Baseball is a game of numbers, and nearly every aspect of baseball can be captured in a number or average to predict success in various situations. MLB The Show has created a realistic baseball game that utilizes attributes in numerous categories to determine a player’s ability. From position to position, different attributes are utilized, so for pitching dominance to be achieved at high difficulty levels you have to know which player to play in each situation. Pitching requires attention to detail, which means using pitchers who excel in specific categories to get the job done. Whether that be a pitcher with great velocity, control or break, every situation calls for a certain pitcher. So let’s get to how I think you can approach pitching attributes in MLB 19 The Show.
Type Of Game Mode Matters
You have to consider when and how your pitching attributes will be used. Attribute categories can have different impacts based on the game mode you are playing. When you are managing or simulating a game, pitching attributes such as K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 will have more impact. If your pitcher has a high rating in these categories, he will be more likely to pitch a full game without giving up many runs. If you are controlling the pitcher yourself, then those attribute categories will not matter as much because much of the game will be dependent upon user skill. Attributes like velocity, control, break and stamina will now play a role during at-bats as you face hitter after hitter.
You could make the case that all pitching attributes matter, but I believe a few of them hold more water than the rest. Each pitching position or role relates to a specific set of attributes to make that pitcher more successful. For starting pitchers, you want to focus on the pitcher’s basic attributes like velocity, control and break. Your number one and two guys will often have high ratings in these categories but your other three will not. You want your starters to go six innings so you need to consider their stamina rating. If you call up a player from your farm system, you want to keep in mind how many innings he can pitch so you can project how to use your bullpen. The last thing you need against a great hitting team and a high difficulty level is to have to go to the bullpen too early. As mentioned, in simulation games you will also have to factor in K/9, BB/9, H/9 and HR/9. Keep in mind that not all the pressure is on the pitcher to perform. Use your defense to help you out and get out of jams. You can get away with a lower break rating or even a lower velocity if you are able to spot pitches on the black and get batters to reach with great pitching sequences.
Calling to the bullpen requires you to decide which attributes will benefit you in each situation. Stamina will not be high with relief pitchers so you can expect relievers to pitch two to three innings. maximum. You want to analyze deeper into their “stuff” and what each pitch is rated. For example, you insert a left hander to face a left-handed batter with runners in scoring position with two outs. Your main goal is to get the batter to swing and miss, or at the very least keep the ball on the ground. Therefore, a pitcher with great break attributes would be ideal. This could be a pitcher who possesses a sweeping slider with a sharp break or a sinker that falls off the table. When I assess relief pitcher attributes, I look for velocity and break. Control is not as important to me because if the hitter can’t catch up to the velocity or chases the break then I can live with a little loss in control.
A well-pitched game can fall apart if you’re not careful. When you bring the closer in to shut the door, he may have to run through the meat of the order to do so. Therefore when it comes to pitching attributes with closers, I look specifically at their clutch rating. When Mariano Rivera entered the game, it was usually over for the opposing team. Closers with a high clutch rating are more likely to get the strikeouts and pop outs to close out the game. However, it is the best closers in the game who possess a high clutch rating so you have to decide on what matters — or how much you want to give up to have those players on your team. Do you want a closer who can come in and just dominate with one pitch? Or do you want a closer who can spot the ball on the corners and try to outsmart the hitter east and west? Whichever you decide, the goal with closers it to find that one attribute that will overpower a great hitter in a big situation.
Counter Hitter Attributes With Pitcher Attributes
Pitcher attributes will make no difference if you fail to place them in the correct situations, especially at higher difficulty levels. For example, if you find yourself in a close game with three innings to play, then you should begin looking into which batters you will be facing. How many are left handed or right handed? What hitters are on the bench who can be substituted? When it comes to these, you should bring in a lefty to face a lefty and righty to face a righty. In the majority of cases, your pitcher’s attributes and “stuff” will outweigh what the batter can do against you in that situation. When there are runners in scoring position, you should find your reliever and the ratings of each of their pitches. One of the best ways to get out of a jam is to be able to draw up that double play. An effective sinker in the dirt or a great changeup is perfect to get the batter out in front and roll up that weak ground ball. Again, this is dependent on the rating of the pitch. The control and break play a big part in this.
It’s important to know your hitter’s contact and power ratings, and the same is true for knowing what a pitcher can do with his arm. Does he overpower hitters with velocity, or does he use a nasty break to have batters reaching? Take a deep dive into your pitching rotation and bullpen so you can have the advantage on the mound.