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MLB The Show 17: Work the Count As a Batter to Increase Your Hits


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Among the many nuances of baseball is recognizing the importance of the count. Knowing when to swing, when to hold back and when to just let it rip no matter what the circumstance is often the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter.

Need evidence? How about Barry Bonds. In his record-breaking season, in which he hit 73 homers, Barry Bonds had an astounding 27 percent walk rate. That means that in just over a fourth of his at bats, Barry Bonds made it to first base free of charge. Taking walks, and the ability to utilize the count in his favor, was a major factor in his ability to hit homers.

Let's take a look at something a little more recent: Mike Trout. Just to emphasize the importance of hitting counts, he hit a whopping .341 in 1-0 counts. When faced with an 0-1 count, Trout dropped to a much lower .271 batting average. Again, the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter can be the counts they find themselves in game to game.

With all of that said, let's take a look at some quick hints on how you should approach each individual count.

0-0: This is the most complicated count in the book, and it's one that every hitter faces during every at bat. How do you approach an at bat that hasn't even started yet? First things first: what's the situation at hand? If you have runners on, or perhaps the pitcher is throwing a little wildly, take a pitch. The last thing you want is to run into a double play without making the pitcher work for a little bit.

Conversely, if you find yourself up with nobody on, take a whack if you see your pitch. There's no harm in a quick at bat if it ends in a homer. Be careful not to swing at anything on the borders of the strike zone, as that's the easiest way to help a pitcher get into a groove.

0-1: Now it's time to sweat a little bit. Don't be afraid to swing away if a pitch looks good -- getting into an 0-2 hole is the absolute last thing you want. That being said, it's easy to get antsy. Look for something you can put the bat on, but everything else should be a no go.

1-1: We find ourselves at an even count once again! Much like the "0-0" count, you're going to want to look into the situation at hand. The pitcher won't want to get behind in the count, so look for something good to hit.

2-0: Now the pitcher is sweating. If he does not come in with a strike here, he's going to have to throw you a meatball unless he wants to give you a free pass. This is a count you should be looking for something to mash.

2-1: You're still in a great spot. Anything that is not in your wheelhouse should be given a hard pass. A 2-2 count is still workable and you don't want to give up your good position.

1-2: Time to buckle up. Anything close is going to need a swing and you'll probably be better off going "contact" with that swing. The good news is that, about half the time, you can look for something off speed and outside of the zone. The pitcher won't want to give you anything to hit, but if he's in a groove it might be a good time to see just how long you can make the at bat last.

2-2: Pitchers are going to want a strike as badly as you'll want something to hit. They have room to come in with something off speed, so be wary of that. If anything even touches the strike zone, you'll need to give it a hack. It's not a bad play to go "contact" here and foul some stuff off until the pitcher eventually makes a mistake.

0-2: The daunting "0-2" count is a hitter's nightmare. There's not much you can do here since the pitcher has ample room to mess with your head. Your best bet is to lengthen the at bat and get a better count. Best-case scenario, you slap one through a hole or the pitcher makes a mistake.

3-0: Don't swing. Most players are doing themselves a real disservice by swinging at a 3-0 pitch, especially if the double play ball is a possibility. Instead, make the pitcher throw a strike. A walk gets you on base 100 percent of the time, but a hard hit ball still gets you on base less than 50 percent of the time. If you must swing, wait on the meatball to do some major damage. Lock into a specific pitch and location, and if the pitcher gives you what you want to see, lock-n-load.

3-2: The full count is everything that makes baseball great. One mistake here can change the course of an entire game. The pitcher has to throw a strike, so get ready for something to hit. An off-speed pitch is unlikely to show itself here, so gear up for a fastball.


Member Comments
# 1 dalger21 @ 04/25/17 10:55 AM
This is literally how I approach each AB in RttS. With my RttS character, I avg around 110 walks a year and around 45 HRs per year as well.
 
# 2 Datninja619 @ 04/25/17 12:08 PM
This is actually funny. Because me being new to baseball, I thought the goal was to smack the heck out of the ball. In my mind I'm thinking " Swing at everything in the box".

Now I see the strategy in it. There was a similar article awhile ago referring to patience, which I have now while playing.

Now I just need to work on reading the ball and knowing which ones to take a power swing vs contact swing.
 
# 3 loso_34 @ 04/25/17 12:44 PM
with the way bullpens are in todays game you're better off taking your chances with the starter.
 
# 4 taterskin @ 04/25/17 01:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalger21
This is literally how I approach each AB in RttS. With my RttS character, I avg around 110 walks a year and around 45 HRs per year as well.


110 walks is quite a bit. I think my best RTTS season is around 65 walks. Is this inclusive of HBP and Intentional walks? If so... how do you track. The stats don't cover both?
 
# 5 boxboy99 @ 04/25/17 01:23 PM
My team actually isn't last in the league in walks this season! I give a lot of credit to easier check swings and a bit of a better eye from playing 2 full seasons the last 2 years. I'm still struggling to put up hits though on 17, my average is around 6.5. At least a third of those are via the long ball. Struggling to make solid contact on this game, but might be due to the fact my team is always fatigued.
 
