Strategy Guide


Hitting

Getting Started

When using Zone or Timing hitting, press X to swing at a pitch just before it crosses the plate. If you change your decision mid-swing, letting go of the X button quickly will check your swing. When using Analog hitting (Pure Analog or Zone Plus Analog), hold down the right stick to pre-load a swing and push up to begin it.

After any swing, you can see what happened in the 'Swing Info' display. This shows the timing, contact, pitch speed, and pitch location results. You can find a summary of Swing Info descriptions in the 'Other' section of this guide.

The key to a good swing is timing and location. If you swing too early, you'll miss or foul to the batter's side. If you swing too late, you'll miss or foul away from the batter. Avoid swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone, which tends to result in missing, fouling or hitting the ball weakly.

You can improve your swing by aiming your 'Plate Coverage' with the left stick before a swing. This advanced feature is described in the 'Plate Coverage' section.

The pitcher will vary his pitch type and location to challenge you, and you need to read and react to them accordingly. Timing-wise, you must swing earlier on a fastball than on a changeup or other off-speed pitch. The same applies to swinging earlier on inside pitches (those on the batter's side of the zone) and later on away pitches. Location-wise, low and off-speed pitches tend to induce more ground balls, while high and fast pitches tend to induce more pop-ups. You have to judge if these pitches are worth swinging at, but you can also compensate against them using the 'Plate Coverage Indicator'.

Every pitcher you face has a different set of pitch types, velocity, and effectiveness. To see info on a pitcher's pitches bring up the pitcher-batter matchup display.

If you're having trouble reading and reacting to pitches, you can make hitting more strategic by using the 'Guess Pitch' feature described later in this guide

Plate Coverage

When using Zone hitting, the key to improving solid contact is to use the left stick to control your 'Plate Coverage Indicator' (PCI). This is especially important as you play on higher difficulty levels from All-Star to Legend. When using Pure Analog hitting, similar concepts apply for aiming left/right.

Pressing up on the left stick will cover high pitches better, and pressing down will cover low pitches better. These directions can potentially reduce pop-ups and weak grounders if you aim correctly, or increase them if you cover the wrong direction. Pressing left or right on the stick will cover inside and outside pitches better. This has an added benefit of shifting timing slightly, allowing the batter to hit some pitches fair instead of foul.

Your swing timing also has some influence on your aim. Swinging too early will lift your PCI and influence ground balls, and swinging too late drops your PCI and increase fly balls. This effect is amplified when the batter swings too early on an outside pitch ('rolled over'), or too early on an inside pitch ('jammed'). A pitcher knowing this may challenge you with an outside changeup or inside fastball, hoping for a weak chopper or pop-up.

You can adjust the batter's zone of coverage until the moment you press the Swing Button (X or O or SQUARE). After every swing you can see your actual coverage using 'Swing Info'.

One strategy with zone hitting is to preset your coverage to a specific area, and ignore pitches on the other side of the plate. This keeps your eyes focused on a smaller area as you try to pick a good pitch to swing at. It can also help filter out pitches designed to fool you, such as off-speed pitches. Due to the way pitches move relative to the batter's eye, it's often easier to filter inside or away (left or right side of the plate) than to look for high or low pitches. You gain a big advantage in calling balls and strikes because you only have to judge one side, but you'll miss out on a few decent pitches to the opposite side.

Another strategy is to react mid-pitch with a small adjustment. The key here is to keep the direction of your adjustment simple, and hold off on swinging if the pitch moves out of your reach.

Remember that certain pitches like the changeup work by appearing as high or middle fastballs but landing low or below the strike zone. There are always telltale signs of the pitch type and location, but an effective (and accurate) pitch only gives itself away at the last moment.

Hitting will not be effective unless you're selective about what you swing at, instead of free swinging. This is a key skill that can generate hits that are better at advancing your runners and getting the batter extra bases.

The overall size of plate coverage is the average of the batter's Contact and Vision attributes, modified by the pitcher's attributes. Contact emphasizes the chances of getting line drives, whereas Vision deals more with the chance of fouling instead of missing. These attributes are modified by the pitcher's attributes of H/9 and K/9, respectively. There is an additional size adjustment for Power, but this is a visual aid only and reflects the fact that power hitters can sometimes get a hit that would have been an out for a weaker hitter.

You can see how plate coverage works in real-time by turning a visual reticle on in the 'Game Options'.

Guess Pitch

Guess Pitch adds a strategic component to hitting by allowing you to guess pitch type, pitch location, or both. Your guess is made before the pitcher's delivery while holding R2, and the guess results are displayed during the pitcher's windup.

To guess location, hold down R2 and push the left stick in the direction you're guessing. A visual and audio feedback will actively confirm which zone you've selected. To guess pitch type, hold down R2 and press the button that matches the pitch type you want to guess. For example, pressing X would guess against the pitcher's best pitch (typically a fastball).

Guessing the location correctly will light up the zone you guessed. Guessing pitch type correctly will light up the baseball itself. Guessing both will instead light up the zone and the corners of the strike zone. Both results play a unique feedback sound in case you have the strike zone turned off.

When guessing both type and location, both must be correct for you to see any feedback and receive a contact bonus. Guessing either or both wrong is treated as the same result and incurs a small contact and power penalty. When guessing wrong, don't be afraid to swing at a good pitch. You'll want to be selective and work the count. If you guess every pitch, you'll get a correct guess roughly once an at-bat. Pay attention to pitch location on correct guesses, as this can mean the difference between a home run, foul, or miss.

When guessing just type or just location, the feedback is delayed until pitch release. This extra challenge balances out against the valuable information you receive whether you guess right or wrong. It may help to assume you will guess correctly and prepare to swing, but then hold your swing if the pitch location or guess result is unfavorable.

Since guessing only type or only location will give you valuable timing information even when you guess wrong, the timing window is always narrowed regardless of the guess result. Additional contact and power penalties apply if you swing when guessing wrong. This reflects the hesitation in the batter swinging at a pitch he wasn't initially looking for. Lastly, guess pitch balance is adjusted when facing pitchers with only three pitches or when guessing against a pitcher's less frequent pitches.

