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MLB 14 The Show News Post



Pitch counts in baseball are one of the most basic tenants of the game, but also one of the least understood amongst casual and novice fans. When it comes to playing MLB 14 The Show, you will be facing an AI opponent which understands the count and how to work it both from a pitching and hitting perspective.

Here are some basic ways to approach the pitch count in an at-bat:

  • 0-0: The first pitch in an at-bat is incredibly important. Pitchers want to throw first pitch strikes, so it is likely a pitcher who is on his game will get you something over the plate -- but that doesn't mean it will necessarily be hittable. Depending on how the pitchers overall pitch count is evolving, you may need to take a pitch or two just to ensure the starter has to work a bit, especially if he's an ace and getting to the bullpen is an advantageous strategy.
  • 0-1, 1-2, and 0-2: You are against the wall as a hitter in both counts. The pitcher will be less apt to throw you a strike over the plate when he is ahead of you -- the reason being is that you don't want to give a hitter something to drive when you have the advantage. Good hitters will be protecting the plate and more willing to swing at close pitches. Pitching wise, there's no better place to be.
  • 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, and 3-1: If you are a pitcher and behind in the count, you will have to throw a strike. As a hitter, this means the pitcher will be desperate to throw something he can ensure gets more of the plate, especially if you find yourself in a very advantageous count such as 2-0 or 3-1. A 2-0 fastball is a classic pitch to drive. Pitching wise, try to ensure you throw a strike -- but try to always mix it up on these counts to ensure hitters can't guess your rhythm and send your pitch on a long flight.
  • 3-0: Almost certainly, this is a count that the hitter is going to take and the pitcher is going to do everything to get a pitch over. While you are likely to see a pitch over the plate, it is a waste of a good at bad if you ground out or fly out at 3-0.
  • 1-1, 2-2: These are the counts you really don't have a good feel for either way. Pitchers can choose to give you something over the plate or try to cut corners, meanwhile hitters will be looking to hit anything which is getting a lot of the plate.
  • 3-2: This is a count you should expect a strike, but if a pitcher is struggling or tiring you aren't guaranteed one. With two outs, you always send your runners on 3-2. From a pitching perspective, I try to avoid throwing something over the plate but if there are base-runners on, you have to avoid walking players as much as possible.
Working the count also has to do with a lot of other factors which a short guide can't account for. The approach changes if you have runners on, a fast base-runner on, or if you are daring and call a hit-and-run. Another thing which will change your approach on how aggressive to be at the plate is whether you are behind or ahead in a game.

What approaches do you use to work the count both as a pitcher and hitter?

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Member Comments
# 1 beerdujour @ 04/23/14 02:22 PM
i change my swing type based upon the count:
(even count, 0-0, 1-1, 2-2) I use the normal swing X-button on the PS3
(behind the count, 0-1, 0-2, 1-2) I protect the plate with contact swing O-button on PS3
(ahead the count except for full 3-2 count, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-0) swing away! use the power swing square button on PS3...
***note*** I almost always "take" on 3-0, the 3-2 count I use normal swing in case I need to "check swing" to take the walk, too high of strikeout rate if using power swing
 
# 2 Dwenny @ 04/23/14 02:44 PM
Nice guide. For me, you confirmed that I have been doing things right. I like to see if I can bring pitch counts at least to the 110 level (> 50% taken). I feel that I've done well with an 140 pitch count with multiple pitchers (2-3).
 
# 3 seanjeezy @ 04/23/14 03:11 PM
If I get a pitch around the middle of the zone I'll swing, any pitch any count. Of course in an unfavorable count I'll protect the edges of the zone a little more, but I'm not afraid to let the borderline pitches go. The walks will come as long as you are patient.

For pitching I just roll with whatever is working. If I'm looking for contact or easy strikes I'll attack the batter's cold zones, if I'm looking for K's I'll attack the hot zones (with chase pitches out of the zone of course). I don't mix it up just to mix it up, I generally stick with the pitcher's best pitches because that's what they do in real life right?
 
# 4 BA2929 @ 04/23/14 06:15 PM
I'd like to add this to 3-0:

If you're using a hitter with prodigious power, such as Giancarlo Stanton/Adam Dunn/Insert another power guy here, I'd recommend you look for a pitch in a very specific spot so you can try and drive the ball. Adam Dunn is more valuable to you hitting bombs than he his taking a walk. Now, obviously different situations will dictate what you do, but if it's the 2nd inning with 2 outs and a guy on 2nd you'd probably prefer to rope a double into the gap with these guys than taking a walk.

If the ball isn't in the exact spot you're looking for, however, take the pitch.
 
# 5 jmaj315 @ 04/23/14 06:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS
  • 3-2: This is a count you should expect a strike, but if a pitcher is struggling or tiring you aren't guaranteed one. With two outs, you always send your runners on 3-2. From a pitching perspective, I try to avoid throwing something over the plate but if there are base-runners on, you have to avoid walking players as much as possible.
I agree with the entire post... (but im going to nitpick)

I think the bolded line should be slightly more specific. For example, if there is one runner and he is on 2nd base, I wouldn't tell him to steal on a 3-2 count because he might get thrown out at third.
 
# 6 SVCbearcat10 @ 04/23/14 07:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmaj315
I agree with the entire post... (but im going to nitpick)

I think the bolded line should be slightly more specific. For example, if there is one runner and he is on 2nd base, I wouldn't tell him to steal on a 3-2 count because he might get thrown out at third.
That's not really nitpicking, that is a very good point. If it's 3-2 and the runner is subject to a force out, then you always send him (meaning he's out by simply stepping on the bag). If not, don't send him because he's on 2nd or 3rd and should score on almost any hit to the outfield (because he gets a better jump because he doesn't care if it's catchable or not).
 
