With San Diego Studio beginning to turn the page towards MLB The Show 20 by announcing their new cover athlete, it’s time to start reviewing this year’s iteration.
2019 was a banner year for MLB The Show in terms of content. The team at San Diego Studio did a tremendous job of pumping out more content than ever before. 119 Signature Series cards at this point have been released, there are a number of ways to earn new cards and there are a barrage of Finest cards right now. In other words, your options for a lineup are seemingly limitless.
But who rose to the top at each position? What cards were god-tier? Some cards were just staples in lineups all over the world. Let’s examine what cards really stood out at each position in MLB The Show 19.
Signature Series Mike Piazza – 99 Overall
Catcher was probably the biggest position of debate in this year’s game. The Piazza Signature Series card finally premiered in September and took the cake for a lot of folks. The first several months of the season saw Signature Series cards such as Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Gary Carter and Johnny Bench rotated through lineups, with the occasional All-Star Joe Torre being thrown in there. It was difficult for users to hone in on one single guy. Blocking ratings were an enigma and it remains in question whether the statistic had any impact on the game whatsoever.
Piazza brought 116 CON vs. R, 125 CON vs. L, 109 PWR vs. R, and 115 PWR vs. L to the table. His 111 Vision allowed him to square up most mistakes. The defensive ratings weren’t quite as impressive, but again, it remains to be seen whether those mattered.
Signature Series Frank Thomas – 99 Overall
For most, this simply boils down to Frank Thomas or Signature Series Lou Gehrig. Do you prefer lefties? Do you prefer righties? How does one or the other balance your lineup?
Thomas might as well have been rated 150 overall because there was no card that mashed harder than “The Big Hurt” did in this year’s game. Thomas was pretty simple to acquire as well. Once a user reached XP level 100, he was a free unlock in a prestige choice pack.
Blessed with 125 contact and 125 power against left-handed pitchers, he absolutely destroyed southpaws. His 111 contact and 107 power against righties was nothing to sneeze at either. If that wasn’t enough, the 108 vision he brought to the plate made striking out Thomas almost impossible.
Hitting balls over the fence in Diamond Dynasty was a struggle for most of this season, but it never seemed to be quite an issue for Thomas. He was in lineups shortly after launch and hasn’t left lineups for this entire cycle.
Developers promised defense was going to matter more than ever in ’19, and it did for most positions. But Thomas and his common fielding never showed any warts as he was one of the more reliable fielders at first base all season.
Signature Series Roberto Alomar – 99 Overall
Alomar brought much needed switch-hitting ability to the table when users were yearning for lineup flexibility this year. A Second Inning Program boss, Alomar played a superb defense and brought a big stick to the plate.
Blessed by dev gods with 121 CON vs. R, 98 CON vs. L, and 120 vision, Alomar was an on-base machine. He was a gap monster and sprayed extra-base hits all over the field. On top of his superb hitting and defensive skills, Alomar represented an incredible threat on the bases. His 87 speed and 97 stealing ability made him a sure bet to be running.
74 PWR vs. R and 79 PWR vs. L made Alomar a very sneaky power threat as well.
Other fan favorites included Signature Series Ryne Sandberg, Rod Carew, Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano — as well as an under-appreciated 96 overall Ian Kinsler card.
Signature Series Josh Donaldson – 99 Overall
Third base was a hotly, hotly debated position as options were seemingly limitless. Donaldson wins here, but ask anyone else and you very well may get another answer.
Donaldson brought the rain to the plate each and every at-bat. His 97 CON vs. R, 102 CON vs. L, 101 PWR vs. R and 115 PWR vs. L is elite stuff, while the 90 vision made him a really tough out. Donaldson also possessed a big arm at the hot corner.
The bigger conversation here, honestly, is probably who else could have been selected. Signature Series cards like Chipper Jones, Paul Molitor, George Brett and Wade Boggs were all scattered among lineups everywhere. Outside of those guys, you would also find a spattering of Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rendon and Alex Bregman cards, as well as….