You can use guess pitch without any right/wrong feedback by switching the Guess Pitch option to 'No Feedback'. Although you will not be told if your guesses were correct or not, the bonuses are higher and penalties lower. There is also an option to use 'Classic', which show the exact pitch location when you correctly guess the zone. Although this gives a big strategic advantage, the bonuses and penalties are strongly skewed in this mode. This reflects the fact that the batter doesn't truly know the exact pitch location even if the user is being shown.

When guessing zone there is a small bonus region added to the edge of the guessed zone, granting you extra coverage. This means that all guessed zones will cover a pitch dead center and overlap beyond what the OSD shows. This bonus region is bigger on Rookie and smaller on Legend. It's also smaller on Classic.

On higher difficulties, the bonuses for guessing correctly are smaller and the penalties are bigger. There are also small adjustments to compensate for pitchers with only three pitch types.

Other Ways to Hit

In addition to swinging normally with the X button, you also have the option of using 'Power Swing', 'Contact Swing', or to Bunt.

Power Swing is most useful when the batter is ahead in the count and confident about his swing. It can help to advance runners from second or third, especially with fewer than two outs. To power swing in Zone or Timing hitting, use the SQUARE button instead of the X button to swing. While Analog hitting, press the SQUARE button once any time before the pitch.

Power swings are harder to time, harder to check, and have less plate coverage than regular swings. They are especially less effective at hitting pitches bordering or outside of the strike zone. But the extra power can turn a deep fly ball into a home run, turn a single into a double, or advance runners extra bases. The drawback is a big increase in misses and strikeouts and a decrease in line drives. The ideal pitch to power swing against is a fastball deep in the strike zone, which is most common on ahead counts.

Contact Swing is most useful when the batter is behind in the count and not confident about his swing. It can help to avoid strikeouts and even prolong a difficult at-bat into a walk. To contact swing in Zone or Timing hitting, use the O button instead of the X button to swing. In Pure Analog hitting, press the O button once any time before the pitch.

Contact Swings are easier to time, easier to check, and have more foul coverage than regular swings. They are especially helpful in catching pitches outside of the strike zone that are normally very difficult to get. However these hits do not travel as far as with regular swings and generally are not as valuable for offense.

Unlike Power Swinging which helps a good hitter achieve extra bases, Contact Swings are mainly for helping weak hitters avoid a strikeout. Situations where this may matter include certain close game situations such as scoring a runner from third with less than two outs. In unique situations, by sacrificing the overall potential for multiple runs you are increasing the chance of a single run to tie or win the game as with a sacrifice bunt. It's best to use Contact Swing sparingly.

To sacrifice bunt, hold down the TRIANGLE button after the pitcher has selected his pitch. Continue holding TRIANGLE until the pitch has reached the plate to bunt into play, or let go of TRIANGLE if you want to take the pitch. Sacrifice bunts are a reliable way to advance baserunners at the cost of an out to the batter.

To bunt for a base hit, wait until the pitcher has already released his pitch. With the pitch in midair between the pitcher and batter, press TRIANGLE to bunt. A good bunter will try to hit the ball in between all the infielders and beat the throw to first. To keep the ball away from the pitcher, these bunts will often be foul. Bunting for a base hit relies on surprise, and repeated bunts of this type will make the defense more alert in reacting against them.

Only a few elite hitters can consistently bunt for a base hit. Most other hitters lay down an occasional bunt and rely on surprise against the defense, especially in low scoring games where simply getting on base is at a premium.

Working the Count

Within an at-bat, the batter's counts (balls-strikes) can be grouped into 4 types:

Early Counts: 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1

Behind Counts: 0-2, 1-2, 2-2

Ahead Counts: 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1

Full Count: 3-2

The pitcher's counts can be grouped this way as well, except the Behind and Ahead counts are flipped within the pitcher's perspective.

For each type of pitch count, there is a basic strategy for the batter:

Early Counts: The batter should be patient and look for a good pitch. When in doubt, don't swing.

Behind Counts: The batter must protect the plate from strikeouts.

Ahead Counts: The batter should look to either hit his ideal pitch, or draw an easy walk.

Full Count: The batter must protect the plate, but hold off if it's an easy ball 4.

Early in the at-bat, the batter should be patient and look for good pitches to swing at. The pitcher is going to make mistakes, and on average you're going to see one good pitch within an at-bat. The most important key is not to try to cover the whole strike zone, and to take a strike if you're not prepared to hit a pitch well. When in doubt, avoid swinging at borderline pitches. Wasted swings tend to miss, foul, or hit into an easy out.

On strike 2, the batter must protect the plate against strikes or he'll strike out looking. On the other hand, the pitcher knows this and will tend to pitch around you with breaking pitches. For example, on 0-2 typically 2/3 of the pitches are out of the strike zone and almost 1/2 of them are non-fastballs.

On ahead counts, the batter has the advantage and can expect mostly fastballs. The pitcher is trying to avoid walking you, and most of his pitches will be strikes. Avoid all borderline pitches and focus on finding your ideal pitch, a fastball down the middle. You'll want to be patient here because a walk is a guaranteed trip to first and a deep strike can be an easy hit.

Other Tips

Each hitter has left/right hitting tendencies, and are classified as one of the following: extreme pull, pull, balanced, push, extreme push.Balanced is the most common, followed by pull. For a right-handed pull hitter, some borderline center field hits will now become borderline left field, and some borderline right field hits will become borderline center field. In other words, for a pull hitter the attribute slightly increases the timing window for early swings and slightly decreases the timing window for late swings.

Note that regardless of the batter, the main advantage of swinging early is power while the main advantage of swinging late is contact (including the extra time to judge and aim at the ball).

For detailed analysis of your hitting during a game, use the 'Pitcher/Batter Analysis' tool. You can access this from the pause menu, or by bringing up the pitcher-batter matchup display and then pressing L1 or R1. An explanation of abbreviations and terms is available later in the 'Other' section of this guide.

On higher difficulties, patience in an at-bat is critical. Many batters can only cover two-thirds of the strike zone with their 'Plate Coverage', and unless it's strike 2 it's important to hold off on swinging at pitches you can't cover. Even if you manage to hit a borderline pitch into play, you've missed out on the chance to swing at a much better pitch had you waited.