# 6 dalger21 @ 04/25/17 01:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterskin
110 walks is quite a bit. I think my best RTTS season is around 65 walks. Is this inclusive of HBP and Intentional walks? If so... how do you track. The stats don't cover both?
I'm not sure what you're asking. I'll post a SS of my RttS walks when I get home on my main RttS player I've been using since '14.
 
# 7 taterskin @ 04/25/17 01:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalger21
I'm not sure what you're asking. I'll post a SS of my RttS walks when I get home on my main RttS player I've been using since '14.


I believe ya....just curious about the other stats. When you are hit by a pitch it doesn't increase your bb total. Same with intentional walks. They are separate categories.
 
# 8 dalger21 @ 04/25/17 01:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterskin
I believe ya....just curious about the other stats. When you are hit by a pitch it doesn't increase your bb total. Same with intentional walks. They are separate categories.
 
# 9 Caulfield @ 04/25/17 06:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS

... the ability to utilize the count in his favor, was a major factor in his ability to hit homers.
I really think we could find a better example than Bonds. I think we all know what the major factor was in those 73 homers.
In his 2001 season Bonds hit 12 hr on 0-0 counts, 11 on 1-1 counts, 6 on 2-0, 7 on 1-0 counts, 5 on 0-1, and 2 on 0-2, a total of 41 on 2 pitches or less. on 3 pitches he hit 11 homers. more than 3 pitches, 21 hrs. Bonds didnt need to work the count to hit those hrs. a lot of the walks were unintentional intentional walks where the pitcher knew he wasnt going to throw Bonds a strike. 74 of his walks were on 3-0 and 42 were with 1 strike, a total of 116. 61 of his walks were on with 2 strikes. Still the principal is sound, but Bonds as an example was flawed, in more ways than one. lol
 
# 10 JayhawkerStL @ 04/25/17 08:01 PM
One of the best methods for getting yourself in the right mindset is to think about the opposing pitcher's pitch count. Generally, you want this to soar. It decreases his effectiveness, and if you can get him in trouble early enough, get into the bullpen early and often in a series.

My goal each inning is to see 15 pitches. That gets me to 90 pitches after 6 innings. I won't hit 15 all the time, but working for it helps my mindset in taking more pitches.

The key is, when you have a hitter's count, it is about deciding exactly what you want to hit and letting everything else go. No swinging at curveballs and other junk.

Baseball games have always been tough. Even great games like the old High Heart series could play more like slow pitch softball. Honestly, I've never felt like The Show's hitting mechanics made for good count working. It was too hard to judge balls and strikes, and it was more just guessing when to swing or not. But it seems to be a lot better this year.

And the quick counts are an abomination in my mind. It ruins all the strategy that goes into hitting and really turns the game into slow pitch softball even more. The fact that they were just random, but not based on the pitcher and his control make them worse.
 
# 11 Atax1s @ 04/26/17 07:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caulfield
I really think we could find a better example than Bonds. I think we all know what the major factor was in those 73 homers.
In his 2001 season Bonds hit 12 hr on 0-0 counts, 11 on 1-1 counts, 6 on 2-0, 7 on 1-0 counts, 5 on 0-1, and 2 on 0-2, a total of 41 on 2 pitches or less. on 3 pitches he hit 11 homers. more than 3 pitches, 21 hrs. Bonds didnt need to work the count to hit those hrs. a lot of the walks were unintentional intentional walks where the pitcher knew he wasnt going to throw Bonds a strike. 74 of his walks were on 3-0 and 42 were with 1 strike, a total of 116. 61 of his walks were on with 2 strikes. Still the principal is sound, but Bonds as an example was flawed, in more ways than one. lol
We doing the " Bonds was only good because of steroids" thing? Bonds was a multiple time MVP before 1999 (The year his body started changing) and won 8 Gold Gloves before then also. Let's also not pretend like the excitement of all of the home runs during the steroid era didn't save MLB from declining interest and fan support after the strike in 1994. Everyone loves to hate on McGwire, Sosa, Binds, A-Rod, etc. but these guys saved the game. Steroids or not, Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player there ever was.
 
# 12 taterskin @ 04/26/17 08:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atax1s
We doing the " Bonds was only good because of steroids" thing? Bonds was a multiple time MVP before 1999 (The year his body started changing) and won 8 Gold Gloves before then also. Let's also not pretend like the excitement of all of the home runs during the steroid era didn't save MLB from declining interest and fan support after the strike in 1994. Everyone loves to hate on McGwire, Sosa, Binds, A-Rod, etc. but these guys saved the game. Steroids or not, Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player there ever was.


A very polarizing subject....but I have to say I'm in agreement. The steroid argument will rage on till the end of time and I understand the other side of the argument, but we're talking a man who hit a HR every 12 to 13 at bats across his whole career average. He walked 177 times in his HR breaking season and still hit 73. lol. I saw him in a series in Atlanta hit the 2nd and 3rd longest HR's in Turner field history and it was amazing.
 
