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Mastering Small Ball in MLB The Show 19

MLB The Show 19

Mastering Small Ball in MLB The Show 19

Everyone loves the long ball. And that is pretty much what baseball has become. Most teams have a wealth of home-run hitters who can take the pitcher deep at any moment. But as many know, there are more ways to win in the game of baseball than power hitting and extra-base gap shots. What is it you ask? It is the art of playing small ball. Or sometimes called, playing station to station. Many of you know it, and many of you don’t, but for those of you using teams lacking consistent power, there is another way to win.

On a regular basis, baseball games come down to the final innings. And when you find yourself in the late innings searching for a way to score, small ball can be a good way to go to in order to tie the game up or scratch across the game-winner. A variety of aspects exist in the small-ball game, and I would like to address them in detail. So let’s take a deep dive into how you can play the station-to-station game and become a master of the small ball in MLB The Show.

First Base

Step one of this strategy is simple, get on base. Now, this can be easier said than done because small ball requires a lot of patience at the plate. When you lead off the inning, don’t be a first-pitch swinger. It’s very likely the first pitch you see from the opposing pitcher will not be the best pitch to swing at. If you fall behind in the count, this will make this task almost impossible. I usually take the first pitch and each one after until I get a strike. With this strategy, I found myself in more (2-1) and (3-1) counts where I can then work a walk, or at the very least bet on a fastball I can drive up the middle for a base hit. In this situation, I used the Tampa Bay Rays. My first at-bat was a four-pitch walk. Mission accomplished.

Second Base

Get the runner over. Part two of mastering small ball is to advance the runner into scoring position. There are some options when deciding how you should go about this. The first option is pretty simple. You can use your two-hole batter to drop a bunt down and safely position your runner on second base. If use this as your go-to strategy, then you should make sure you have someone that has the bunting ability to do this. The last thing you want to happen when playing small ball is to bunt a ball right into a double play or pop it up for the easy out. If any of those happen, then it forces your hand to put the runner in motion at first with one out. Sacrifice bunting will give up an out to the defense but you have accomplished the task of placing the runner in scoring position. A single by your number three and four hitters should bring home a run.

The next method to position the runner in scoring position is a bit more aggressive and riskier. However, if you can steal second, you now can work to get the runner is position with no outs on the board. On the flip side, if you are unsuccessful, you take away the option of advancing your runner with a sacrifice and basically take away small-ball options as it’s not ideal to sac bunt with one out.

Third Base

You’ll find yourself in two situations here. Either you have a runner on second with no outs or a runner on second with one out. Let’s start with a runner on second with no outs. Basically you assess the situation the same way you did with a runner on first base. As you know, it is much harder to steal third and the last thing you want to do is have your runner thrown out. So unless you have a player with amazing speed like Billy Hamilton, then I would think about a more conservative approach. The first option would be to drop another bunt down and conservatively move the runner over to third. This option leaves you with an opportunity for your best hitters to crack a deep fly ball and bring him in with a sac fly. Mission accomplished.

Option two would be to let your hitter swing away and put one in play on the right side of the diamond in hopes of scoring the run off a single, or at least moving the runner over to third. Allowing your two-hole hitter to swing away is the more aggressive option because you risk the strikeout. After that, the opposition also has the option to walk the next batter and try to play for the double play. The key to the small-ball strategy is to keep advancing your runners around the diamond. You can really only give away one out in this process, and the more you are able to do without giving up an out, the better.

Why Is It Valuable

Small ball is simply a tactical way of scoring runs through strategy without having to rely on doubles, triples or home runs. At its most basic level, you want to keep the runners advancing around the bases while only sacrificing one out. The majority of the time, moving your runner to second will be with the sacrifice bunt. Not all players in your lineup will have the speed to take second on a regular basis. Keeping this mindset throughout the game opens up your perspective in the way you look at hitting. You may find yourself focusing on hitting the ball to the opposite side of the field and focusing less on home runs. Either way, being able to implement this strategy during late innings will often result in you being victorious more often than not. Not to mention, when you advance the runner to second, you sometimes will end up hitting the unexpected double to score the run anyway.


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  1. I've got so many singles, strippers hate me. it's easy to see why they say chicks dig the long ball.
    the most important part of winning employing small is often overlooked: a great starting rotation and a good bullpen. I also suggest dont over do it with sac bunting, its just not wise to give away too many easy outs. I'm not saying never bunt, but it is a fine line in playing ''small ball'' and ''no ball''. obviously you should bunt less in the American League. and one last positive thing about bunting: giving away an easy out to move a runner over beats GIDP'ing lol
    but yeah, pitching is where it's at in small ball
    This year I am doing an Orioles franchise. I have always wanted to do a full rebuild and what better time than now with '19 that actually allows you to play small ball and build a defensive team.
    Of course this is going to be a long and painful process but I am actually really excited about it. I beat the Yankees this morning. Got to Tanaka and they pulled him in the 3rd. Won the game 8-2 not a single home run in 15 hits and only 2 doubles. O's turned 3 double plays with the Yanks hitting into shifts. Great game and lots of fun.
    love this article.....and love small ball. so much strategy involved. the fielding of the defense, how fast your player is, who's coming up to bat, etc. it's a shame more teams don't implement it in MLB. 
    i sac bunted into a triple play last night. had runners on first and second and bunted a ball in the air that I thought was going to fall. since my runners were frozen i had to initiate their advancement to the next base, but of course the pitcher came out of nowhere to catch the ball in the air and proceeded to kill that rally.
    I'm playing a franchise right now with my team the Detroit Tigers. By default we have to resort to small ball due to the lack of power bats in our lineup. I'm in August of season 1 and shipped off Nick Castellanos at the deadline because of his lack of defense for the outfield. I have moved Miggy to the full time DH so there is an opening at 1st base but I drafted a stud power hitting 1st baseman in the 1st round so I didn't want to move Castellanos there and lock him up long term so I got some prospects for him.
    This is going to be a long rebuild, I also snagged a steal in the 3rd round with a stud starting pitching prospect with a 95 potential to add to a farm system already deep with pitching. With our lack of any kind of positional depth though we have to resort to small ball and creative base running to sneak out whatever wins we can. I'm on pace to finish in the bottom 3 in all of the MLB. I have however been able to small ball my way to some surprising wins against teams we had no business beating.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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