Player attributes play a big part in differentiating the hitters on your team. Batters with high Contact get more hits, and batters with high Power get more homeruns and extra bases. Plate Vision is important in reducing misses and avoiding strike outs. Speed helps with extra bases and baserunning, but only for the individual batter and not their teammates. Each attribute is especially important in key situations.

When playing against a Computer Opponent (CPU), the CPU pitcher looks out for unusual patterns to exploit. If you are swinging at every pitch, he'll try to pitch around you and see what happens. If you ignore certain pitch types or locations for a strike, he will sometimes specifically try those pitches as a guess. The CPU even pays attention to swing timing - such as when a batter is trying to pull homeruns off a fastball - and mix in more off-speed pitches like changeups to catch you off guard. These rules are scaled-down on the lower difficulties, and in general are similar tactics to what a human opponent would try.

When using Guess Pitch, it's important to avoid obvious or repeated guessing patterns. Eventually your opponent can catch on and pitch around you, resulting in fewer lock-ons. Fortunately since a CPU or human opponent will only know about your previous guesses (and won't know what you guessed if you guessed wrong), it's possible to stay one step ahead of the pitcher by regularly changing what you guess or even not guessing at all sometimes.

In general, you'll see more off-speed pitches as you fall behind and more fastballs as you get ahead in the count.

Other Tips #2

If you're swinging at pitches a lot more than half the time, especially with 0 or 1 strikes, it's possible you're swinging too often. This free swinging can get you behind in the count or result in some easy outs, whereas being patient can improve your situation and force the pitcher to throw you a better pitch. Within a typical at-bat of four pitches, there's usually one good pitch and waiting for it is the key to your best hits. A patient strategy will add more balls to the count, putting the pitcher in a disadvantage by forcing him to throw good strikes or even walk you. Strategically, if your team works together to force the pitcher to throw a lot of pitches, this will tire him and make him less accurate or even retire him early in the game.

Some relievers are significantly easier to hit against than your starters, and the more you face the more potential there is of a big inning against a weak reliever. This is why retiring the starter early works to your advantage.

If you're having trouble hitting into double plays with a runner on first, try avoiding low pitches. This especially applies with changeups and curveballs, which tend to influence grounders more. You may have to take some borderline strikes to do this, but it's better than hitting into a double play. You can also try to aim your plate coverage slightly below the pitch to influence more fly ball hits.

In two-player games (not supported in the PlayStationRVita system), there are special rules on how to resolve guess pitch for certain combinations of game modes. If a player guesses both type and location correctly versus a pitcher using Meter or Analog pitching, those results are locked in and the pitcher can no longer influence the pitch. This ensures that the pitcher cannot spoil a correct guess and create a paradox where the guess is no longer correct. This rule does not affect guessing only type or only location (these are resolved after pitch input). This rule also does not affect Classic or Pulse pitching (as pitch input precedes feedback). Finally, the act of guessing both type and location correctly is infrequent by itself, limiting this potential interruption.

Guess Pitch bonuses are limited during certain strategies such as a hit-and-run. This accounts for the fact that the runner realistically would not know in real time whether or not the batter locks on to a pitch.

After a full game, bring up the 'Batter Analysis' tool. Compare your results to a typical MLB game by setting your team, and then setting every other field (including Batter) to 'ALL'. A typical MLB game will have roughly 6-7% HIT, 13-14% OUT, 53% TAKEN, 18% FOULED, 4-5% MISSED, and 4-5% STRIKEOUT stats. If you're having trouble hitting and your TAKEN % is very low, it probably means you're free swinging too much. If most of the numbers look good but your HIT % is low and OUT % is high, it means you're making weak contact or were unlucky by hitting balls straight at the fielders. Finally, press SQUARE to cycle through your zone stats, and see if there are any particularly weak or strong zones you have to focus on. Using this tool is a quick way to identify strengths and weaknesses within a game.

Pitching

Getting Started

When pitching with Classic or Meter pitching, select your pitch type by pressing X O TRIANGLE SQUARE or R1. The X button will correspond to your pitcher's best and most frequent pitch, usually a fastball. After you select your pitch type, choose your target location by moving the left stick. When you've decided on your target location, press X to start the pitcher's windup.

During the pitcher's windup in Meter pitching, you'll see the pitch meter appear and a white marker rise and fall according to the pitcher's delivery. During this rise and fall, you'll need to tap the X button twice - once to select power near the top, and once to hit the accuracy bar towards the bottom.

The accuracy selection is the most critical to time. If your accuracy is perfect and hits the yellow bar, the bar will flash and your pitch will be significantly more accurate.

When choosing a breaking pitch, the Pitch Break Indicator will appear off the ball cursor and indicate the expected movement of your pitch. Most breaking pitches move better depending on the location aimed, such as curveballs low and sliders away from the pitcher. This reflects the way these pitches are delivered and the need to release these pitches consistent with the pitcher's fastball.

To intentionally walk a batter, hold the L1 button and press O. Then press X to throw the intentional walk. Intentional walks are a strategy to avoid pitching to power batters in tight situations, or to set up a potential double play with runners in scoring position. A typical intentional walk situation involves a runner on second or third in the late innings, with a power hitter at-bat but an easier hitter next on deck.

To pitchout, hold the L1 button and press X. Then press X again to throw the pitchout. When the catcher catches the pitchout, press O TRIANGLE or SQUARE to throw to the desired base. A pitcher will use a faster delivery on a pitchout, making these very effective even for a normally slow pitcher. A typical pitchout situation is early in the count with a top-ranked base stealer on first. Watch for when the runner has taken an extra leadoff, as this heightens but does not guarantee the chance of a steal attempt.

To pickoff a runner after selecting your pitch type, hold down L2 and press the corresponding base icon. You can now choose casual, quick, and deceptive picks. A detailed explanation of the pickoff system can be found in the 'Pickoffs and Pitchouts' section.

If you prefer a simplified pitching system, you can turn on the Classic interface in the 'Pitching Interface' option of 'Game Options'. In this mode, tapping or holding X will deliver the pitch without regard to timing. Pitches in Classic are less accurate than a perfect meter throw but more accurate than a bad meter throw.