# 13 BA2929 @ 04/26/17 03:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caulfield
I really think we could find a better example than Bonds. I think we all know what the major factor was in those 73 homers.
In his 2001 season Bonds hit 12 hr on 0-0 counts, 11 on 1-1 counts, 6 on 2-0, 7 on 1-0 counts, 5 on 0-1, and 2 on 0-2, a total of 41 on 2 pitches or less. on 3 pitches he hit 11 homers. more than 3 pitches, 21 hrs. Bonds didnt need to work the count to hit those hrs. a lot of the walks were unintentional intentional walks where the pitcher knew he wasnt going to throw Bonds a strike. 74 of his walks were on 3-0 and 42 were with 1 strike, a total of 116. 61 of his walks were on with 2 strikes. Still the principal is sound, but Bonds as an example was flawed, in more ways than one. lol
Go back and look at Bonds' career numbers though. Once he started to take more walks than he struck out, his power numbers blew up. Just insert 1993 instead of 2001: Bonds walked 126 times and hit 46 HRs. Well before his head blew up trying to keep pace with McGwire and Sosa.

So, sure the year of 2001 might be tough to argue for some (not me, whatever he did was "legal" in baseball and Selig looked the other way due to ratings/interest), but the reasoning behind the walks/power point is still valid.
 
# 14 WhiteBunny @ 04/26/17 04:27 PM
Due to the insane amount of meatballs, the only thing you should do is waiting for a pitch in the middle of the strikezone.
 
# 15 tessl @ 04/26/17 04:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMChrisS


Among the many nuances of baseball is recognizing the importance of the count. Knowing when to swing, when to hold back and when to just let it rip no matter what the circumstance is often the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter.

Need evidence? How about Barry Bonds. In his record-breaking season, in which he hit 73 homers, Barry Bonds had an astounding 27 percent walk rate. That means that in just over a fourth of his at bats, Barry Bonds made it to first base free of charge. Taking walks, and the ability to utilize the count in his favor, was a major factor in his ability to hit homers.

Read More - MLB The Show 17: Work the Count As a Batter to Increase Your Hits
Barry Bonds was on more roids than the East German Olympic team. Probably not the best example.
 
# 16 Armor and Sword @ 04/26/17 06:08 PM
Hitting and working counts has never been better.

With the PS4 Pro and the amazing framerate picking up ball spin is fantastic.

Truly next gen level stuff this year.


Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
 
# 17 TGov @ 04/26/17 08:14 PM
Hitting is hard in general. I naturally want to hit everything I see but I've really honed it in this year. I'm recognizing pitches, working counts and even looking for certain pitches/locations and hitting to all fields.
Like I said, hitting is hard but is so satisfying when you succeed!

In addition, look who your hitting with, work their strengths. I couldn't hit a lick with Christian Vazquez but recently I've been hitting to the opposite field and an having success. Stay on the ball, going to the opposite field gives you more time to adjust and swing or not swing.
 
# 18 Caulfield @ 04/26/17 08:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atax1s
We doing the "[b] Bonds was only good because of steroids" thing? [/]Bonds was a multiple time MVP before 1999 (The year his body started changing) and won 8 Gold Gloves before then also. Let's also not pretend like the excitement of all of the home runs during the steroid era didn't save MLB from declining interest and fan support after the strike in 1994. Everyone loves to hate on McGwire, Sosa, Binds, A-Rod, etc. but these guys saved the game. Steroids or not, Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player there ever was.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BA2929
Go back and look at Bonds' career numbers though. Once he started to take more walks than he struck out, his power numbers blew up. Just insert 1993 instead of 2001: Bonds walked 126 times and hit 46 HRs. Well before his head blew up trying to keep pace with McGwire and Sosa.

So, sure the year of 2001 might be tough to argue for some (not me, whatever he did was "legal" in baseball and Selig looked the other way due to ratings/interest), but the reasoning behind the walks/power point is still valid.
the op's subeject year is 2001, not any other year.
bonds wasnt merely good w/out steroids, he was great. but after steroids, and 2001 in particular, he was beyond great, he was even beyond ruthian. but patience at the plate wasnt why he was beyond ruthian, even if what he did was 'legal'. Still, I just cant imagine anyone would believe a man who only once in his career (2001, the year on topic) hit more than 50 could say he could hit suddenly hit 73 and the major factor was walks. it just wasnt, anymore than Big Mac or Sosa owing their beyond ruthian years to walks, instead of 'medicine'
 
# 19 Deucemonkey23 @ 05/02/17 09:15 AM
Good article but if you're truly a ballplayer and not just a button-masher, you'd know this stuff...
 
# 20 Skyboxer @ 05/02/17 09:29 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armor and Sword
Hitting and working counts has never been better.

With the PS4 Pro and the amazing framerate picking up ball spin is fantastic.

Truly next gen level stuff this year.


Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
I don't even have the Pro and I can see the ball better than ever this year. No issues getting walks when I'm focused.
 

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