"When your fielder gets to the ball, you're now dealing with a throwing meter shaded in three colors from right to left - green, yellow and red, green obviously being the most accurate throw. Poor fielders will have a smaller green zone (for a guy like the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, it'll be only a sliver of green, Bailey said.) A throw in the red isn't automatic failure - if he's a good fielder, the inaccuracy will be less pronounced. But the point is to make players concentrate on the act rather than flicking the right analog and grabbing a sip of beer.
You'll also see more bobbled grounders, depending on a fielder's attributes and the type of drive hit his way, whether it plows through the infield grass or skips off the dirt. But on the back end, position-specific fielding animations, like a third baseman coming full over the top down to first, or a second baseman's scoop-gather-and-pow, have been added to impart more realism. No longer will every fielder do the "Jeter Throw," that undeserved highlight-reel catch and jump for grounders away from the direction of the throw, regardless of context.
Finally, Visual Concepts has added in a pre-play mechanism that approximates a fielder's savvy, or lack thereof. At the crack of the bat, you'll be presented with a white circle that approximates the area to which your player would know he should run. After a pause that's tied to his fielding rating, it will shrink to the precise spot where the ball lands. For some players, the initial circle is small and the landing spot shows almost instantly. For others, it will be an adventure. 2K Sports wants gamers to be thinking about defense a lot more, especially contemplating defensive switches in late innings, a technical move that casual fans don't consider often.
The result of all this is that routine plays still were makeable, but as I got used to the shortened break, throwing meter and on-field guides, I had to hurry to the ball, so they featured things like backhanding routine grounders, harder throws and stretching first basemen, even on outs where the runner was gunned by three steps. Until you get the hang of it, many plays won't look like what you see on TV. Fielding is not harder, per se, but it will look that way through the first few games."