Baseball Mogul is the best MLB simulation game ever and the very definition of thoughtful recreation.
Baseball is a thinking man’s game. The recent rise in sabermetrics proves this. And, that some people have too much time on their hands.
If you are a person that enjoys franchise mode of any sports video game or simulation, possibly even more than the gameplay itself, Baseball Mogul is for you. It takes the concepts applied in franchise mode and combines with a level of detail befitting a real MLB general manager.
Additionally, if you play in one pitch mode (meaning one pitch for at bat) games can take less than 10 minutes. Conversely, you can simulate single games, weeks, months, even years with minimal time investment. Or, as much time as you want to spend.
My first experience with an MLB simulation game was APBA Baseball.
APBA is an acronym for “American Professional Baseball Association.” Initially a board game launched in 1951, it eventually made the transition to a PC version. I am currently involved in a 16-team fantasy draft replay of the 1993 season and loving it.
But, one of the flaws of APBA is the experience of actually playing the game. This is where Baseball Mogul shines.
A full at bat is simulated with one click or your mouse. It could be one pitch, it could be a billion (imagine a billion pitch AB, lol). It simulates each pitch, shows you what kind of pitch, the MPH, and even location in an easy to read graph.
In the upper right hand corner, you see the play-by-play text related to each at bat. What happened, the fielders involved, and the ultimate outcome of the play.
The middle of the screen is dedicated to the batter facing the pitcher (with full animation) while the animation above shows where the ball is in the context of the stadium of each of the 32 MLB teams. It also shows the defensive ratings for each fielder on a scale of 100. And if you get a man on base, it shows his speed, also on a 100 point scale.
Another nice touch are the sounds of the game. Ambient sounds of fans in the stands continue throughout the game and they react to the action on the field as it happen. The crack of the bat, the sound of the ball hitting a fielder’s clove, it is all here and adds to the experience.
From this screen, you can steal, hit and run, bunt, and every other imaginable choice or outcome a big league manager faces during a game.
The main screen/home screen is the image above. From here, you can play games, adjust your lineup, scout other teams, or even get a detailed scouting report and grade for any player in the game.
Speaking of scouting reports, not only do you have the active roster of pitchers and players, but you have access to a full slate of REAL minor league players from Triple AAA to Single A.
Based on their performance at the various levels, you can elevate players to the active MLB roster, or demote them to the dregs of A ball.
But this ALL must be done in the context of payroll. You can adjust concession prices, negotiate media deals, re-sign players, etc.
I started my Baseball Mogul journey with a replay of the 2023 Kansas City Royals.
As you can imagine, it was a rough season. Zack Greinke and Brady Singer carried my pitching staff, while Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez carried the batters. And just like in real life, nothing much to report aside from those 4 players.
This continued throughout the 2024 season. Since the ’23 Royals were dead last in home runs, I overspent to acquire former Royals stud and club single-season home run record holder Jorge Soler. And have been in the red ever since.
I was encouraged that through 32 games we were 16-16. But as it turned out that was the high-water mark of the season. I am still licking my wounds in anticipation of 2025. Though Soler did lead the club in HR with 32.
Since I started with the worst team ever (on pace to have the most losses in a single season in Royals’ franchise history), I decided to start another concurrent season with the 1991 Pittsburgh Pirates.
They were a badass team I loved as a kid and I wanted to right the wrong of them losing three-straight NLCS.
Plus, since I started with the worst team (possibly ever) how different would it be to use one of the best?
But I have difficult decisions to make, that make me love this MLB simulation game even more. An entire extra layer of simulation and gameplay.
There’s only so much money to go around, but Doug Drabek, Bobby Bonilla, and the man you love to hate Barry Bonds are all free agents after this season. As Cleveland Indians catcher Tom Berenger/Jake Taylor once said in the movie Major League, “Let’s win the whole bleepin’ thing.”
I have touched on most of the big league in-season and in-game management aspects. Another thing to consider is the ability to customize game play.
The first game I ever played was a simulation match-up between the 2015 World Series champion Royals versus the 1985 World Series champion Royals.
In true 2015 fashion, the ’15 Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth off of ace closer ’95 Jeff Montgomery to secure the DUB, 5-4. It was thrilling. I also forgot how great Willie Wilson was and was reminded during the course of the game. And that Steve Balboni could MASH.
You can play full seasons with any team from 1901 to 2023. You can build a league with up to 32 teams comprised of any team in MLB history. You can create a custom league with fictional players. You can also grab your friends and draft full squads via fantasy draft mode.
Baseball Mogul is such a fun game. I have spent hours playing this game, with the intent of “just playing one game in my season”, and look forward to many more. I think I’ll play one more right now!
What is your favorite MLB simulation game? If you’ve got a suggestion, let us know and we will check it out.