MLB The Show 20 is out now and there’s a lot of people diving into it for the first time. While there are plenty of MLB The Show veterans that pick up right where they left off from 19, there are just as many new players to the series who are looking for help getting started.
From settings to strategies at the plate, these are some tips to help the beginning batter make more contact and get on base in MLB The Show 20.
Before we get into it, know that not everyone is going to have the same success in the game. Your skill level and personal preference still make the biggest impact on your success on the diamond. These are just here to get you going and provide you with some of what we feel are best practices. Oh, and don’t expect to make contact on every single pitch no matter what. That’s just not going to happen, especially if you take your play online.
MLB The Show 20’s practice mode
Now first things first. Though it may sound great to go into games to try things out, I don’t recommend that at all. Instead, use the game’s Custom Practice mode. You can set up your batter, hitter, runners, and more to help you get all the practice you need before taking it to games that matter.
Adjust your settings
Next, you want to take care of some things in the settings before actually stepping up to the plate.
The biggest setting you’ll want to figure out is your camera. Many will tell you that Strike Zone is the be-all, end-all camera if you want to perform better at the plate, but I don’t believe that to be the case. And that’s not because I don’t like the camera because I do. It’s just that I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all setting like that.
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So, what you’ll want to do is go through the different camera options available — over 20 plus custom options — to see what you prefer. I will suggest starting with the Strike Zone cam, and working your way from there. You may find that it’s just a bit to close which is ok. Strike Zone 2 and 3 are similar views just a bit more zoomed out to give you more of the overall presentation. I will say though, don’t bother trying cameras like Wide, Pitcher or Fish Eye because you’ll find yourself struggling to get a good sense of balls and strikes more often than not.
Aside from your camera, the other setting you’ll want to mess with is your hitting interface. For this, there really is no other option. If you want to have the most control and, in turn, the most success, utilize the Zone interface which will give you the PCI while at the plate. And stick with buttons over analog for swing control.
With the settings out of the way, let’s talk about actually hitting the ball. After all, that’s the real reason why you’re here.
Hitting is more than just the swing of the bat. There are elements in play before a pitch is even thrown that go a long way towards helping you get base hits.
The PCI or Plate Coverage Indicator is the most important thing to a batter as its a representation of your batter’s vision stats along with general swing placement. Before the pitcher starts his windup, you’re going to want to find a comfortable starting spot.
This is where you’ll want plenty of trial and error. If you find yourself constantly dropping the PCI down on almost every pitch, try starting low where you only have to worry about moving up and over. If you struggle to reach those higher pitches in the zone, start at the top and move down.
For many, they like to react as a pitch comes in. Start the PCI in the middle and simply move it as the pitch comes. This requires a bit of a quicker reflex because you have to be ready to move anywhere, so I really don’t recommend doing this unless you already have fast reflexes. It’s really all up to your preference and habit here.
For the beginner, though, covering the inside of the plate will provide you with a better contact chance on more pitches as it takes away a pitcher coming tight. On top of that, it’s much quicker and easier to move your PCI to the outside to cover a pitch than it is to bring it in. Besides, you’re much more likely to let a pitch go for a ball if you have to go inside out on it than vice versa.
Patience is a virtue
This next tip may sound obvious but it needs to be said: WAIT FOR YOUR PITCH.
Seriously, don’t swing at everything just because it’s close, especially if you’re ahead in the count. The last thing you want is to have a 3-0 count with 1 out and 1 man ruined because you got impatient at the plate and struck out. Practice discipline and take advantage of a pitcher’s mistake which will happen, especially online. Besides, just getting the ball in play can lead to lucky breaks going your way like a fielder bobbling the transition or the ball hitting a bag.
Choose your swing wisely
When it comes to which swing to chose at the plate, I highly recommend normal swings for most of your at-bats. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times to use power or contact swings.
If you find yourself behind in the count and just want to keep yourself alive before getting your pitch, the contact swing is a great choice because it’ll expand your PCI a bit for more coverage at the expense of your power. This will give you the chance to foul some close pitches off to stave off a strikeout and give yourself a shot.
Power is useful if you have that perfect pitch that you know you can take deep. Though, you better have your timing down pat if you plan on taking that chance.
Just try not to be discouraged if you find yourself making great contact but still ending up out because even the best players in the world still only make it to base 30-40% of the time.
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Practice makes perfect
And lastly, we’ll wrap this all up by going back to where we started: practice.
You’re not going to become the next Aaron Judge or Mike Trout overnight. Take your time, take advantage of what the game offers you, and practice your swing and your patience.
Utilize all of the different cameras, PCI designs, and PCI placements until you find that perfect mesh of everything. Once it all falls into place, you’ll find yourself making better contact than ever before, and, in turn, bring home more Ws in MLB The Show.