What if the Cincinnati Reds were run by the fans? What if Dick Williams and Bryan Price asked for fan input when making make-or-break decisions? What if YOU could control the fate of your favorite baseball team?

Well, that’s what we’re going to set out to do in this new series, The Fake Reds. Using the popular baseball simulation game Out of the Park Baseball 18, I’ll be taking over as the GM/Manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Starting with the Opening Day roster, I’ll be going down a divergent path from the Real Reds, making moves and reacting to Fake Reds World transactions, injuries, and drama.

Along the way, I’ll be asking for your opinions on major turning points. If the Fake Reds somehow find their way into contention, which of our prospects should we unload to bring in that piece to boost us into the playoff race? If Billy Hamilton struggles in the leadoff spot again, who do we plug in at the top of the lineup to replace him? When do we call up our young studs like Jesse Winker, Sal Romano, and Dilson Herrera? It’ll all be up to you.

If you haven’t heard of Out of the Park Baseball, it’s the premier simulation baseball game available for Mac and PC. It puts you in the shoes of a GM or Manager (or both!) of a real major league baseball game. The game really shines in its realism – insanely accurate details just about everywhere it counts. Real rosters, down to the obscure 16 and 17 year olds in your international developmental roster. Real financials for each team, real scouting reports – it really is like taking over a virtual version of your favorite team.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s easy to run a team into the ground in OOTP, so you have to be careful. If you perform badly enough, and don’t meet your owner’s goals, you can be fired from your position.

The game also features accurate historical rosters, and a multitude of ways to incorporate them into your game. Want to see what Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan could achieve on today’s Reds team? You can do that!

We’ll be playing a pretty strictly realistic game for this series purposes, but if I’ve interested you, go buy OOTP18 and check it out for yourself.

Now, let’s meet the Fake Reds!

The game doesn’t take into account real-world media opinions on players and prospects, which is why you see the three ‘Top Prospects’ you see in the bottom left. Also, I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Zack Cozart is the third best player on the team. Regardless, this screen houses a pretty good overview of our team to start the year.

Here are our lineups and depth charts. I’ve set them up initially to mirror what the Reds will most likely do to start the season. Lineups against righties are almost identical to the lineup vs lefties, but I do have Kivlehan starting over Schebler against lefties, with Schebler starting every other third game against lefties. This will obviously be in flux as the season goes along. Let me know if you have any suggestions for this part – do we want to play by the books, try out an experimental lineup?

And our pitching staff. Again, this is set up how the Reds will likely use the staff to start the season. All of this is also up for debate.

And, to wrap up today’s look at the team, here is the farm system. I let the game automatically set which players start at which levels, with the exception of a few players the game is not as high on as the Real Reds are.

An important note about the ratings in OOTP: They follow the traditional 20-80 scouting rating scale. Also, they aren’t real ratings, like in other sports games like Madden or The Show. This is just what my personal in-game scout (Chris Buckley, in this case) thinks about these players. In the game, Buckley happens to favor players with tools over production, which is why Aquino is thought of with such a high regard. It doesn’t mean Nick Senzel will never be better than a 55 OVR player. He could be much better than that, or much worse. A different team’s scout could think Senzel should be rated 80 OVR. Future production all depends on how we bring him along, and how he develops. Like in real life, it’s mostly up to chance. Finding our best players in the future will be a combination of our scouting grades and minor league production, just like in real life.

With that, I’ll open the floor to questions about the game, suggestions for tweaks to make after Opening Day, and any comments on how you would like to see this team ran. If we want to try out Dick Williams’ recently revealed future-state bullpen strategy, let me know. If you want to run this team as closely as the real Reds will run things, let me know. If you want to trade all of our prospects for Giancarlo Stanton, let me know!

12 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    The Reds would trade Joey Votto for Chris Carter because of RBI.

    • GreggL

      Anyone who criticizes Votto for walking too much and for not swinging at enough bad pitches.

  2. magi210

    This brings back memories of an old C64 game called Microleague Baseball. Draft players and set lineups/choose strategies during the game. Sounds like a fun project.

  3. Sliotar


    Awesome. OOTP is the best. They could charge twice as much as they do, and I would still buy it each year.

    I did a quick simulation of 2017 and 2018 of the Reds to see if they could trade/flip their way to a deeper talent pool, with a contention window starting in 2019 or 2020.

    No two simulations are ever quite the same. Will be great to see how this one unfolds.

    By the way, congratulations to the 2017 World Series Champions Pittsburgh Pirates (!!!!), who upset the Cubs in the divisional round.
    (The playoffs are the small sample size, unpredictable crapshoot you would expect.)

  4. Tom

    This is a great idea but the problem for me is that if I were the GM, I wouldn’t care a bit about winning in 2017. All Reds fans know we are going to be bad this year, so winning a few extra games isn’t going to increase attendance that much. The Reds aren’t going to compete for the division for at least the next 3 season, so I’d be doing everything I could to try to be competitive by 2020. That means I’d:

    1) be trying to lose as many games as possible in ’17 so that I get a top 5 draft pick again in ’18.
    2) I’d give DeSclafani, Bailey and Mesorocco the maximum amount of time to rehab in the minors even if they are doing well. In fact, I’d DL any of the 25 year old or younger pitchers or hitters that suffer even a minor injury and keep them down in AAA rehabbing for as long as they can.
    3) I’d be curious to see how this system works for trades. Do you put players on a trading block and other computerized GM’s make offers (that would be really cool!)? Obviously, the number one goal would be to trade Cozart, but I’d also have every player 25 & over on the trading block – the older they are, the more likely I’d be to trade them. We’re not going to be competitive for 3 years & I don’t want anyone on THAT team pushing 30. If another GM made a good offer with good prospects then I’d make the trade. I’d do everything I could to put all of those older players in whatever capacity that would make them shine as individual players even if it costs us wins. You’ll probably see a lot less sacrifice bunts from those players. I’d try to play it so that Saves and Wins go only to those older players. If it weren’t too obvious, I’d be pinch hitting Scooter for Peraza with men in scoring position to boost Scooters value.
    4) The problem with the Reds farm system is that, though they have a LOT of good prospects, they have only 1-2 very good prospects. We need to beef up the top of our farm system. To resolve this, I’d do whatever it takes to sign the best 2 international prospects that MAY be available soon – Luis Roberts and Shohei Otani and any other top international players that are out there before 7/2 when we are restricted on what we can spend internationally. In the next 2 drafts, I’d take on a bunch of risks by taking high ceiling, low floor type players. In fact, those are the type of players I’d look at trading for in point 3 above.

    • GreggL

      Your #4 would be my #1. Seems to make too much sense. #1-3 is a valid approach, but I’d see how the team does in the first 3rd of the season before implementing it.

    • Jordan Barhorst

      I agree with a lot of this, and I think this is probably what you can expect from this series. It’ll be an attempt to see how well we can set the team up for 2018, 2019, and beyond. If there’s enough reader interest and interaction, we’ll keep it going next season.

  5. LR Green

    I don’t have this years version but I did look at it. I’ve played it in the past. It’s a great game. I didn’t get it because I don’t have time for the distraction. I can’t be going to bed at 2 a.m! It’s really a good game. I think the new version, which was just released, is $40.

  6. Jordan Barhorst

    Thanks! We’ll see how it goes. Should provide an entertaining distraction from the Real Reds 🙂