When San Diego Studio announced MLB The Show 20 would feature a launch roster full of real minor leaguers, including face scans and audio cues, it caught the entire community off-guard. After all, this was a feature that was in the past ultimately included in the game through community roster creators after a certain period of time — otherwise known as OSFM Full Minors. Still, those community rosters could never match the capabilities of SDS because they didn’t have the same tools. Real face scans, real audio cues, real motion captured prospect stances — it all provided a ton of promise to gamers looking for the most authentic experience possible.
Unfortunately, the base rosters at launch appear to have fallen a little short of what most were expecting out of the box. Ratings are always going to be a hotly contested topic among the community, but that’s not the issue at hand here. MLB The Show’s launch roster is missing several notable big leaguers and top prospects. It also includes an issue for franchise modes relating to minor league options.
Of the notable exclusions, Dodgers wunderkind second baseman Gavin Lux is nowhere to be found. Not only is Lux the number two overall prospect in all of baseball by several publications, he also has some big league service time already under his belt. Los Angeles gave Lux a decent cup of coffee last season, playing him in 23 games, providing him 75 at-bats. He impressed in those at-bats and is expected to be a full-time regular for the Dodgers this season. He needs to be in the game.
Other prominent players not included in the game thus far are Athletics southpaw AJ Puk and the Giants’ uber-prospect Marco Luciano.
Rest assured, according to two sources close to the situation, they’re on their way. Sony’s hands were tied, and they did not inadvertently leave these players out of the game.
“Lux and those guys hadn’t signed the appropriate paperwork to be included yet,” Scott Spindler (RidinRosters) said. “He’ll be in the game real soon and I know he has a face scan, don’t you worry.”
Spindler and his entire Ridin’ Rosters team helped San Diego Studio this year in creating the most authentic minor league rosters possible. Almost all of the created players that don’t have face scans or artist renditions are his team’s creations. It’s an undertaking he and his team have done for the community for many years (including folks like Knight as well before that), though partnering with San Diego Studio is obviously something brand new for the team.
“I’m really happy with a lot of those minor league faces,” Spindler said. “There’s only so much we can do if a guy hasn’t signed the paperwork. It’s a legal issue.”
Spindler, though not directly employed or commissioned through San Diego Studio, said enormous roster improvements are coming in the next few weeks. There’s several more face scans that will be patched into the game, including several more prospects that will get face scans and a more accurate representation very soon.
While Spindler’s team is being compensated by San Diego Studio as of now, he feels his team brings an enormous benefit to the game and could see a partnership between the two sides being incredibly beneficial to the product and its community.
“There hasn’t yet been a clear dialogue with how we’re going to help moving forward,” Spindler said. “I’ve let them know I’m willing to help and I think the game could benefit from using our team year-round on a more permanent basis. This could lead to something big for this game and its future.”
One benefit of not being contracted under a non-compete as of now is the Ridin’ Rosters team can continue to push out custom roster files for those looking to get what they deem to be an even better representation of major and minor league baseball. This also hopefully means the minor league options issue can also be highlighted and patched so many top prospects have more than one option remaining. As of now, many top prospects hit the waiver wire if they’re sent back to the minors after a call-up due to this problem.
Spindler and his team hope to have their annual full minors community roster file out next weekend for download. The roster will have Lux, Puk and Luciano, as well as several other improvements from last year’s file. Spindler and his team are taking the roster file to a whole new level this year. (More details on that to come.)
The biggest hurdle San Diego Studio is currently dealing with is the work stoppage in Major League Baseball and across the country for that matter. Several notable prospects were slated to make their big league debuts this March. Until some of those guys take the field, some of the ability to put out the most complete roster file will be handcuffed. Also noteworthy, so long as players are not playing baseball, editing and tweaking the roster file with new ratings and adjustments will be almost impossible.
Still, the developers have a lot of fun stuff up their sleeves, including some roster improvements set to debut in the coming weeks.
While the launch roster didn’t check all the boxes the community was looking to see, it is certainly an improvement over past launches because, well, there is a roster to work on from the get go. There’s a lot to like about this base game, and the roster will soon too be up to snuff with what gamers want to see.