# 7 ggsimmonds @ 04/23/14 10:39 PM
My weakness as a hitter is being 0-1. If that first pitch is a strike far more often then I like I end up swinging at a bad pitch to bring myself to 0-2
 
# 8 N51_rob @ 04/24/14 02:37 AM
No mention of the 2-1 hit and run?
 
# 9 N51_rob @ 04/24/14 02:42 AM
As for my approach at the plate. It's pretty consistant first time through the line up. Take till I get a strike (unless I get a hanging off-speed pitch that I recognize). From there its just a chess match. If I get ahead I am looking for a fastball. If I fall behind I am looking off-speed.

Down 0-2, 1-2 I am using the contact swing, looking to foul off pitches or just roll something into play in hopes of making something happen. If I can get the count back to 2-2 then I go back to my normal swing. Up 3-0 I usually take, unless there are 2 outs in the inning and I have a power guy up then I will use power swing and try to jack one or put the ball in a gap.

2-1, 3-1 I will think about putting something on, if the pitcher has been aggressive in the zone in those counts in the game. 3-2 I am looking for either a fastball up or a change down. I have no problem taking the walk or being called out on a boarderline pitch.
 
# 10 bcruise @ 04/24/14 09:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by N51_rob
As for my approach at the plate. It's pretty consistant first time through the line up. Take till I get a strike (unless I get a hanging off-speed pitch that I recognize). From there its just a chess match. If I get ahead I am looking for a fastball. If I fall behind I am looking off-speed.

Down 0-2, 1-2 I am using the contact swing, looking to foul off pitches or just roll something into play in hopes of making something happen. If I can get the count back to 2-2 then I go back to my normal swing. Up 3-0 I usually take, unless there are 2 outs in the inning and I have a power guy up then I will use power swing and try to jack one or put the ball in a gap.

2-1, 3-1 I will think about putting something on, if the pitcher has been aggressive in the zone in those counts in the game. 3-2 I am looking for either a fastball up or a change down. I have no problem taking the walk or being called out on a boarderline pitch.
That's a great approach, very similar to what I do. The only difference is that I will swing on a piped down-the-middle first pitch fastball as well as hanging garbage balls, if I can identify it in time.
 
# 11 BrianU @ 04/24/14 02:00 PM
This is a great article and great comments!

I want my approach to be as realistic as a real major league player so I am always interested in reading how batters take on different pitch counts. One area I always fail is choosing which counts to take a pitch. From watching baseball I can see in general when batters take a pitch but I prefer seeing statistics since they are now widely available. I found this article on Fangraphs relating to that: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-f...sus-passivity/

This is the data broken down into a readable fashion. I found it interesting it may help provide some insight on when you should swing or not swing if you happen to be a swing happy player.

2012 Swing rates per count
0-0 - 26.7%
0-1 - 47.4%
0-2 - 50.2%

1-0 - 41.2%
1-1 - 54.0%
1-2 - 57.8%

2-0 - 40.7%
2-1 - 59.6%
2-2 - 65.8%

3-0 - 8.0%
3-1 - 55.5%
3-2 - 74.0%
 
# 12 timmermac @ 04/25/14 02:30 PM
This is great. I really need this, as I'm Ozzie Freakin' Guillen at the plate. Baseball Prospectus used to have the DiSar award (named for Gary DiSarcina) in each league for the player who took the longest to draw his first walk of the year. In my world, it would be renamed to the McHacker award, as I've never drawn more than maybe 20 UIBB in a single season in any version of the Show.
 
# 13 Trojan Man @ 04/27/14 09:37 AM
Brian U, that stat for 3-1 is very important, I think. Almost a 50/50 take/swing rate.

One thing I've been learning by experience in The Show this year is that the 3-1 count is deceptive. Often pitchers will not groove one on that count, and if you do see something middle and up it's a hanger or mistake.

That's a count I'm learning to see more as an opportunity to take than an opportunity to crush one. With big-time power guys, I preload to pull and lift the pitch in that count, but with everyone else, I will sit and contact swing that count, looking to get something solid on what will likely be a borderline pitch, or up my chances of achieving a successful check swing if the pitch moves out of the zone.

A point I'm interested in here, which N51 brings up is when to get the hit-and-run moving.

I don't know if this is realistic, but I am putting on a lot more of these then I ever used to in order to avoid double plays. I'll put it on 1-1 if I have a good contact hitter, as well as 2-2 if I've fouled off some pitches and have a gut feeling the pitcher will come over the plate. I contact swing on these pitches to ensure that I don't get a whiff and a caught stealing, and it's generally helping my offense.

When are the best counts to H&R?
 
# 14 SilverBullet1929 @ 04/27/14 10:02 AM
Great thread. This is one of those things that I know by heart but I have a tough time executing during my games. If I had to take a test on this, I'd pass. Once I sit in front of my tv with my controller in hand, I could punch a wall at how many times I whiff at a bad pitch or hit a weak out because I didn't stick to my knowledge of the count. Lol I might reread this before every single pitch during my next game.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 
# 15 BrianU @ 04/27/14 10:34 AM
I have my own question. I used to use contact swing with 2 strikes with every hitter but I have realized it is probably more realistic to only use contact swing with guys that strike out less than 25% of the time based on the last 3 years.

For the Mets that would be: Flores, Duda, Lagares, C Young, Quintanilla, Abreu, Wright, E Young, dArnaud, Tejada, Murphy

Last 3 years: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...ers=0&sort=9,d

Yeah I get technical with it. I want Granderson to strike out more than the above guys. I know that the ratings ingame make check swings harder for certain guys but this is another way to widen that gap.

But I am still not sure which counts are most realistic to use contact swing in. Right now I am going with 0-2 and 1-2 counts. What counts do you guys use contact swing in?
 

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