As you all know, I’m a huge Madden fan.

I pour hours into the game every year and review it ever year. My favorite part of Madden, like many of you, is the GM aspect. I love building rosters, shuffling parts around and winning titles.

Needless to say, I fell in love with Out Of The Park Baseball.

It’s fantastic. I’ll let you know up front, it’s not really for you if you’re looking for a gameplay type of game. This game is 100% for the General Manager wannabes. I often have dreams that I’m Theo Epstein (kind of kidding) but with this game, I felt like I was pretty close to being the actual Theo.

The rosters aren’t watered down at all. OOTP Baseball features the actual rosters of every MLB team from the superstar all the way down to the organizational guy still sitting in Rookie Ball. You can move any player from any level for any reason.

Possibly my favorite aspect of the game was “Shopping Players” which basically means you put them out on the trade market with other GMs and they’ll send over 1-for-1 trades. You can also package Major League-ready players with Minor League prospects and try to land a stud (which I did, in Jacob Degrom).

Conversely, it works pretty well to sell off one of your studs and bring in a haul of Minor-Leaguers.

As far a game preparation, I turned into Joe Maddon. You’re able to specify different lineups against pitchers based on handedness, even giving guys days off every certain number of days. If you simulate one game at a time, like I did, you’re able to go ahead and double-check your lineup before the game and make any necessary changes. This came in handy when Jon Lester pitched and I was able to go with David Ross at catcher.

In my game, I made myself the GM and Theo was my Assistant GM (I know, right). You get a dashboard that looks like the one below, with a box that includes all your personal information and lets you know how you’re progressing. This is what you can expect to see in the early stages.

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You’ll notice the first box gives you your Notes & Tasks. This includes signing international players from your pool, any lineup issues you may have and how you’re doing with your current goals. I was able to knock off one goal (Acquire All-Star) on Day 1, turning a couple mid-level prospects into Scott Kazmir.

Beyond that, you have to stay within the realm of your owners expectations when it comes to finances and juggle your Minor League systems to keep them competitive and field rosters that make sense. This is something that took me awhile to get used to.

Beyond that, there’s the simulation gameplay. You can basically go pitch-by-pitch or jump to certain innings and it’s all simulation. The closest thing to Game Play you’ll get is deciding which moves to make from a managerial standpoint.

I’m sure there are a ton of other features I haven’t gotten into yet but I wanted to get you guys on this game as soon as possible. There is a Commissioner Mode that I haven’t been able to get in on yet, that I hope allows you to edit the ratings of certain players. Beyond that, I don’t really have any complaints.

Not only is this helping me pass time until Madden releases but it’ll be cutting into my Madden time starting this weekend.

It’s that good.

RATING: 9/10

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