Pitch Meter Input

Your choice of power on the pitch meter influences how hard the pitch is thrown. If your pitch is an off-speed pitch, this will also modestly improve its movement and effectiveness. The drawback is a small reduction in accuracy and increase in fatigue. In Classic mode, holding X is equivalent to choosing high power.

In Meter pitching, your accuracy selection in the light blue accuracy zone will influence how far the pitcher tends to miss his intended location. You always want to get as close to the yellow bar in the center as possible.

If you press X too late and miss the light blue zone entirely, the pitcher will release his pitch too late in an overthrow and possibly land the pitch in the dirt. If you press X too early, the pitcher will release his pitch too early in an underthrow and land the pitch too high. Sidearm pitchers overthrow and underthrow on a horizontal axis, depending on their delivery.

You can analyze your pitch release timing in pitcher-batter analysis using the filter 'Label Metertime'. Label legend: VE=Very Early, E=Early, JE=Just Early, N=Normal, P=Perfect, JL=Just Late, L=Late, VL=Very Late. Most pitches should be between just early and just late, where the under/over throw influence is minor and comparable to the natural variation in pitch accuracy.

The two most important attributes that influence pitch accuracy are BBper9 (Walks per 9 innings) and the individual pitch accuracy for the selected pitch. Certain pitch types such as fastballs are in general more accurate than others (i.e. the average fastball is more accurate than even the best curveball).

Confidence is a factor later in a pitcher's start, by slightly reducing the effects of fatigue so a pitcher can pitch a little longer than usual. It has the smallest influence of all pitcher attributes (BBper9, control, fatigue, etc..), and acts more as a feedback indicator of the pitcher's performance that day.

Pitch Types

Fastballs: These pitches are the fastest and most accurate pitches, which you can throw effectively anywhere on the strike zone. All pitchers use a fastball, with most of them using it as their primary pitch. For a typical pitcher, you'll want to throw two-thirds of his pitches with a fastball. As you get ahead of the count to strike 2, you'll want to mix in more off-speed pitches which are harder to hit but less predictable. However if you allow too many balls and get behind in the count, you'll want to throw almost all fastballs to reduce the chances of walking the batter.

Changeups: With batters expecting mostly fastballs, an occasional changeup can disrupt his timing and swing and keep the batter honest. Changeups should be thrown low, and when thrown effectively, it will cause the batter to swing too early or too high for contact. Changeups are designed to initially look like fastballs at waist height from the batter's perspective. By the time the batter recognizes this is not a fastball it's often too late to change his swing decision. The ideal result is either a miss or weak grounder.

Curveballs: Curveballs are thrown with reverse spin, causing them to dive as they reach the batter. When thrown properly, the downward movement of this pitch makes it hard for the batter to make solid contact, especially for a batter looking for a fastball. The main risk of curveballs is they're very inaccurate. They can completely miss the strike zone or even land in the middle of the strike zone for a hanging meatball. In some situations such as runners on base or a swinging strike three, a curveball that landed in the dirt may get away from the catcher and allow the runners or the batter to advance freely. Curveballs serve to keep the batter off balance and make it hard for the batter to know which pitch to expect next.

Sliders: Sliders rely on a mixture of velocity and movement. They approach a batter like a fastball, and slide laterally making it hard to judge a good swing. They are most effective at getting a batter to swing at a pitch that looks like a strike, but slides out of the strike zone for a ball. For this reason, sliders are more effective when used in same-handed matchups (right-handed pitcher vs. right-handed batter). An added benefit to same-handed matchups is that pitchers can get more movement throwing away than throwing in. In same-handed matchups, sliders should work away or low-and-away from the batter. This can help the pitcher balance out his coverage of the strike zone, with curveballs and changeups working the low zones.

Sinkers: Sinkers are fastballs which have a significant downward movement, and are similar to 2-seam fastballs. Some pitchers have exceptional sinkers that are very effective against batters, and these pitchers will use the sinker as their primary fastball. Sinkers generate extra ground ball outs.

Knuckleballs: Knuckleballs are thrown with little or no spin, which can produce sudden or unexpected movement as they approach the batter. Pitchers who can effectively throw a knuckleball tend to specialize in them and throw them as their primary pitch. But when they fall behind the count, they'll typically use a fastball to try and avoid walking the batter.

Pickoffs & Pitchouts

A pitcher has two primary tools against base stealing - pickoffs and pitchouts. Pickoffs hold the runner close to the base, can occasionally get a runner out, and make it hard for the runner to extend his lead for a steal. Pitchouts are a way to eliminate even good runners on a steal attempt, as long as you can correctly guess when it's attempted.

On pickoffs, you now have the ability to use three different moves: casual, quick, or deceptive. To pickoff a runner, first select any pitch type. Then hold down L2 and press the corresponding base icon.

The base icons vary depending on the pitching view you are in. For example, if the camera is facing the pitcher from the batter's perspective then O = 1st base, TRIANGLE = 2nd base, and SQUARE = 3rd base. If the camera view is facing the catcher from the pitcher's perspective then SQUARE = 1st base, X = 2nd base, and O = 3rd base.

How you press the base icon determines which pickoff you use. Tapping the base icon once will throw aquick pickoff to try and get the runner out. Double tapping the base icon will throw a casual pickoff, to return the runner to base and show him that you're watching. Holding down the base icon will attempt a deceptive move. Quick and deceptive pickoffs are more effective if the runner intended to steal, but overusing them will reduce their surprise factor and effectiveness. Skilled runners are thrown out much less often than average ones. Lastly, there is a higher chance of missing the throw on a deceptive move, but in general it can take dozens of attempts before you completely miss the baseman.

Pitchouts are coordinated efforts, meaning the defense is more alert and the catcher's throw is more accurate and effective. In addition to spoiling base steal attempts, they're effective against hit-and-run plays if you can anticipate them. As long as you have fewer than two balls in the count, pitchouts are generally low cost and can even send a message to discourage your opponent from stealing or executing a hit-and-run.

Other Tips

If you know the basics of pitching but are still having trouble against batters, you can check the 'Pitcher-Batter Analysis' tool to see what's been happening. You can access the analysis tool through the pause menu or by bringing up the pitcher-batter matchup display and then pressing either L1 or R1. In these screens, you can then use the various pitch filters to check different scenarios and see where each pitch you threw landed and what happened.

