Directional Hitting Guide

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Old 04-25-2017, 02:15 PM   #1
TheWarmWind's Arena
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Directional Hitting Guide

With all the new players in the Show this year and all the questions that have come along with them, I thought it’d be prudent to compile all of my info on directional hitting in one referable spot.

Disclaimer: All of this info has been learned just by playing the game and recognizing patterns. It is in no way official and I welcome any criticism or corrections from the OS community.

The Basics

Contact, Normal and Power Swing: You can do a contact swing by pressing circle to swing, a normal with x, and a power swing with square.

Contact swings give a large boost to contact and vision no matter the swing influence, but come with a massive power penalty. They should be used on two strike counts when you want to work your way back, or by really bad hitters (ie your pitcher).

Normal swings are your players natural swing. Use this swing most of the time.

Power swings add a little power, but at a massive cost to contact and vision. Don’t use power swing unless you are truly desperate. We’re talking 9th inning 2 out nothing to lose situations. Most of the time using a power swing is equivalent to throwing your at bat away.

Contact vs Vision: There is a lot of confusion about these two stats, especially when it comes to directional. Contact effects how large of a “sweet spot” a player has, while vision effects how well they move that sweet spot to adjust to pitches. This is all invisible to the player. In the simplest terms, it is easier for high contact players to get solid contact while it is easier for high vision players to find contact at all (this is a GROSS oversimplification and kind of the opposite of what actually happens, but I hope it helps, I’d need diagrams and visual aids to describe this properly). No player is perfect though, so even a 99 contact 99 vision player will make weak contact on a perfectly timed pitch right in their happy zone. Ratings only effect tendencies, they are not absolutes.

Use sliders: Don’t take it as a knock against the devs (or you), but the use of sliders will solve a lot of the frustrations you may have with the interface. I use sliders, and will post them on request (though I still consider them a WIP), but I highly recommend making your own slider set. A good way to do this is to go into batting practice and pick both a batter and a pitcher you are familiar with. Make sure the pitcher isn’t MVP quality. Keep jumping in and out of batting practice using those some two players and adjusting sliders until your results meet your expectations. There are a lot of slider options, but Human Solid Hits is likely the one you want to focus on.

Always pick an influence: That’s right, every single pitch you should actively pick an influence, even if you choose the no influence swing. There are benefits and costs to every influence, but the benefits almost always outweigh the costs. By actively choosing your swing influence, you are stacking the odds of good results in your favour. See details below. You must hold the stick all the way through your swing, though there is a “point of no return” as the ball comes in.

Learn your batters: Certain batters will get more of a benefit from certain swing influences than others. For example, pull hitters will get more of a benefit and less of the cost from picking a pull swing. A player’s hitting tendency can be found on their player card, but this info can sometimes be misleading, especially with switch hitters. Often, you’ll have to try different swing types for batters until you find what works best, and sometimes the situation or pitcher can change your approach (e.g. when using Buster Posey, I take a conservative balanced approach when facing righties, but an aggressive pull approach when facing lefties).
If a batter is slumping, it may be a good time to change your approach at the plate and see what it takes to bring him success.

Swing Influence

Pull Swing: This is achieved by moving the arrow inside, or towards your batter. So for a right handed batter, that would be towards left field. With a pull swing, your batter is trying to get slightly ahead of the pitch and generate power out of their core.

Pull swings will expand your timing window so it opens slightly earlier. They increase power at the cost of contact, and they pull your ideal pitch location slightly to the inside. They are also slightly harder to check swing on.

Pull swings are your power hitter’s bread and butter, and should be used by them often, especially when ahead in the count.

Push Swing: This is achieved by moving the arrow outside, or away from your batter. So for a right handed batter that would be towards right field. With a push swing your batter is trying to get slightly behind the pitch to generate better contact.

Push swings will expand your timing window so it closes slightly later. They increase contact at the cost of power, though they can still generate power, especially against hard throwing pitchers. They also push your ideal pitch location slightly outside, and can cause more bloops and odd fouls on pitches inside, especially when those pitches are belt level or above. They are also slightly easier to check swing on.

