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Old 02-12-2015, 09:44 PM   #1
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NBL - Grand Championship Preview

The following preview was written by the NBL's team representative.

Established in 2013, the NBL was formed to create a fictional major league baseball type set-up. The 2016 season will be our 5th, having crowned 4 different champions so far. We have 24 teams located in all the major US markets from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles. Our league has 4 levels of minors and 2 feeder leagues to produce our draft classes. The Nippon league also runs side-by-side to give us some stronger international FAs and the ability to track their careers before shelling out millions. To keep things on a somewhat even playing field, the NBL utilizes a salary cap of $125M and revenue sharing of 25%. We also have some contract house rules to eliminate some of the flaws in the game.

League Website: OOTPNBL

You can check out the NBL team by visiting: Home Page

NBL is proud to announce our GCL roster for the 2015 season!

Starting Rotation
Howard Adams
Dave Parker
Don Reilly
Mauro Rivera
Doug Morris

Middle Reliever R Chris Washington
Middle Reliever R Paco Gusmo
Middle Reliever L Héctor Deleón
Setup Reliever L Kyle O'Higgins
Setup Reliever R Tyler Ward
Closer R Steve Browning

1 L Stephen Peterson 3B
2 R Alonso Zamora CF
3 L Francisco Asveldo 2B
4 R Norberto López RF
5 R Luis Antonio Ramírez DH
6 L Juan Palma LF
7 R Chris Holmes SS
8 L Allen Higgins 1B
9 S Warner Davis C

1 R Jim Curtis 1B
2 R Luis Antonio Ramírez DH
3 R Alonso Zamora CF
4 R Norberto López RF
5 R Chris Holmes SS
6 L Francisco Asveldo 2B
7 R Landon Woods LF
8 S Warner Davis C
9 L Stephen Peterson 3B

The Outfield (“You have WHO on your team?!”)
Yes, we have all three: Norberto López, Alonso Zamora, and Juan Palma. Needless to say, our biggest strength is probably our OF. Alonso Zamora is the best all around player on the planet right now -- and OSA agrees, ranking him as the top player in the game. By his side in LF and RF will be Norberto López, and Juan Palma.

These three all-stars were each in the top 6 in RC/27 innings last year among OFs and Lopez & Palma aren’t too badly ranked in OSA rankings themselves, coming in at #4 and #6, among ALL players. We think these are the three best OFs in the entire game right now and are expecting them to carry the middle of our lineup while also blanketing the OF with their top notch defense. Zamora and Lopez are reigning NL GG winners and Palma plays plus defensive in the corner OF positions as well. And while Landon Woods might get some starts in LF versus LHP, Palma will be playing LF the bulk of the time.

And don’t forget about Luis Antonio Ramírez. He’s normally a RF but since we have Lopez, there’s no need for him to play the field. Ramirez will be our everyday DH and we are expecting him to chip in 20+ HRs while hitting .300+.

The Infield (“Wait, I thought the outfield was better than the infield...”)
Only by a hair. The infield is not too shabby themselves. It is lead by the best SS in the game, Chris Holmes. Flanking him at 3B and 2B will be young stars, Francisco Asveldo and Stephen Peterson. Both are listed as third basemen but Holt will play second and Peterson will play third. Asveldo is best suited for 2B, despite his listed position, simply because he has performed better defensively at 2B over the course of his career, yielding a positive ZR at 2B, unlike when at 3B.

Peterson, with his cannon of an arm, produced a whopping +14.8 ZR at third last year. At the plate, we’re expecting big things from both. We expect Peterson to continue his trend of having a +.400 OBP and we expect Holt to be one of the best all around hitters in the game.

We don’t think there are many better IF hitters than Francisco Asveldo. He boasted 29 HRs and a .897 OPS last year and we expect him to be even better this year. He’ll join Lopez, Zamora and Ramirez in the middle of our lineup.

Behind the plate, we’re anchored by the switch hitting Warner Davis. While he doesn’t boast the power or an elite level of OBP, we think that his quality switch hitting ability and strong defense just might make him the best all around catcher in the game.

The Pitching Staff (“Okay, this doesn’t seem fair...”)

I know. In the rotation, there’s no three pitchers in the game that we’d want on the mound over Howard Adams, Dave Parker, and Don Reilly. They’re listed as #1, #2, and #4, respectively, on OSA’s top pitcher rankings. We think OSA is only off by a hair ;-). Last year, Parker and Reilly were #1 and #2 in FIP among all SPs; and, while Adams had a ‘down’ year by coming in ‘only’ at #7 in FIP we expect him to revert to his Cy-Young-winning ways from the previous year where he’ll be in a class by himself.

And while Doug Morris and Mauro Rivera aren’t quite on the level of our big 3, they are each outstanding. In fact, Morris' FIP was nearly identical as Adams last year and Rivera was right behind him. All in all, these 5 guys were each in the top 11 in FIP last year and we expect more of the same this coming year.

Rounding out the staff in the BP, we’re lead by the best closer in the game, Steve Browning. And with a 147 combined Saves from last year alone, the rest of the BP is, shall we say, strong. The problem is that literally everyone in the BP wants to be the closer!

The Question Marks (“See, I knew there were some holes somewhere!”)

Okay, okay, if we have to dig for them, one might argue that we have some question marks. Most notably, you might think we’re weak at 1B. Our starting first baseman is Allen Higgins. “Who?

But, hey, we couldn’t afford top talent given our budget so we went for the value-bin with Higgins. On the one hand, he hit a ‘bleh’ .241 last year while striking out 125 times, both right along with his career averages, and he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. On the other hand, we think he’s pretty good. He hit 25 HRs last year, plays above average defense, has a solid eye, and he won’t be called upon to try to hit LHP, like he was last year, which is where he struggles the most. If he plays like he did last year and perhaps exceeds that play by a little bit, he could be pushing close to .800 OPS.

And Jim Curtis will have 1B-duty versus LHP so we won’t only be relying on Higgins at 1B on those days. Curtis, normally an OF, is a very good defensive 1B and had a whopping .971 OPS versus LHP last year. If we were to combine the two into one first baseman (Commish, are we allowed to do that? :-D), we’d expect 3-4 WAR out of them/him this year.

Another potential cause for concern is Mauro Rivera’s control. We love his strikeout ability and the nasty movement he brings to the table, but his control needs to be kept in check. Last year he struggled with his control by walking 4.5 guys per 9 innings. If he can get that to below 3 or 3.5, we’ll be very happy. Otherwise, he’s going to find himself as the odd man out of our expected 4-man rotation come playoff time. But, hey, that makes my job easier, right?

And, while we’re loaded with closers in our BP, they’re not infallible. Our BP are, for the most part, elite at preventing HRs and BBs, but half of them are just ‘okay’ when it comes to getting hitters to swing and miss. Other than Browning, Kyle O'Higgins, and Tyler Ward the other three have very mediocre stuff. Chris Washington, Héctor Deleón and Paco Gusmo each only have 55 stuff. We hope that that doesn’t come back to haunt us in a tight playoff game when we call on them to come in with runners in scoring position and we need a big K!

Hopefully the biggest problem with our BP this year will be keeping everyone happy. They are all expecting to be the closer! That means that 5 of the 6 are going to become increasingly upset with their role as the season progresses.

But that’s okay. There is a solution: just win, baby. If we come together as a team and are successful, no one is going to be whining about it come playoff time. They each might not be happy about their role, but they’ll have an upbeat morale overall. Winning has a funny way of making you not sweat the small stuff. Let’s hope that’s the case!
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:32 AM   #2
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