Play time: 10 facts about R.B.I. Baseball 16

Play time: 10 facts about R.B.I. Baseball 16

Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced Tuesday that R.B.I. Baseball 16 is now available at participating U.S. and Canada retailers as well as for download, and here are 10 things to know about the much-anticipated video game release:

1. It comes complete with this advice from cover star Mookie Betts of the Red Sox: "Just stay with it. Dreams do come true. Just work hard and let the chips fall where they may."

2. You can be like Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Trout, Kevin Pillar and others by making ridiculous catches at the wall, and then brag about them on social media. A redeveloped defensive AI introduces new fielding capabilities including those wall catches, dives, fake throws and more. This system gives you more control than ever in making defensive plays.

3. Like Betts in the outfield, R.B.I. Baseball 16 is all over the place. It is on far more platforms than in previous years. In additional to downloading the digital version for iOS, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam, gamers also can now purchase the physical product at participating U.S. and Canada retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop, Toys 'R Us and Target.

4. Lead Distance, First Step, Max Speed ... go. Baserunners' abilities are built in part from MLBAM's award-winning tracking Statcast™ technology, and they will be driven by on-field metrics from the 2015 season. Does your catcher have the Arm Strength and Pop Time?

5. Swing earlier on inside pitches and later on outside pitches. An improved batting engine will feature variable perfect timing, and you'll want to follow that tip for the best outcome. Work hard at it like Betts, who said in a Twitter interview last week: "I can still improve a whole lot more getting my hitting to be more consistent."

6. Be "honored and hungry" and you will go far. Hey, it works for Marcus Stroman, who tweeted that after being named Opening Day starter for the Blue Jays. The right-hander is Canada's representative as the R.B.I. Baseball 16 cover player, and we can't wait to see how his sim version will fare. With a reworked pitching strategy AI, pitchers will play to their individual strengths. For example, a pitcher who features a wide range of velocity will mix speeds more often.

7. Sims and double-switches. Everyone is posting their postseason predictions and projected individual award winners, and you can one-up them by running your own simulated picks. During season mode play, sim a game or multiple games to quickly advance through the season and into the postseason -- should the team win its division or earn a Wild Card spot. Lineups can be set from a franchise's 40-man roster or the game's classic 16-player rosters, and you can modify a lineup pregame or in-game, including substitution strategies such as those constant National League double switches.

8. Day games or night games, and even those dreaded on-field shadows. All 30 ballparks will feature a new lighting system based on actual geographic locations, field views and additional hi-resolution realistic design elements.

9. There are more than 1,100 reasons to play. Modify your team's lineup with complete MLB rosters including that many members of the MLB Players Association. Take Todd Frazier, for example. In this space one year ago while he was with the Reds, we posted a sim result that predicted he would bat .263 with 88 runs, 24 homers, 91 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. He wound up at .255 with 82 runs, 35 homers, 89 RBIs and 13 steals ... and a trade. Now you can see how he fares with the White Sox, and get a look at all those other new players in new places.

10. Speaking of Frazier ... we would be remiss in ignoring his dramatic hometown title in the last Home Run Derby in Cincinnati. Or that the brand-new MLB.com Home Run Derby video game is now available as well on all Apple devices, with the new Petco Park backdrop for All-Star Week.

 

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.