A beginner’s guide to MLB® The Show™ 20

MLB® The Show™ 20 brings authentic baseball action into your home, packing all 30 Major League Baseball™  teams into a deep, highly customizable experience. New to the sport? Read on for tips on how to get started.





The basics: Batting, pitching and fielding

Baseball is played by two teams of nine players, who take turns to field and bat. The aim is to score more runs than your opponents by batting pitched balls into the field away from the fielders, letting the runners complete a circuit consisting of four bases (first, second, third and home). 

Each turn to bat is called an inning, and the team with the most runs by the end of nine innings is the winner.


1. Batting techniques

Normal – A straight forward swing that can result in any kind of hit. 

Contact – Focus on hitting the ball to put it into the field. Useful if you just want to try and get one of your players on a base.

Power – Want to swing for the fences and aim for a home run? This is your shot, but it requires precise timing.

Bunt – This lets you hold the bat out to hit the ball, instead of taking a full swing. This is usually to help advance any players already on base.

You can choose between three different batting control methods (Directional Hitting, Zone Hitting and Pure Analogue), but Zone Hitting gives you the option to use both the analogue stick for aiming and buttons to select your striking type, along with a handy indicator to clearly show the direction of where you’re hitting the ball. After that, it’s all about timing, so stay calm and pick your shots.

“Avoid getting struck out by carefully judging the pitcher’s throw before you attempt to hit it. The ability to let a bad pitch go by is the single biggest thing you can improve."    

– San Diego Studio            

2. Baserunning

Once a ball is hit into play, your baserunners automatically decide to run towards the next base, hold position or return, depending on where the batter has hit the ball.

If you’re feeling sneaky, your baserunner can attempt to advance to the next base before the pitcher delivers his pitch, so high Speed and Stealing Ability attributes are essential for this risky move.

Turn on Auto Baserunning if you want to work your way up to manually controlling each runner.

3. Pitching techniques

Fastball – Go for all-out speed so that the batter has no chance to hit the pitch.

Slider – Keep the batter off balance with a pitch that breaks down and away from right-handed batters, and inside to left-handers (from a right-handed pitcher). 

Changeup – A slow pitch designed to trick the batter into thinking it’s being thrown faster than it arrives.

Curveball – Fool the batter with a ball that typically curves downwards as it approaches the plate.

There are four control methods for pitching (Meter Pitching, Classic, Pure Analogue and Pulse), with Classic being the quickest to get into. Simply pick your pitch type and deliver it via the X button. When you’re ready for a little more control, switch to Meter Pitching, which lets you gauge the strength and accuracy of your pitch through timing your button presses via an on-screen meter. 

Be sure to pay attention to the vibration of the Dualshock wireless controller, as the strength of the vibration will indicate how likely you are to pitch outside of the strike zone. Do that four times without the batter swinging for it (called a “ball”), and he’ll be allowed to walk to first base unhindered.

Also keep your eye on the red hot and blue cold zones in front of the batter, to gauge the areas where your opponent is strongest and weakest at hitting.

4. Fielding

You have four infielders who are stationed closest to the batter and bases, while three outfielders will roam the wider areas for when balls are struck further. The key to good fielding is knowing where the offensive runners are and making an early decision where to throw the ball.

Jumping or diving for a ball can be risky, so only attempt it if you’ve no other choice. To get the hang of both for your first few games, turn on the Fielding One Button Dive/Jump option, which lets you concentrate on when to press the button, while the AI decides whether it’s a situation requiring a jump or dive.

“Baseball is a game of rhythm. Don’t allow your opponent to expect what you’re going to throw, or you’ll be punished. Find your patterns and change them up."

                                                                                                   – San Diego Studio

Where to start in MLB THE SHOW 20

Ease yourself in with the Strategy Guide in the options menu, and then the tutorial mode to get familiar with the different control methods. There are lots of fun game modes to dive into, but try this accessible path to begin your career as a Baseball superstar

1. Build your confidence with Moments mode

Step into the shoes of some of Baseball history’s most iconic players in a mode designed to give you a few minutes’ worth of play to complete a specific goal. Here you can repeat a task until you get the hang of it, while gaining rewards that you can use in other modes.

2. Move on to Road To The Show

Once you’ve got into the swing of things, Road to the Show is your next step towards the Major Leagues. Rather than play as an entire team, create your custom player and only control him when he’s either up to bat or the ball is hit to him.

Your character gains experience and levels-up as you play, so whether you want to be a star pitcher, a speedy base stealer or a home run slugger, you can tailor the game your way.

Modes for more experienced players

If you’ve sharpened your skills and want more of a challenge, there are several other modes to take a shot at.

March to October

Take your favourite team to the annual World Series®  championship. Play the most critical games and situations, while also making business moves to optimize your team.


Approach Baseball from an entirely different angle in this turn-based board game, where you must conquer the territories controlled by your rival MLB teams. But instead of random dice rolls, you play a short game of Baseball to see who comes out on top of each contest.


Build a team and then pick special skills to improve them, as you play to beat the big boss and earn rewards.

Battle Royale

Bring your friends into play in this multiplayer mode, and go head-to-head with them with your drafted team to earn the best rewards in the game.

1. Guard the bases

When you’re pitching, always watch out for any runners on base. Tiny mistakes add up in Baseball, so picking them off is crucial.

2. Enhance your fielding

For fielding, the Button Accuracy control setting is the way to go. It gives you the greatest control over your throws and reduces the amount of unforced errors.

3. Prime your pitcher

K/9, Control and Stamina are among the more valuable attributes when selecting pitchers, and if they have sliders, cutters and sinkers in their arsenal then you’ll be well prepared for the opening innings of any game.

4. Power-up your batting

To improve your batting, use the Strike Zone camera. It’s closer and lower to the batter, which makes it easier to read a pitcher’s throw.

5. Stay one step ahead

If you have a speedy baserunner and want to steal a base, don’t be afraid to push them one step away from their base before the pitch. But be extra cautious about taking two steps, even if you’re confident, as your chances of being caught will be hugely increased.

Ready to take your game to the next level?  Check out 6 new features in MLB® The Show™ 21.

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