Push swings have a lot of uses, and can have different uses for different players. Balanced hitters can use them whenever behind, or when facing a fireballer. Push hitters want to use a push swing when ahead. Power hitters want to use a push swing when behind to work the count, gaining the benefit of that wider timing window to foul of pitches on the corners.

Up or “Scoop” swing: This is achieved by moving the arrow up. With a scoop swing, your player is trying to get under the ball to hit it up into the air, generating power out of their back, shoulders and arms.

Scoop swings add power at the cost of vision, and are good for situational hitting when trying to stay out of the double play or for adjusting to a pitcher who has a killer sinking pitch. They move your ideal pitch location slightly down (since you are trying to get under the ball) but will cause more popups and flyouts, especially on pitches high in the zone. They are also slightly harder to check swing on.

I usually avoid the scoop swing as I don’t like the loss of vision, and generally only use them for situational hitting, against good sinking pitches, or when I KNOW a pitch is going to be low. They are best used by power hitters. Leadoff or speed based batters should avoid them like the plague, though it’s still a better option than a power swing if you absolutely need a little more pop in your bat.

Down, “Attack”, or “Drive” swing: This is achieved by moving the arrow down. With a downward influence, your batter is ignoring power and “attacking” or “driving at” the ball. Bat on ball is the only goal here folks, and you’re basically foregoing all other concerns when you choose this influence.

Downward influence swings add vision at the cost of power. They are good for situational hitting, leadoff hitting, and speedy batters. They widen your ideal pitch location in all directions, but the cost to power is great. I have NEVER hit a homerun with this swing, even with guys who have got power. You’ll also get more grounders, but they are more likely to be solid grounders thanks to the increased vision. You are also less likely to hit popouts. It is also slightly easier to check swing.

This swing is ideal for speedy batters, especially when behind in the count. It’s also fantastic for situational hitting. You’ll want to avoid this swing with your power hitters, especially if they are slow, as the increased vision will produce more solid contact, and therefore more potential easy outs.

Angled or Combo swing: This is when you point the arrow at one of the corners. When you do this, you are effectively choosing both types of swings at the same time, gaining the benefits and costs of both. Effects do stack, though there does seem to be one exception. Choosing both push and down influence does not seem to stack the check swing buff, keeping it the same as if you had just one selected. However, choosing pull and up DOES seem to stack the check swing debuff.

No influence or "Keyhole" swing: This is when you don't choose a direction at all. No influence increases the impact of hot/cold zones for your hitter, and reduces the impact of vision, at the cost of a reduced timing window, especially for fouling off. There is also less hit variety when choosing this swing. Think of it as your batter just waiting on their pitch in their location. This swing is ideal for "Feast or Famine" type power hitters who have low vision.

Here are some fantastic queue cards provided by TripleCrown. While the interface is far more nuanced, it's a good reference for learning the potential benefits and costs of each swing type.

Working Counts, Player Archetypes and Batting Profiles

Working the count is always essential. I've found that the more of a pitcher's stuff a batter has seen the more likely they are to crush the ball as opposed to getting a bad result. Different player archetypes want to have different approaches at the plate.

This is an extension of what I said earlier about learning your players. This is a good starting point, but it's up to you to learn the quirks of the individual players and adjust. You are your own scout. Not every player fits their archetype, and getting out of slumps means mixing it up. For example, my leadoff guy is a speed archetype with a balanced hitting profile, yet he spent an entire season mostly pulling because that was what got results. When that stopped working, I switched back to a balanced approach and that brought his bat back this season.

A players batting profile can be found under their secondary positions on their player card. Just be warned, this can be deceptive, especially for switch hitters. Look at their hit chart. Does the batting profile say they are balanced but they seem to slightly favour left field? Odds are they are a pull hitter, but since they are switch hitting the results shows them to be balanced. There is also one batting profile that is very rare and odd, but it exists so I'll mention it. For example, let's say you see a lefty who prefers hits to right field but his next highest area on the hit chart is left field. You've got yourself a rare Push/Pull hybrid, who generates power out of their hips and bat speed and hits down the lines. Very rare and interesting, but I don't have much advice handling them since I've never had one on my team, only ever faced against them.

