How Many Altuves?

Length in Feet:

Number of Jose Altuves:

*Note: Number of Jose Altuves is Official Standard Listed Altuves (OSLA). Actual Number of Jose Altuves may vary.

OOTP 16 Review - The Best Keeps Getting Better

Those that have been following us for a while know that we are huge fans of the Out of the Park Baseball franchise, and OOTP has really outdone themselves with their latest version. As always, the level of detail is unbelievable, but one of the underrated parts of their program for me are the quotes and trivia tidbits that you see while the game is loading and simming. For example, with this year's version I learned why the bullpen is called the bullpen. It seems that in Cincinnati in the 1870's there was a billboard for the Bull Durham Tobacco Co that stood above where the pitchers warmed up. For me, baseball is just as much fun for diving into its rich history as it is for the exciting athletes who play the game today. But anyone can dig up historical trinkets, where OOTP really sets itself apart is the depth of its sim and its constant striving for excellence.

The first thing that sets this year's edition apart from previous iterations is that, for the first time ever, OOTP has a license from MLB. What that means is official logos, and not just the current ones. Every logo of every franchise it now available. Want your Mariners to sport the old trident unis? Or think the Padres looked best in gold and brown? Now you can do it with ease.

As always, OOTP offers full roster sets, from the major league club all the way down to the Dominican Leagues, with ratings based on PECOTA, to ensure that sims are as accurate as possible. Last year saw them expand to include many international leagues, and with OOTP 16 we get full independent leagues with real rosters. Now you can find the next Daniel Nava.

Another area that OOTP 16 makes great strides is by expanding the depth of their front office options. No longer is your team owner some vague suit that would fire you for your first losing season. Now he has a personality and interacts with you through a series of goals that help you mark your success, or failure.

Often included in these goals are certain financial targets, which you have the ability to achieve based not only on your ability to field a winning team while staying within budget. Now you can set ticket prices that have a real impact on things, including season ticket sales.

Also included in the front office revamp are robust manager ratings and temperments. Want a manager with a strict, demanding personality, or a pitching coach that can help your young flamethrower reach is full potential? Now you can see a manager's tendencies before offering him that contract. You can even see which strategic elements he's dead set on, and which areas he's willing to listen to your input. 

All this, of course, is icing on the cake that is the best, most detailed, most accurate sim in the business. You can let the season run its course, or choose to manage each game of the season, even including the full minor league seasons. And should you find yourself in the midst of a playoff race come September, OOTP has added a new playoff chase screen where you can follow your teams odds of success day by day, game by game; even compare the strength of your remaining schedule against that of your rivals.

The final new feature I want to touch on is the Hall of Fame voting. In the past, you could either let the system decide who gets elected based on preset criteria, or you could force a play to be elected. Now, though, you can be a part of the voting. Take the PED dilemma into your own hands and fight for Clemens, Bonds, etc. or help them to wither on the vine. Either way, you have a voice to shape the Hall how you want.

What I didn't focus on this year is the meat and potatoes of OOTP, but rest assured this product is as robust as ever on that front. But for fans of the series like me, the exciting part of each year's effort are the new and innovative features and OOTP 16 delivers as always.

Congrats to Jose Altuve!

How Many Altuves would like to congratulate Jose Altuve for becoming the first Astros player to earn the title "Batting Champion." Jose had 225 hits en route to his American League leading .341 batting average.

Jose's 299 total bases mean he legged out 4,968 Altuves this season!

OOTP Review

This is the second year the kind folks over at OOTP have provided me with an advance copy of their outstanding OOTP Baseball franchise to preview, and this year's edition continues their run of excellence and improvement. As good as OOTP 14 was, OOTP 15 is even better.

Not only do they continue to fine tune their ratings and simulation accuracy year over year, but they constantly add exciting, new features to make their product even more immersive (read that as addictive). This year's new features include the ability to run full international leagues (NPB, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Cuban, Taiwanese, and Dutch leagues are included), including a posting system for players to move from one league to another.