Signature Series Troy Tulowitzki – 99 Overall
Shortstop is another position where users were spoiled with plenty of riches. Tulowitzki brought a level of thump not seen in most other cards. He also possessed one of the biggest arms at the position.
101 CON vs. R, 113 CON vs. L, 90 PWR vs. R and 96 PWR vs. L, Tulo could really handle the bat. His 94 vision isn’t elite, but it’s more than strong enough to get the job done. The 96 arm strength allowed him to throw absolutely everything out.
Elsewhere, Cal Ripken Jr. was a very popular choice. Ozzie Smith, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez were also very favorable picks as they provided a level of speed on the field Tulowitzki could not.
Signature Series Willie Mays – 99 Overall
The endgame goal for most players was the full collection reward in Mays. He didn’t disappoint.
The only knock on Mays for some was his batting stance that hunched over the plate so far it could be difficult to really see pitches the way you would want. But if you could hit with the “Say Hey Kid” then you mashed.
With his 114 CON vs. R, 117 CON vs. L, 106 PWR vs. R and 118 PWR vs. L, Mays was, for all intents and purposes, the god card in this years game. His MLB The Show 19 card probably ranked higher than Ken Griffey Jr’s Immortal card from ’18. The defense was second to none as well.
Hardware Ichiro Suzuki – 93 Overall
Look, it’s a tough choice between Ichiro and Lofton here. Lofton came with marginally more power, but Ichiro’s throwing arm made him a favorite for Diamond Dynasty teams for a huge chunk of 2019.
Like Lofton, Ichiro had an incredibly forgiving swing. His base hits would constantly bloop in behind the shortstop if they were roasted into the gap for a triple instead. Ichiro was another easy acquisition as he could be secured for free from a choice pack upon reaching level 75.
Signature Series Ken Griffey Jr. – 99 Overall
Players had to wait and wait and wait for Griffey Jr. to finally get dropped in August. The wait was worth it as “The Kid” proved to still be “The Kid.” The style, the swag, the swing, it was all there once again in MLB The Show 19.
110 CON vs. R, 100 CON vs. L, 114 PWR vs. R and 109 PWR vs. L, Junior could absolutely mash the hell out of the baseball again this year. His 105 vision made him a brutal out as well. In the outfield, elite arm strength and speed made him an easy add for most lineups.
As long as San Diego Studio has his rights, Griffey Jr. will continue to be the most sought after card in MLB The Show.
Frankly, the outfield has more talent than anyone could even begin to count. There’s a number of cards that saw a ton of play this season.
Much like MLB The Show 18, Joey Gallo once again represented one of the best cards in this year’s game. All-Star Kenny Lofton had a glitchy swing that made him a brutal 1-2 tandem with Ichiro or Alomar at the top of lineups. While they didn’t necessarily play these positions in most outfields, here’s a list of guys that were shoved into lineups everywhere.
- Rickey Henderson
- Ted Williams
- Babe Ruth
- Willie Stargell
- Lou Brock
- Adam Dunn
- Ty Cobb
- Ketel Marte (Finest)
- Ronald Acuña Jr. (Finest)
- Andrew McCutchen
- Larry Doby
- Adam Jones
- Andre Dawson
- Reggie Jackson
- Al Kaline
- Nelson Cruz
- Cody Bellinger (Finest)
- Bryce Harper (Finest)
This was truly a banner year for San Diego Studio in terms of content. Lineup variety was a huge problem in MLB The Show 18 and that was simply not the case in ’19. Developers pushed out so many cards that it was rare you would ever come across the same lineup twice.
With MLB The Show 20 now in its marketing cycle, it’ll be interesting to see what changes come in Diamond Dynasty for 2020. Specifically, will San Diego Studio introduce any new legends in next year’s game that become stalwarts in lineups next year?