When a pitcher is having trouble in an inning, a 'Mound Visit' by the pitching coach can help the pitcher recover some lost confidence. This is especially important for starters who are struggling in an early inning. Mound visits are best used after a pitcher gives up multiple runs, or many (at least three) hits and walks. They can also be used as a stalling tactic to help warm up your bullpen in a tough situation.

In Road to the Show (RTTS), mound visits are triggered automatically by the coach.

If a pitcher has very high confidence using Meter pitching, the pitch meter will display a thicker yellow bar reflecting this. If a pitcher has very low confidence, the pitch meter will display no yellow bar.

In addition to overall pitcher confidence, another barometer of your pitcher's current status are the individual 'Pitch Command' meters. These small blue bars are located next to each pitch on the pitch menu, and indicate a pitcher's current effectiveness with a pitch. Individual pitch command is a composite of a pitcher's control and movement, and tends to correlate with how often that pitch is thrown.

While difficulty setting is a significant factor influencing your results, your pitcher's ability is also a critical factor and can make as big of a difference. When choosing a starter or reliever, take note of their key attributes when making your decision.

When pitching in Rookie or Veteran difficulty, your catcher will automatically make pitch type and location suggestions through 'Adaptive Pitch Intelligence' (API). The API considers many factors such as the count, previous pitches thrown, the pitcher's style, the current situation, and other matchup factors such as batter power. This can help beginners get started, but advanced players will want to develop their own strategies and tailor their picks against their opponent.

During a manual steal before pitch delivery, you may opt to step off the mound and then throw to the base ahead of the runner. Alternatively if, during a manual steal, you press O, SQUARE, or TRIANGLE that corresponds to an unoccupied base, you will automatically step off the mound.

Pitchers who get insufficient days of rest will tire faster if overused. Starters tend to trigger this when pitching three or more quality starts in seven days, such as with a key pitcher in a playoff situation. Relievers and closers follow different criteria, which depends on their pitch count between the previous two days.

Fielding

Getting Started

When fielding, use the left stick to control your fielder's movement. Once a fielder has the ball, press X, O, TRIANGLE, or SQUARE to throw to a base.

If you've fielded a ball in the deep outfield or have an outfielder with a weak arm, you can throw to a cutoff man using L1. This will help your fielders relay the ball faster and more accurately, and the shorter throws give your defense a deterrence against trailing runners from advancing an extra base.

On fly balls and pop-ups, a large ball marker will show the approximate landing area of the ball.

If your fielder needs to jump for a catch, pressing R1 will trigger a jump attempt. This can help an infielder to catch a low fly ball, or an outfielder to rob a home run.

If your fielder needs more range, pressing R2 will make him dive. This can help an infielder snag a hard grounder that would have passed him, or help an outfielder extend his range to catch a fly ball hit to a difficult location. Dives carry the risk of a miss or deflection, so it's important to judge and use them appropriately.

If deciding between jumping and diving is difficult, you can simplify the mechanic by turning on the 'Fielding One Button Dive/Jump' option in 'Game Options' (not applicable to PlayStationRVita system).

Double Play

When a runner is on 1st with 1 out or less, this is a potential double play situation. If the batter hits directly to an infielder, you can potentially force two runners out by getting the ball to second, then throwing to first. The most common type of double play involves the shortstop or second baseman throwing to or stepping on second base, then throwing to first base.

Since both outs in a double play are force-outs, your baseman only needs to step on a bag to score the out rather than make an actual tag. This saves precious time and increases the chance of making both outs.

When in doubt, always try to make the out at second. This is because an out at second is worth more than an out at first, and an out at second usually leads to a double play whereas an out at first won't. For example, even if your first baseman fields the ball, he should throw to second if there's any chance of making the out there. The fielder at second should then throw back to first to attempt the second out.

Other Tips

How you field a ball can impact your throw results. If an infielder is off balance or dove to field a ball when throwing, this can increase the likelihood of a bad throw. If an outfielder fielded cleanly and throws on the run, he can deliver a harder throw than normal at some cost to accuracy.

When fielding hits in the outfield, it's important to take a good path against the ball. If the fielder is running perpendicular to the ball's path, an aggressive angle of attack could save time but also risks allowing the hit through.

Running

Getting Started

Once a ball is hit into play, baserunners will initially react by advancing to the next base, holding in between bases, or returning to their previous base. It's up to you to decide their next move or override their initial reaction.

To control an individual runner, first target him with the left stick by pushing the stick in his direction. For example, to target a runner at 2nd, push the left stick up. As long as you've targeted a runner with the left stick, you can press X O TRIANGLE and SQUARE freely to send the runner to that base.

The runner will head towards that new base, as long as the rules of baseball allow him. This control of an individual runner is critical when only some runners can advance safely; such as when the batter gets a single but the other runners can safely advance two bases.

If you want to automate your baserunning decisions, you can do so by setting the 'Auto Baserunning' option in 'Game Options'.

When playing in Road to the Show (RTTS) mode, the left stick controls your runner's direction. An onscreen display will show the relative direction of each base and register your commands. To send your runner to a base, hold the left stick in the current direction of that base.When leading off a base before pitch delivery, use L1 and R1 to reduce or extend your lead, hold L1 to lean back, and hold R1 to leanforward.

Advance Bases

The key to good baserunning is judging how well the defense will relay the ball to the bases. In general, on a single by the batter your runners must decide on advancing either one or two bases. On a double by the batter, your runners must decide on advancing either two or three bases. In some situations, runners can advance even when the batter hits an out. This tends to happen on ground balls when runners are forced to advance, or on a sacrifice fly in deep outfield when runners can advance safely after a catch.

On a deep fly ball, runners on second and third may be able to advance an extra base even when the hit iscaught for an out. To do this, first return your runners and have them tag up on their base. The moment the ball is caught, that's your chance to advance to the next base. The key is to correctly judge the amount of time it will take for the outfielder to relay the ball to your base. Since long distance throws are often inaccurate and can miss the bag by several feet, you could be safe even if the ball arrives before you.