Also new for this season (though not yet fully functional; a patch will be released soon) are 3D renderings of parks and simmed gameplay. One of the great things about this franchise, too, is that there is an extensive modding community that allows players to circumvent sticky trademark issues, so with a quick download you can add actual player pictures, team logos, etc.

All this is in addition to their extremely detailed gameplay options. They have the full complement of minor league levels, including the new-for-this year Dominican and Venezuelan minor leagues. Their draft system is very realistic. You get to choose how much or how little you want to micro-manage the day-to-day baseball operations, including rosters, lineup, promotions, trades, arbitration...if you can think of it, it's in the game.

Being an Astros fan, I had to channel my inner Luhnow to try to rebuild Houston into the perennial title contenders we all know they'll soon be. (Right? It's gonna happen, right? Please?!) Here is that journey through the 2014 season.

Look at this handsome devil. He looks just like me.

My first order of business was to check in with the boss.

Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence there, Jimbo.

As an example of how awesome it is to be able to play GM, I've decided George Springer will make the squad on Opening Day. Surely he alone can make me an early season favorite, right?

Well maybe not. I'm not sure why the Dallas Rangers are expected to do so poorly but, as an Astros fan, I'll take it!

Another must as an Astros fan is dumping Lucas Harrell. If anyone will make a bad trade to take him off my hands, it's Ruben Amaro, right?

For the most part, I let the season sim itself out from here. Surprisingly, heading into July my squad was a couple games over .500, so I traded in a couple spare parts to shore up the major league squad. Nothing drastic, as we're still all-in on the rebuild, but I wanted to add a couple bona fide major leaguers with "veteran presence" to help with the potential run at a wild card. 

 Computer issues prevented me from getting some good screenshots from the stretch drive but, predictably, my club game up short of the playoffs, though we did get 70+ wins. 2015 was a different story, though, as Jon Singleton had a solid rookie season, Brett Oberholtzer learned a new pitch and took a huge step forward, winning the Cy Young award, and Carlos Correa and Domingo Santana gave the club a huge shot in the arm in the second half to lead Houston to the playoffs. That's right. Your 2015 Wild Card Astros.

 Another of my favorite things about the OOTP franchise is that, if you want, you can set it so that the league evolves through things like expansion and rule changes. There are also Story Lines, that give the game a well-rounded feel, giving you a peek into the personal lives of your sim-players.

One thing I haven't touched on this year's version of OOTP is the ability to set up fictional and historic leagues. Want to manage the '27 Yankees? You can do that. Want to create your own, 12 team league with random cities, high school and college leagues feeding your draft, and no minor leagues? You can do that. And my favorite option is to randomize what year historical players show up. In OOTP 14, Stan Musial was an absolute beast playing for the Mets in 1995.

It is no exaggeration to say that OOTP 15 is everything you could want in a baseball simulation game. Go get it. I even added an easy button at the top right of the page that takes you straight to checkout.

Shortest cleanup hitter?

If you haven't heard yet, the Astros have been occasionally slotting Jose Altuve into the cleanup spot in the lineup this season. In an interview between Jay Mohr and Jeff Luhnow, they wondered if Altuve was the shortest cleanup hitter ever. Let's see what we can find.

Rabbit Maranville - Rabbit was listed at the same 1 Altuve height as Jose. Over the course of his career, he started a game in the cleanup spot 76 times, 73 of those occurring in 1914. Of course, this was before the rise of the home run hitter, and batting cleanup wasn't necessarily reserved for sluggers. This was the time when "Homerun" Baker never hit more than 12 in a season.

Freddie Patek - Though appearing in the 4 spot five times in his career, they were all as subs. Patek never started a game as the cleanup hitter.

Unfortunately, most of the position players who stood in at 1 Altuve or less played in an era we don't have much information on. Did Wee Willie Keeler or Topsy Hartsell hit cleanup? I can't tell you; Baseball-Reference doesn't have splits available for their time period. But it looks like Jose Altuve has, once again, found himself standing tall among short players.