Perfect Team mode in Out of the Park Baseball, which debuted in OOTP 19 last year and received an upgrade for OOTP 20 this year, fired up fans around the world. The competition to build the perfect roster and reach the lofty ranks of the Perfect Leagues has been fierce.
The OOTP crew has of course joined in on the fun too, so we asked 6 of them to tell us about their highlights playing Perfect Team, as well as their strategies for beating the opposition.
We talked to:
- OOTP Creator and Head Developer Markus Heinsohn
- OOTP Developments Chief Marketing Officer Rich Grisham
- OOTP Co-Developer Matt Arnold
- OOTP Development Assistant Lukas Berger
- OOTP Community Manager T.J. Lauerman
- OOTP Perfect Team Community Manager Kris Jardine
Q: What’s your top highlight from playing Perfect Team so far?
Heinsohn: Pulling a Perfect Honus Wagner card. Unfortunately it was during the beta, so it got erased when PT officially launched — too bad. But pulling a Perfect is just an amazing feeling!
Grisham: An extraordinary season I had a few weeks back where my team had a tremendous regular season and playoff run, taking a better team to Game 7 of the championship series only to lose in extra innings. I had a blast with that team that season, especially because the OOTP Perfect Team community helped me build it. And they still do, on Thursday nights at 10 PM ET most weeks.
But I also have a second highlight, and that was ripping a Perfect Ty Cobb card live on that weekly Thursday stream when I decided to get some packs with my leftover Perfect Points after buying a few players on the auction house. I’d never had a Perfect Card in any Perfect Team (19 or 20), and to rip it live on stream was just the best thing ever.
Arnold: I don’t think I can point to one specific highlight moment. I haven’t drawn a super-rare card yet, sadly, but have won a few league championships at the various levels. Probably my top highlight is when a team goes on a crazy lucky streak – I think once I had a case where it seemed like every couple packs I bought I was drawing Diamond cards and it was just crazy to see how long the streak lasted.
Berger: In the Perfect Team 19 beta, my team had dominated the league and was in the DCS. Had blown a 2-0 series lead and it was all tied up in the deciding game. The game went into extra innings, I fell behind in the top of the 13th, and I ended up winning the game and series on a walk-off inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 13th! Absolutely the most exciting moment I’ve ever had in OOTP.
Lauerman: Sadly, there haven’t been many highlights between my PT squads. They’ve only had a handful of playoff appearances that all ended in heartbreak, but Freddie Freeman did put together an amazing season for my Bravo Squad, consisting of all-time Braves players. In the 2021 season, he put together a pretty impressive season with a slash line of .317 / .413 / .574. He tallied 190 hits, 43 doubles, and 35 home runs.
Jardine: Still has to be pulling the 1997 Perfect Roger Clemens in the PT 19 beta. He was such a memorable player for me growing up as a Jays fan and being able to make that moment happen live on stream was amazing.
Q: What’s your strategy for assembling a team?
Heinsohn: I try to focus on pitching and good defence first. It seems like defense is a bit undervalued in the auction house, so there are some quality cards to be found that fit well into my team and help my pitching staff out. Other than that, I try to utilize the individual player strategy settings quite a bit; I think that helps a lot over the course of an entire season.
Grisham: This is easy – stream! The Perfect Team community is brilliant, and when I stream I ask them to help me identify problem spots and address them via the Auction House, as well as training players, rotation settings, strategies, ballpark factors, everything. It’s just a great conversation with supportive people and they’ve helped me dramatically improve my team, zooming from Iron to Diamond leagues, where I am right now – battling to capture that elusive first championship.
Personally, I’ve come to love Defensive Efficiency – especially up the middle. I’ve really put together a few strong teams with very high Defensive Efficiency – between 1st and 3rd in the league – and that’s a recipe for success. It helps pitching so much too, although you do have to give up some offense along the way. That’s why I would prefer my power to come from the corner infielders and outfielders.
But – remember – I haven’t won a championship, although I have ascended to the Diamond Leagues, one level shy of the top tier, Perfect. So who knows!
Arnold: I can’t say I have any specific strategy for putting a team together. Generally speaking, I aim for a well-balanced team. I need at least a few guys with power, at least a few guys with high contact, and then make sure that I don’t have too many bad defensive spots down the roster. I usually make sure that my backups are strong defensively and then. over time, I just keep fiddling to improve positions one by one.
I try to balance buying packs and buying guys from the Auction House. I know packs don’t give you great odds, but I just really like seeing if I can get lucky, and I know that packs are the only way I’m going to get those truly historic players. The rest of my points go toward the auction house, with a balance of either just casually browsing for someone who looks like they’d be an upgrade on my team and who comes in at a good deal, or if I know what I want, then I’ll search and try to find the guy with the right fit. Although usually that just ends up with me being annoyed – who knew that guys with high contact, power, and eye, and who played a plus defense, were expensive?
Berger: This really depends on my mood. I tend to lean toward historical players, but since modern players are much better values in the Auction House, I include quite a few of them.
I love opening packs. It’s just a real thrill, so I do it pretty often in the hope I’ll get lucky. The best I’ve ever done out of opening packs is a 96 overall Bob Gibson card, but I’ve had several better cards I bought in the Auction House. So generally speaking, I’d say the Auction House is a better value for adding cards, at least once you have a basically decent team built up.
So open packs to start, then fill out your team in the Auction House, and use extra bonus points, like from unexpectedly great performances, etc. to take the chance of opening packs. Any points I pay for with real money, though I typically find I almost always spend points in the Auction House on cards I especially want or need.
I also find it really pays to focus on building your pitching staff. The thing is, pitchers are typically more volatile than hitters and can have freakishly bad or good years (though this happens to hitters in Perfect Team as well, I think because the talent is so much more tightly clustered in the higher level leagues than it ever would be in a normal OOTP league). So it definitely makes sense not to overreact. Typically a card will play at its level in a large enough sample size over time, so you just have to be patient enough to wait and trust in variance to come back around.
Lauerman: At the start of a Perfect Team, I like to save up and open a lot of packs to try to get a nice baseline team. From there, I’m almost exclusively looking for players to upgrade them and my focus on opening packs goes away, unless I’m feeling lucky.
The main thing I’m looking for when building my team is guys that are going to get on base and not strike out, so I value high Eye and Avoid K’s ratings. There are a lot of pitchers with high Stuff ratings but low Control, so I want my team to be able to lessen the amount of strikeouts and increase my chances of getting on base or making productive outs.
With pitchers, especially for starting pitchers, I’m looking for “triple greens,” players who have 60+ in each of the basic pitching ratings: Stuff, Movement, and Control. For relievers, I tend to let that tilt a little more toward guys with high Stuff but decent ratings in Movement and Control, even if they don’t make it into the green.
Jardine: One of my biggest strategic tips is balance. I try to build a team that covers all facets of the game so there are no relative weaknesses. I’m always looking at team performance in all of the different stat categories and then trying to make acquisitions that will improve a struggling area. I try to build a team that gives other players trouble finding a weakness to expose. I like to start my focus with defense and bullpen. A solid defensive alignment and a great bullpen can go a long way, especially early in Perfect Team, and help make your team a contender.
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