MLB sim Out of the Park Baseball nails its World Series prediction

Out of the Park Baseball 21, the hardcore management simulation fully licensed by Major League Baseball and its players since 2016, correctly predicted the World Series champion for the third time in four tries, following the Los Angeles Dodgers’ triumph over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

OOTP 21 ran 1,000 simulations of the 16-team postseason bracket — expanded because of the pandemic-shortened regular season — before the playoffs began, and came away with the Dodgers. While OOTP whiffed on predicting their opponents’ American League championship victory, the sim did correctly pick three of the four National League divisional round teams, and the Dodgers-Braves final, with Los Angeles winning.

Sports video games routinely get into the prediction business; few try to pick the whole postseason before it begins, though. And none run as many number-crunching sims as OOTP 21; EA Sports’ Madden NFL series has predicted the Super Bowl since 2004, correctly picking the winner 11 out of 17 times, but it’s only gotten 3 of the last 7 predictions right.

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In 2017, OOTP correctly picked the (cheatin’-ass) Houston Astros, following that up with a successful Red Sox call in 2018. Out of the Park Baseball 20 missed last year’s Washington Nationals triumph, but not by much. That series went seven games, with the Nats taking the lead in the seventh inning of the finale.

Out of the Park Developments tried picking the outcome of the 2018 season, all the way through the World Series, before the regular season even began, but missed when it called for the Dodgers to defeat Cleveland. (L.A. still made the World Series that year, though, losing to Boston.) The company hasn’t since made that a forecast that far out.

Out of the Park Baseball began in 1999 as the work of programmer Markus Heinsohn, working in northwest Germany. After attracting a cult following among serious baseball fans — including former players and well known statisticians and analysts — Out of the Park Developments added a mobile version of the game in 2014; picked up official licenses for Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in 2015; and added a Major League Baseball Players Association license in 2016, bringing all of the teams and their players to the game for the first time.

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