Steven Montani, a former independent player-agent, passed the MLB Players Association Agent Exam in 2017. Montani now recommends his scouted, high-impact cards to add to your collection in MLB The Show Diamond Dynasty.
Introduction and Latest News
MLB The Show is developed by Sony San Diego and is considered by many as Sony’s flagship sports title. Furthermore, Diamond Dynasty is MLB The Show’s digital baseball card, team-building game mode. And it is a mode rich in baseball goodness.
As a simulation game, The Show ‘23 reflects the game of baseball in its current state. Whereas defense and skill in the field were not prioritized with the advent of shifts, MLB’s rule changes in ‘23 will emphasize skillful glove work, athleticism, and intelligence. Moreover, defensive-minded players and intelligent baserunners will earn more playing time in the major leagues this year. Accordingly, such ball players will see their MLB The Show ratings increase. Thus, these are the ball players Dynasty players can target at a discount when the game drops in March. We can expect the Dynasty players to create more athletic team builds as a result.
Additionally, Sony San Diego is also making a concerted effort to incorporate intangibles such as leadership into its simulation game. Clubhouse leaders and veterans might be more impactful with the introduction of Captain Series cards in Diamond Dynasty.
With that, ‘23 presents a diversity of MLB players who might elevate Diamond Dynasty teams. The list below consists of some of my favorites who may be considered underrated heading into the season.
Diamond Dynasty Sleepers
J.P. Crawford | SS, Seattle Mariners | 88 OVR Event Series | Diamond Dynasty Sleeper
J.P. Crawford is the heart of the playoff contending Mariners of the Pacific Northwest. Crawford’s game is built off his skillful defense (84) and his plate vision (86). He can impact the game with a game-saving throw, his steady leadership, and his confidence. And his teammates feed off of his energy. Accordingly, we can expect Crawford to be awarded a Captain Series card, new to The Show ‘23 Diamond Dynasty.
Captain Series cards, available in Ranked Seasons, will translate player intangibles such as leadership into quantifiable ratings boosts. By incorporating card-game mechanics found in card games, such as Marvel Snap, The Show 23 and SDS effectively capture personality traits. Captain Series cards, aside from clutch ratings, are the first attempt by SDS to reward pro ball players for leadership ability – and SDS is only scratching the surface.
Player personality traits open up a new world of player grading largely unexplored by sports analytics, i.e., Google Statcast. Such card traits humanize players, as opposed to turning players into raw data. And with an increased emphasis on morale, the Show ‘23 will also follow in Konami’s WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros footsteps – an underrated baseball simulation game in its own right. With that, Captain Series cards will be an exciting new feature, and I expect J.P. Crawford to feature a new Captain card in ‘23.
Interestingly, Crawford is coming off one of his weaker seasons. He battled injuries late, and he was heavier in ‘22 looking for more barrels. This year, he has gone back to his foundation, and we can expect more range, more speed, and a better average with the shift now banned. Furthermore, Crawford worked with Driveline baseball labs in Washington this offseason, and all accounts from spring training say the ball sounds different coming off of his bat.
Look for Crawford to be an impact-maker in The Show ‘23 for both Ranked Seasons and even in Battle Royale.
Jonathan India | 2B, Cincinnati Reds | 92 OVR Event Series | Diamond Dynasty Sleeper
Jonathan India is being slept on, it is as simple as that. India, the rookie of the year in 2021, dealt with a bad hamstring last year, and also critically injured his right leg in a game in ‘22. In short, 2022 was a down-year for India, and Dynasty players can look to the high-flying secondbasemen for a bounce-back in ‘23.
India devoted himself this past winter to regaining his speed on the bases, which should improve his range and baserunning abilities in The Show ‘23. Moreover, since we can expect a lot more action in the MLB this year, India’s speed (81) and glove (76) will be critical for the Cincinnati Reds. Accordingly, we may see India’s Diamond Dynasty Live Series card rise early on in the ‘23 season.
Continuing, India’s hit tool in MLB The Show is more than adequate with a 99 and 102 graded contact versus lefties and rights, respectively. Additionally, India’s swing animation feels pure and responsive – there is no impression of input lag. India’s whip-action on his swing is both violent and finessed – the perfect combination for a hitter of his stature.
Like J.P. Crawford, India is demonstrating his ability to lead a team by example and he features a 99 clutch rating.
“I want to set a culture this year that’s different from the past,” said India in a recent 2023 story by the Cincinnati Enquirer. “…It fires me up…I want that fuel in me because I’m going to show everyone that I am the player I am. There’s a reason why I got here. I’m an infielder. I can play anywhere in the infield. And I’m going to prove it.”
Alek Thomas | CF, Arizona Diamondbacks/Team Mexico | 96 OVR Futures Series | Diamond Dynasty Sleeper
If we look at what Chinese-Tapai just did this week in the World Baseball Classic, their style of play looks a lot like how Battle Royale games play out in The Show. Contact hitting, defense, aggressive baserunning. In short, speed is a weapon in Diamond Dynasty; and whether it is bat speed, or baserunning (91 Speed), Alek Thomas of the Arizona Diamondbacks has it.
Continuing, Thomas’s archetype is more Yu Chang than Mike Trout, and that is okay. Alek’s bat speed and elite swing torque can generate more than enough power to impact games. Thus, Thomas is the type of game-breaking player Dynasty players need in Battle Royale; he can cover miles of turf in center, and impact the game in many ways at the plate.
As of this moment, the young outfielder for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic is an underrated all-around player. His technique allows him to impact the ball with power to all fields (hitting machine perk). Continuing, his outs above average, according to Statcast, is in the 90th percentile. Thomas has a contact rating of (107 average rating) on his Futures Series card, demonstrating his balanced hitting approach. In summary, Thomas plays with precision. Dynasty players should look for his card to add his electric skill set to their rosters on March 28th.
Jorge Alfaro | C, Boston Red Sox/Team Colombia | 87 OVR Event Series | Diamond Dynasty Sleeper
Catchers might have the most important defensive position on the field in 2023. While such a statement might be true in a vacuum, it is especially true in a year where the rules were changed to favor the running game. As a result, teams will need defensive-minded leaders, to control the run-game. Alfaro just might have what it takes to be a defensive captain on the diamond.
Alfaro is in the 96th percentile in pop-time, meaning he can get rid of the ball lightning-quick after receiving it. Moreover, Alfaro has the arm strength (98) to keep runners honest. Alfaro’s Diamond Card features a 78 accuracy grade and a cannon perk for his arm strength.
Additionally, Alfaro has demonstrated the ability to fill up the spray charts, represented in Dynasty formats with his hitting machine perk. Touted as a power-hitter as a prospect, Alfaro also maintains a massive frame, with the ability to run the bases and hit for serious power (bomber perk). Team Colombia’s designated hitter is off to a hot start in the World Baseball Classic, and he is showing signs of a breakout. And a breakout from the catcher position almost assuredly warrants a Captain Series card.
Alfaro became a walk-off hero for the San Diego Padres last year, earning him a 99 clutch rating on his Event Series card. Look for Alfaro’s Diamond Dynasty cards early this spring, and monitor his performance closely for a Captain Series card later on in Diamond Dynasty seasons.
Be sure to keep track of all of our MLB The Show ’23 coverage by our baseball writer, Brandon Satterwhite. Join the conversation by joining us on Discord, and check out our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our growing YouTube Channel!