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MLB 09 The Show: Just how real is it really? 
Posted on April 27, 2009 at 05:51 AM.
*** Updated with stats from 20 games of All-Star level***

I don't know how many people will find this interesting, but some of you might..so this is for you (and me).

Last year I wanted to see how I could use MLB data and averages in an attempt to make MLB 2K8 as realistic as possible. Now I'm using that same data with MLB 09 The Show. Some background on what this is and how I used it.

What I did was write some perl scripts that downloaded all the available Pitch FX data from MLB for the 2007 season. As you can see from the tables below, that's over 670,000 pitches. I then had to decide how to break it down.

There's basically two things that happen when a pitch is thrown...the batter swings, or he doesn't. He swings 45.58% of the time. So then I took it a bit further and broke down what happens when a batter swings in three more categories. He either swings and misses, fouls it off, or puts it in play. Below, in the blue table are the %'s for how much these things happen when a batter swings.

When a batter doesn't swing, there's more than few things that can happen, but for simplicity I broke them down into two categories: Called Strikes and Balls. There's a lot more than that..like passed balls, hit by pitch, etc. But all of those things are balls, so they get lumped into that.

So, below in orange and blue are the actual 2007 MLB stats I derived from Pitch FX.


So now, I played 20 games on Veteran level with the custom sliders I've been using....recording the results of my pitches to the CPU and entering them into a database which was then imported into a spreadsheet. Of course the way I play affects the results somewhat, and it is only 20 games as well. But from doing this last year, I found 20 games is a good baseline to judge the data from. When I pitch, I use the API on, and pitch probably 90% to the catcher's suggestions.

Here's the results from those 20 games, showing the actual data and how it deviates from the 2007 MLB data. The fields with a *, those %'s are from overall data, not the "% when swinging" data.

VETERAN STATS


ALL STAR STATS


As you can see from this data, the batter AI in MLB 09 is pretty close to realistic MLB averages. The only two that are off, are the "pitches swung at" and the "Balls". But these two understandably effect each other...and I'm to blame probably for effecting them both. The "Balls" stat is how many balls *I* threw to the AI overall. As you can see, I didn't throw enough, and this could very well explain the AI swinging too much.

And finally, the chart below shows the CPU and (embarrassingly) My Stats over those 20 games, versus the MLB averages per game.

VETERAN STATS


ALL STAR STATS


One thing really sticks out to me...I didn't hit one triple over these 20 games. Maybe it's a slider thing, but not one *at all* tells me something isn't right. Also, no matter what I set them too, errors just don't happen enough either.

Overall tho, I'm pretty impressed with how real this game is. They tout this game as "The most realistic baseball video game", and while this isn't really that difficult when you consider the competition, I think they did a great job in simulating the game of baseball. With the exception of a few things, SCEA hit the nail on the head with 09.

Next up: I'm going to do the same thing with All-Star. Using the same sliders, just changing the difficulty level. I think Veteran's a great level, but I'm finding it too easy to pitch.
Comments
# 1 ARMORALLL @ Apr 27
I have a question. Do you think that the CPU swings and misses at a realistic rate? In 08 the CPU just fouled off too many pitches. Are you striking out battes at a realistic rate when they get called on 3rd pitch strikes also?
 
# 2 sinc79 @ Apr 27
i think the geek squad is hiring
 
# 3 Bahnzo @ Apr 27
lol @ geek squad...I'm too smart for them

The numbers show the CPU does swing and miss at the correct rate in Legend diff level. I pitch with the API on, and follow the catcher's suggestions maybe 90% of the time. Only on legend did they swing and miss at a correct rate. The CPU does seem to foul off the correct amount of pitches this year tho. But on All Star, I didn't see the CPU striking out nearly enough.

It's a certainty that how I play influences the stats, but then I am trying to get a realistic game for how I play it.
 
# 4 Bahnzo @ Apr 27
Whoops, I said Legend above, but I meant to say Veteran level.
 
# 5 lostintravise @ Jun 16
lol, awesome.
 
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