On a fly ball, runners may automatically advance and stop halfway between bases to check if the ball is caught. If the ball is caught, runners must return to their bases and tag up or they can be thrown out at that base. But if the ball is allowed to bounce before being caught by the outfielder, runners may advance freely. Your runners will tend to make their own judgment in routine situations, but if you know better you may want to override their decision in borderline cases.

Base Stealing

Before a pitcher delivers his pitch, your baserunners have the opportunity to take extra lead offs and decide to steal a base. When taking extra leadoffs, there is an increased chance the pitcher will notice and attempt a pick off. Against a frequent stealer, the pitcher may even attempt a pitch out to the catcher which has a good chance of making an out in the event of a steal.

A baserunner's ability makes a big difference in your chances of stealing and avoiding a successful pickoff. The three attributes related to stealing are Speed, Stealing Ability, and Stealing Frequency.

Most teams may only have one or two good base stealers, and it's important to factor this into your decision.

Repeated steals within a game or over recent games will reduce the element of surprise, and make the defense more alert. The catcher will make more clean throws with fewer mistakes.

In general, 0 outs is a weak time to steal 2nd while 2 outs can be a good time. This is because if you're already on base with 0 outs, you're highly likely to score without stealing. On 2 outs, there's a much lower chance you'll score from 1st base and reaching 2nd increases your team's offensive potential. For stealing 3rd, 1 out is the best situation.

The most important factors in the success of a steal are: Speed and Steal attributes, how good of a jump the runner made, whether the pitch was a fastball or off-speed, whether or not the catcher's throw is accurate, the runner's lead off, the base being stolen, the defensive situation, and the surprise factor.

Other Tips

Even when the batter decides to take a pitch, runners need to be alert for the occasional wild pitch. This happens when the pitcher misses the strike zone and the catcher is unable to catch or block the pitch from getting away. If your runners think there's enough time to advance, a wild pitch can make the difference for that inning.

When the batter is at a full count (3 balls, 2 strikes) with all runners forceable and 2 outs, use L2 to have all runners run on the pitch delivery. Since the inning is over if the batter takes a strike, the runners can count on the ball eventually being put into play or the batter walking.

Other

Miscellaneous

NEW' 'Quick Counts' allows you to significantly speed up games with much shorter at-bats. Instead of starting counts on 0-0, counts will start on middle and late counts. The most common starting counts are 1-1 and 2-1, followed by the 3-2, 2-2, and 1-2 counts. Pitcher versus batter attributes have an influence on how often 3-0 vs 0-2 counts show up, but every batter will see each count. There is a small balancing bonus that helps a batter put the ball into play more often, to compensate for the reduced number of pitches he'll see in an at-bat. Overall, you'll see an increase in strikeouts and base on balls balanced by fewer fouls. Every pitch you throw will be more critical, because there are far fewer of them.

As a rough guideline, if a game would have had 145 pitches thrown without Quick Counts, then with Quick Counts on that would translate to about 80 pitches 'actually thrown' plus an additional 105 'simulated pitches' for a total of 185 pitches. As a compromise for realism, the game corrects for this inflated number by subtracting 1 pitch per plate appearance for display purposes, so that a pitcher's individual pitch count will appear more comparable to a regular game. An extra pitch is subtracted for at-bats ending on a 3-2 count.

The 'Simulated pitches' in Quick Counts drain less energy, to balance out fatigue loss. Quick Counts is set globally when entering a game, and CPU hitters and pitchers will adjust their strategy to take adapt to the higher leverage gameplay balance.

NEW' Dynamic is a special difficulty setting, available in both the pitching and hitting difficulty options. When set, Dynamic Difficulty will track your hitting and/or pitching results and automatically adjust your difficulty over time. Your current progress is reported at the start of each inning, on promotions/demotions, and when Dynamic Difficulty is first turned on during a game.

The difficulty levels are: Rookie, Rookie+, Veteran, Veteran+, All-Star, All-Star+, Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame+, and Legend. The default starting difficulty is 'Rookie+', which is halfway in-between Rookie and Veteran. In addition to listing difficulty, a 'progress' field may appear to show whether you are about to promote or demote. For example, a '++' denotes that you are almost halfway to a promotion, while a '----' denotes that you are near demotion. Your Dynamic Difficulty progress is tied to your game settings profile, and discarding your game settings profile will also will reset your Dynamic Difficulty progress.

The difficulty adjustments are 1/2 difficulty steps. The primary criteria for difficulty promotions/demotions under Dynamic Difficulty is your team OPS (in the case of RTTS, your individual OPS). A promotion may only happen if your team is winning by 3 or more runs, and a demotion can only happen if your team is losing by 3 or more runs. This rule is waived for relief pitchers starting mid-game. Promotions/demotions are checked after each at-bat, and after a promotion or demotion no further changes or progress may happen until the next game.

Beginner difficulty is also available for both hitting and pitching. It starts out several difficulty levels below Rookie and dynamically progresses in challenge as the player succeeds. There are 6 ranks of Beginner difficulty in total, described in more detail in the sub-topic 'Miscellaneous 2' of the 'Other' section of this guide.

Miscellaneous #2

When using Beginner hitting difficulty, the difficulty progresses through 6 Ranks as described below:

Rank 1 - 100% FB down the middle

Rank 2 - FB + 1 off-speed, down the middle

Rank 3 - FB + 1 off-speed, for a strike

Rank 4 - FB + 1 off-speed, 80% strikes

Rank 5 - All pitches, 60% strikes

Rank 6 - All pitches, All locations

In addition to the above rules, there are contact and timing bonuses that scale from Ranks 1-6. Rank 6 is equivalent to Rookie, with the exception that the CPU will not pickoff at your runners for taking one extra leadoff. Note that pitchers with unusual repertoires may simply use another fastball type as their 'off-speed'.

When using Beginner pitching difficulty, the pitcher starts with a large accuracy bonus and the CPU hitters have terrible plate discipline and swing accuracy. When advancing to rank 2, 4, and 6, the CPU batter improves his plate discipline and swing accuracy. When advancing to rank 3 and 5, your pitcher reduces his accuracy bonus.

