When SDS announced the “Full Minors” feature coming to MLB The Show 20, it came with massive hype from the community. After all, it was a big moment for the community as a whole since this had been a hub for the “full minors” before it was officially picked up by SDS. Now, in year two for MLB The Show 21, the question becomes how does it improve from here?
In general, baseball has seen a paradigm shift in the last decade. Prospects are valued more than ever. In fact, I would argue roughly half of the fan bases in Major League Baseball are forced to drink from the farm-fountain, clinging to the hopes their small market team will succeed one day.
There’s something hip about being in on a prospect before the rest of the world, let alone before that player makes it big in The Show. Simply put, prospects are a big ticket item right now and San Diego Studio securing the rights to their likeness and use in MLB The Show 20 was a huge deal.
But while the feature was welcomed with full hearts and open arms, it fell short in a number of areas. It’s an area of opportunity for growth for MLB The Show 21, and it shouldn’t be a tough feature to knock out of the park.
Improving Full Minors For MLB The Show 21
In 2020, SDS announced a partnership with RidinRosters, a pillar of the Operation Sports community and one of the premier roster creators in the business. The goal was simple and clear. Help create a roster for launch that mirrored actual Opening Day rosters for big league organizations. Unfortunately, the roster did not quite hit that benchmark.
To RidinRosters’ credit, the information, created players, and everything they presented to SDS was probably fantastic. Every year that group pushes out a product that seems to be close to perfect. But after presenting that package to SDS, It is then up to them to get those changes into the final launch build. That seemingly didn’t happen.
The RidinRosters team worked tirelessly after launch to get another file for the community to download, and that was out within a week. It was a huge improvement.
In essence, from this chair, what SDS pushed out on launch day was a roster file full of top 100 prospects, several of which had new face scans and artist renderings. That was incredible, but it fell short of the language promised in pre-launch streams where words like “accurate” and “comprehensive” were used.
MLB The Show 21 should be a marked improvement over the Full Minors feature from ’20. For example, we know a huge batch of face scans from spring training 2020 never made it into the 2020 game. Players from the Reds, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers and many, many more teams never got in. The expectation is those scans will be in this next launch.
We also know a majority of these face scans were different than scans from prior years. They were more comprehensive due to SDS using a different face scan process and a different rendering process. Were the scans from 2020 done with the intention of higher fidelity and built for next-generation player models? We will see.
Regardless, there’s a lot of scans and data SDS has from spring training 2020 that should make it into the launch of MLB The Show 21.
It may seem simple, but leaning harder on RidinRosters for the 2021 launch would go a long way towards appeasing a community thirsty for an immersive simulation experience. Being able to start a franchise file or Road to the Show file on launch night because rosters are in fantastic shape is extremely important to some players.
Remember, for a lot of fans, minor league prospects are the hope and promise for the future for their baseball team. Having a roster file that accurately represents that reality is important in delivering on the “Full Minors” experience. And it should be even more important SDS gets to stamp their name on it and not rely on the community to tie up loose ends.