For the batter archetypes I'll assume they are balanced or fit their profile (power hitters tend to be pull hitters), since writing everything out for each individual batter type is freaking insane and I only want so many walls of text in this thread.

I will also assume no-one is on base and therefore there is no situational hitting happening.

I should also mention that vision is never a bad stat to have no matter the archetype. Being aggressive with bad vision isn't the worst thing in the world though, since you are more likely to swing and miss with such low vision and therefore still work the count a little.

The high vision Power Hitter

In general, you want to be pulling with your power hitters. You can also afford to be a little more aggressive with them. After all, when they get their pitch, you need to capitalize on it. If it's early in the count though, it still better be gift wrapped.

0-0 Natural Pull swing - I don't want to hear that any of you are scooping or angling on this count unless the pitcher is throwing a mean sinking pitch and has been pounding the bottom of the zone all game so far. Outside of that, you're insane to add the scoop (upward influence) into your swing.

0-1 You'll still want to natural pull - Obviously you don't want to swing away your chances but you also don't want to miss a good opportunity.

0-2 Contact Push swing - this is best for a power hitter if you want to foul off. You'll also be changing to a contact swing. 1-2 will be the same.

2-2 Natural Batters discretion - This is up to you. I personally like to go back to pull but I've worked a lot on my discipline (which I will talk about in another post) and trust myself to hold off on a bad pitch.

Any 3-? count Natural Pull or Natural angled pull/up - This is your count, you have the advantage. Just make sure you don't swing at something in the dirt. You might want to consider adding in the up influence, but I only do when I know the pitch is going to be low or I just have that gut feeling. Most of the time I just stick with a natural pull swing.

Side note: a 3-? count is also when you want to add your power swing in those truly desperate situations.

Speed Batter

I'm assuming you're not going to bunt for the AB in question. That's an entirely different subject.

0-0 Natural Balanced swing - What to I mean by balanced? I mean consider your hitters strengths and the speed the pitcher is throwing at. Likely this will mean a push swing, but like I said before, go with what works.

0-1 Natural Push swing - Some speed guys might still want to pull, but odds are you want to push at this point.

0-2 Contact "drive" (down) swing - Increase that vision and work the count. Since you're fast, you don't have to worry as much about grounders, as long as they are solid or have eyes. 1-2 is the same.

2-2 Natural Down swing - The downward influence is key here. It has the best chance of solid contact for any pitch location, making it difficult on the pitcher.

3-? Natural Balanced swing - You might want to consider throwing in a pull here. Very batter dependent though. Really this is the count you have the most freedom in, and it depends what results you are looking for. Looking for a walk? Maybe a push swing is best to give you that extra leeway to watch a pitch. Up to you and your gut.

Hybrid Threats

Speed, power, these guys have it all. With hybrids, it's up to you to combine whatever strategy works, though I would recommend favouring power over speed strategy.

Contact Hitters

Guys without power or speed, or perhaps a power hitter in facing a bad pitching matchup. Here you want to roughly follow the power hitter archetype, except more closely match up with whatever the players hitting profile is. So balanced hitters want to throw push swings in more early in the count to try and work it towards their favour, and push swingers just want to push swing all day every day.

I won't get into strategies in specific situations. I'd rather you request advice on a specific situation then I respond with an answer. Remember, the more details you provide (batting profile, attributes, pitcher's repertoire) the more specific my advice can get.

Low Vision Power Hitters

They play very similarly to high vision power hitters with one key difference, they don't want to influence at all when ahead in the count. In fact, any player who has a lot of hot zones and low vision wants to favour a no influence strategy.


Discipline is hard in Directional. After all, any pitch is a potential home run if you get the timing right, and everyone wants to hit. But hitting in directional is also like gambling, and if you want to come out ahead, you have to play the odds.

This is by far the hardest of the tricks I have to learn, mainly because most of the discipline has to come from you, the player. It took me years to learn discipline in this game, and I still struggle to master it every game. But with these tricks, hopefully your learning process won’t be as painful as mine.