Each of the four hitting modes (Zone, Timing, Pure Analog, Zone Plus Analog) and four pitching modes (Meter, Classic, Pure Analog, Pulse) are designed to be comparable in difficulty. For example, even though Timing hitting sounds easy because you only have to pick your swing timing, the timing window is slightly narrowed to balance for this. In Pure Analog hitting you have the advantage of only having to aim in one dimension (left/right), but stride timing is a factor and you are penalized in the other dimension (up/down) for bad aim. Likewise, in Classic pitching your 'Meter' mode input is automatically determined for better or worse. In Pure Analog pitching there are also pros and cons to the interface.

When guessing zone, note that the final zone of the pitch may differ from the originally intended zone. This means a batter may guess the zone correctly even if the pitcher attempted to avoid throwing to that zone. In Pure Analog and Meter pitching, a random inaccuracy is factored into the guess zone test. This prevents certain exploits and unrealistic pitching strategies.

Miscellaneous #3

In RTTS, you can choose to watch all plays made by your teammates. You can control this behavior through the Game Watch and Game Completion options in the pause menu. Game Watch controls which plays you see when participating in a game, and Game Completion controls which plays you see after being sent to the bench.

'All pitches' shows you every pitch of the game. 'All fielding' shows you every pitch while your player is on defense (no effect for pitchers and catchers). 'Result Play' this will show the one pitch that results in a walk, strikeout, or ball hit into play for your teammates. 'Result Fielding' has the same effect as 'Result Play', but only applies to fielding. Finally, 'Classic' shows only plays involving your RTTS player.

Regardless of your settings in RTTS, you can see all plays of a RTTS game in Game Log from the pause menu. Plays you participated in or watched show up white, while plays that were skipped show up as gray. This data is useful if as a starter you want to see how the rest of the game played out, or if as a reliever or pinch hitter you want to review how the game got started. Note that when fast forwarding only the result pitch is tracked, and in tools like Pitcher or Batter Analysis you will not see every pitch simulated.

RTTS shifts hitting and pitching difficulty by 1 level when transitioning between the AA, AAA, and MLB leagues (capped between Rookie and Legend). This rule doesn't directly change your difficulty setting but acts as a modifier to it. Beginner and Dynamic difficulty are unaffected by this rule.

CPU opponents manage their bullpens based on the situation, and this can give you a preview of who and what handedness you'll be facing next. In either team's bullpen, you will also be able to see the next three batters up and their effectiveness against right and left-handed pitchers.

As your starter gets tired, he begins to lose some accuracy and pitch break. High confidence or individual pitch command can cut down on this effect. After about 1/4 energy left, your pitcher's overall effectiveness will begin to drop as well and you should start thinking of a replacement if you have not already. For relievers who tend to throw as hard as they can for short periods of time, this trend begins around 1/2 energy left.

There is a new Guess Pitch option called 'PCI'. This allows you to control the PCI even if you guess zone correctly. In Default and Classic, the system puts the PCI automatically somewhere in-between the center of the zone and the actual pitch location. So switching to PCI may help or hurt you depending on your reaction.

In Home Run DerbyTM, the key to success is good timing and pitch selection. An ideal home run swing is slightly early and pulled toward the batter's side.

For RTTS, Diamond Dynasty, custom, and generated (AA/AAA) players, overall pitch velocity is first determined by the average of the pitcher's first three pitch types. Individual pitch speeds then vary off of that overall value, depending on the pitch type and the relative value of the individual velocity attribute. This ensures that adding a 4th pitch will not suddenly impact existing pitch velocities, and keeps pitch speeds from being unrealistic (ex. a changeup faster than a fastball).

Attributes

Contact- High contact influences more line drives, less weak grounders, and less pop-ups.

Power - High power influences harder hits overall, helping runners advance further and potentially turning a deep fly ball into a home run.

Vision - High vision helps the batter make contact even with bad timing or a bad location, resulting in fewer misses and strikeouts.

Discipline- High discipline makes checked swings easier to execute and is a factor for increasing walks.

Hitsper9 - Hitsper9 influences how often batters get solid contact against a pitcher's pitches.

BBper9- BBper9 influences how accurate a pitcher is when pitching.

Kper9 - Kper9 influences how often batters will miss when swinging against a pitcher's pitches.

Speed- Speed determines how fast baserunners run. It is also a factor in a fielder's running speed when fielding, in conjunction with his fielding ability. Speed is important for quickly rounding the bases, and is a factor in reaching first on bunts and stealing bases.

Stealing Ability - High steal ability increases the chance of successful steals by giving a better jump. It also helps the runner avoid getting picked off.

Sac Bunt Ability- Sac Bunt Ability improves the quality of bunts, the chance to make contact on bunts, and also the ability to pull back on a ball. Most batters have some sac bunt ability, but the good ones will rarely sacrifice.

Drag Bunt Ability - Drag Bunt Ability helps a batter bunt for a base hit.

Fielding Ability - High fielding ability increases quality plays and reduces misses, as well as influencing fielder run speed. A fielder with high fielding ability can consistently make some plays that a lower rated fielder would often miss.

Reaction Ability - High reaction influences a fielder's reaction time against hits.

Arm Accuracy - High arm accuracy reduces throwing errors and offline throws.

Arm Strength - Arm strength influences the speed of a fielder's throws. Certain types of throws have limited speed and will not take full advantage of this attribute.

Durability - Durability determines how quickly position players lose energy, which affects how often they need to rest.

Stamina - Stamina determines how quickly pitchers lose energy.

Energy - Energy is a dynamic measure of how much fatigue a player has endured in recent games. Pitchers gradually lose accuracy as their energy is drained. Position players with low energy will begin to lose effectiveness until rested.

Confidence - Confidence is a dynamic measure of a pitcher's reliability and condition during a game.

Potential - Potential indicates a player's future prospects and influences how his attributes develop in future years.

