of the dinger, the man with the sub-8 ERA is king.
- Even if games are being played in stadiums that should not allow any triples, people will still hit triples, because baseball is weird.
- Even in the most bandbox of bandboxes, there’s no guarantee that somebody would break Joe DiMaggio’s streak. Seriously, if Miles hadn’t gotten it, it’s likely that nobody would have.
Now, what if YOU want to have a baseball arena? Well, you can here! That will provide you the park file that you can then assign to various teams in OOTP to simulate your own Arena Baseball League!
Special Thanks to the OOTP Park Generator, MediaFire, and Out Of The Park Developments- ParkGen for figuring out the park factors for a microstadium, MediaFire for hosting the download, and OOTP Developments for creating the game itself.
Previously on BREAKING OOTP:
NEXT TIME ON BREAKING OOTP: The Mariners just got some help.