Press Release
Out Of The Park Baseball 9 - About Scouting

Hello again from OOTP Developments! Today we explain the new scouting system of OOTP 9 in detail.

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A Look at Scouting

Written by OOTP community member and beta tester John Jarmenia

If the mention of scouting in OOTP has visions of micromanagement, bloated league files, and unfair advantages for the AI, fear no more. Scouting has been completely revamped in OOTP9.

Those of you unaware, Markus tried something new in the development process this year. With the exception of yours truly, Markus assembled the best and brightest OOTP minds on what was called the design team. This team's mission was to go through the hundred or so feature requests Markus thought he would implement and write designs as to how the new OOTP 9 features should be coded. Of all the designs assigned to the design team, without question the design that got the most attention was the scouting model. It resulted in a 15 page design, 376 posts in the design thread, and who knows how many lines of instant messenger messages. We hope you like the new design.

First, for you online leagues, don't feel left out. One of the best things about the new scouting model is that it reduces the impact on league file size by 80%. Yep that right, the new scouting model is 80% more efficient than OOTP8. That's not just good for online leagues though. Its great for solo players as well since it keeps the memory footprint lower.

So, let's dig into this thing already. The major difference between OOTP8's scouting model and OOTP9's is that you no longer hire an entire scouting team. Instead you hire your scouting director, using a system much like bidding for free agents, and he assembles a theoretical team based on his attributes and preferences. So what exactly are the scouting director's attributes you ask? Good question… The scouting directors have four ratings which you are probably already familiar with, and one preference that you are not. The four ratings are Scout Major League, Scout Minor Leagues, International Scouting, and Scout Amateurs. These are all self explanatory. The new preference is what is currently called Amateur Preference (it will probably be renamed before release). This preference has five possible values: Highly Favor Ability, Favor Ability, Neutral, Favor Tools, and Highly Favor Tools. These represent not an ability of the scout, but the method the scout uses in evaluating players. A scout that highly favors ability will put more weight on what the player can currently do than what the behind the scenes "potential" rating says. The highly favor tools scout will put more weight in the behind the scenes "potential" rating. The resulting "Displayed Potential" is the potential the scout thinks that player has the possibility to reach. This results in scouts that favor ability tending to prefer players a little more developed (college type players) while scouts that favor tools tend to favor high school aged prospects. You can be successful with either preference, but it will have an effect on how you draft and manage your minor leagues. But that's not the only change to the scouting system this year…

With scouts on, you no longer get instant information on rating hits or bumps. Instead your scout will send you scouting reports at key points during the season which will update the displayed ratings. This makes it hard to determine if that slump your player is in is caused by poor ratings or just plain old bad luck. But there's more…

The AI now uses scouts as well. They don't work exactly like the human scouts do but the results are the same. This has the advantage of making the AI act more realistic. How so? Well the AI may seem to overpay for a player your scout says is on a decline yet the AI's scout says the player is still in his prime. The opposite can be true as well. The AI mybe trying to dump a player with still decent ratings because his scout says he's on the decline. Now, when offered a trade by the AI you can no longer be sure if he's offering you a player because the player is on the decline, or just because it "thinks" he's on the decline. This definitely adds to the challenge.

The last big change to the OOTP scouting model is the budget. You get to set your scouting budget in four categories during the preseason (Major League Scouting, Minor League Scouting, International Scouting, and Amateur Scouting). The more you spend in an area, the more likely you are to be successful in scouting that area. I say likely because throwing money at the problem doesn't always solve it. That also depends on the ratings of your scouting director and good old fashion luck.

To sum it up I am very happy with the way scouting has turned out and being someone that has always played with scouts off, I will definitely be playing with them on in OOTP9. Hopefully all the OOTPers out there will enjoy the new changes as well.

Here are some screenshots of the scouting feature. The league which was used is the ABA, which comes as a quickstart-game in OOTP 9. The ABA is based in the 1950's and features the appropriate financials and strategy settings, as well as purely fictional players. Also included are great fictional logos, hats & uniform templates. Thanks to Jeff Evans (Raidergoo) who invested a lot of work in this great quickstart-game!