Abbreviations

BATTING

CNR - Contact vs. RHP

CNL - Contact vs. LHP

PWR - Power vs. RHP

PWL - Power vs. LHP

PDis - Plate Discipline

PVis - Plate Vision

BNT - Bunt ability

PITCHING

ENG - Energy

CFD - Confidence

STA - Stamina

H/9 - Hits allowed per 9 innings

BB/9 - Walks allowed per 9 innings

K/9 - Strikeouts per 9 innings

HR/9 - Home runs allowed per 9 innings

FIELDING

FLD - Fielding Ability

ARM - Arm Strength

ACC - Arm Accuracy

RCT - Reaction Time

BLK - Blocking Ability

BASERUNNING

SPD - Speed

STL - Stealing ability

GENERAL

OVR - Overall

CLT/9 - Clutch

POT - Potential

DUR - Durability

PITCH TYPES

4SFB - Four-seam Fastball

SNK - Sinker

CB - Curveball

SL - Slider

SLV - Slurve

SPL - Splitter

CH - Changeup

KN - Knuckleball

2SFB - Two-seam Fastball

CUT - Cutter

CIR - Circle Change

PLM - Palmball

FRK - Forkball

KNCV - Knucklecurve

SCR - *****ball

12CV - 12-6 Curveball

SCV - Sweeping Curveball

RFB - Running Fastball

VCH - Vulcan Change

PITCHER-BATTER ANALYSIS PLOT

K - Strikeout

KL - Strikeout looking

KD - Dropped 3rd strike

W - Walk

IW - Intentional Walk

HP - Hit by pitch

DP - Double play

TP - Triple play

SF - Sac fly

SH - Sac hit

VE - Very Early

E - Early

JE - Just Early

N - Normal

JL - Just Late

L - Late

VL - Very Late

P - Pop-up

F - Fly ball

L - Line drive

G - Ground ball

C - Chopper

TF - Tip foul

F - Fastball

CB - Curveball

S - Slider

CH - Changeup

KN - Knuckleball

SN - Sinker

SP - Splitter

Result Legend

SWING INFO

Jammed - When the batter swings too late on an inside pitch, making contact with the weak part of the bat. This influences weak fly balls and pop-ups.

Pulled Off - When the batter swings too early on an outside pitch, making contact off the end of the bat. This influences weak grounders and choppers.

Chased - When the batter swings at a pitch outside of the strike zone. Power and contact loss.

Off Balance - When the batter swings too early, reaching out in front but unable to make contact.

Tied Up - When the batter misses a pitch because it was too far inside and he swung too late.

Reached - When the batter misses a pitch because it was too far outside and he swung too early.

Foul Tipped - When the batter barely grazes a pitch and tips it towards the catcher.

Bad Stride - When the batter begins his stride too early or late relative to a pitch. Analog hitting only.

Solid/Normal/Weak - These describe the overall contact quality of a hit when no other situations qualify. Note that power is not always a factor, as a line drive is a solid hit even by a weak hitter.

Early/Late/Over/Under/Inside/Outside - These describe the primary reason for a missed swing.

NEW' PITCHER-BATTER ANALYSIS RESULTS

Hit - Batter scored a hit.

Fouled - Batter swung and fouled.

Taken - Batter took a pitch. Includes both a ball or strike. Includes base on ball and hit by pitch results.

Missed - Batter swung and missed.

Out - Batter is out at first, or he should have been out according to the scorer. Includes fielder's choice and errors. Excludes strikeouts and dropped 3rd strike.

Strikeouts - Batter struck out. Includes dropped 3rd strike.

Analysis Filters

NEW' PITCHER-BATTER FILTERS

First pitch - Only show pitches on a 0-0 count.

Early count - Only show pitches with less than 2 strikes and less than 2 balls.

Ahead count - For the batter, only show pitches with less than 2 strikes and 2 or more balls. For the pitcher, only show pitches with 2 strikes excluding 3-2.

Behind count - For the batter, only show pitches with 2 strikes excluding 3-2. For the pitcher, only show pitches with less than 2 strikes and 2 or more balls.

Full count - Only show pitches on a 3-2 count.

End of AB - Only show pitches that ended an at-bat. For example, this includes hits, outs, walks, hit by pitch, sac flies, sac hits, and other plays that end an at-bat.

Jammed - Only show pitches where the batter swung and was jammed (late on an inside pitch). Related to 'jammed' in swing info.

Rolled - Only show pitches where the batter swung and rolled over (early on an outside pitch). Related to 'pulled off' in swing info.

Early swing - Only show pitches where the batter swung early, including 'just early'.

Late swing - Only show pitches where the batter swung late, including 'just late'.

Bases empty - Only show pitches where there were no runners on base.

RISP - Only show pitches where there were runners in scoring position (2nd or 3rd base).

1st AB, 2nd AB, etc.. - Only show pitches for a batter's X at-bat, where X is the number selected.

Current Inning - Only show pitches thrown in the current inning.

Hittype - Label pitches according to hit type, rough approximations.

Pitchtype - Label pitches according to pitch type. See the Abbreviations topic for a breakdown.

Hitchance - Label swings according to the accuracy of PCI placement. '0' is the worst, while a '10' will always make contact on good timing.

Timing - Label swings according to swing timing. See the Abbreviations topic for a breakdown.

Fielder - Label plays according to the first fielder to the ball. Applies to plays that ended an at-bat, excluding strikeouts.

Guesspitch - Label pitches according to the guess pitch result. TZ=Double lockon, T=Type lockon, Z=Zone lockon.

More pitches - When the maximum number of displayable pitches is reached, this option cycles through more pitches.

Hit - Only show pitches labeled as HIT.

Out - Only show pitches labeled as OUT.

Taken - Only show pitches labeled as TAKEN.

Fouled - Only show pitches labeled as FOULED.

Missed - Only show pitches labeled as MISSED.

Strikeout - Only show pitches labeled as STRIKEOUT.

Baseonball - Only show pitches that resulted in a walk.

Swung - Only show pitches where the batter swung.

Strike - Only show pitches scored as a strike.

Ball - Only show pitches scored as a ball.

Chased - Only show pitches where the batter swung and the pitch was outside the strike zone.

Popup - Only show pop-ups.

Flyball - Only show fly balls.

Linedrive - Only show line drives.

Groundball - Only show ground balls.

Chopper - Only show choppers.

Extra bases - Only show doubles, triples, and home runs.

Checkswing - Only show pitches where the batter checked his swing, regardless of whether the umpire calls it a swing or not.

Deep strike - Only show pitches that landed in the middle zone of the strike zone.