Once again changing sliders can have a huge impact on you discipline. CPU pitchers are in the zone far too often, especially on lower difficulty levels. As I said earlier, I have my CPU strike frequency set at 2, which makes the pitcher aim for the corners more as opposed to meat-balling down the middle early in the count. You won’t be able to raise your discipline if you rarely see balls. You need to learn what a ball looks like out of a pitchers hand, and the subtle differences between a ball and a strike. That can only be learned with experience.

Good Takes

Something that I struggled with when I first got the game was swinging at every pitch in the zone. This is bad, especially in directional. You need to be taking quality hacks, especially if you choose to swing early in a count. Every pitch you see is an opportunity to learn that pitcher, and just because you spotted that the 2SFB coming in was going to hit the corner doesn’t mean it was a good time to swing.

Directional is all about pitch selection. Therefore you have to reward yourself for good takes. Don’t be down on yourself for taking a strike if the odds were it was going to be an easy groundout. Even taking a strikeout is preferable then hitting into a double play. Which leads me into my next topic…

Avoid the Low Ball

Obviously a pitch down the middle is ideal to swing at, but low pitches are the worst types to swing at for a lot of reasons. Low pitches are the hardest to identify, and trying to crush that low fastball only to find out it was a changeup in the dirt is mighty embarrassing. Very rare is the situation where taking a low pitch is a bad idea. So many low pitches that I thought were going to be strikes have ended up dropping out of the zone.

Any pitch on or near an edge should be taken, especially early in the count, but the low pitch is to be avoided whenever possible.

If a pitcher is giving you nothing but low pitches, it might be time to consider adding the up or “scoop” swing into your approach, but keep in mind the risks that come along with that decision.

Process vs Results

A lot of people focus on results, and that can definitely lead to bad hitting habits.

“I just hit an amazing homerun on that pitch above the strikezone.”

We’ve all done it, there is nothing to be ashamed of when you get a good result. What you need to realize is that was a bad pitch to swing at and the results were because of the batter at the plate, not your input. Let out a sigh, thank your batter, and move on.

“I did everything TheWarmWind told me to that at bat but all I got was a popout.”

It happens. I’m just trying to maximize your chances of a good result, but there is never a guarantee. If you did everything right, you just have to trust the process. I like to imagine that I’m in the dugout and I give the player a scolding for a pitch he should have crushed.

“Once again, I did everything right and all I got was a liner.”

This is good. A solid liner means both you and your batter saw the pitch well and timed it perfectly. Sometimes, you’re just unlucky and it’s right at someone.

“I got a blooper.”

You lucky dog.

My point is, if you focus too much on the results, it can lead to a negative downward spiral. Focus on the process and you’ll see those miracle late inning comebacks come alive*.

*Miracle late inning comebacks are not guaranteed.

Physical Feedback

I know it sounds crazy, but providing yourself with consistent physical feedback can help you condition yourself to be a better hitter. I’ll describe my system.

Whenever I do a good take, I pat my back.

Whenever I want to take a pitch and concentrate on learning the pitcher’s delivery and movement, I tap my shoulder.

Whenever I swing at a bad pitch (yes, this includes pitches in the zone, especially if they are early in the count) I flick my leg.

Re-enforcing the lesson with physical feedback can help a ton when trying to condition yourself. My personal discipline rose significantly once I started doing this. In fact, I would have never noticed the CPU pitching problem if I had never started doing this, because I was WAY too aggressive at the plate. Yes you too can become disciplined like I am.

Just make sure whatever your punishment feedback is, it isn’t something that can be damaging, especially when frustrated. Let’s just say I had to change my system to the way it is now because I realized how dangerous what I was doing was.

Be Zen

Sounds way too simple I know, but sometimes a pitcher was just too good. You were patient, you waited for your pitch, you adjusted when behind, but they just didn’t give you anything and that grounder was the best you could have possibly done. Tip your cap, move on. This game feeds on your frustration.

Ump make a bad call for the third strike? Part of the game. You did everything right.

Didn’t see a fastball right down the middle until it was too late. Learn from it. Remember the motion of that pitcher. Say to yourself: “Finally, so that’s what it looks like coming from him”. Letting any pitch you don’t recognize go is a good thing and a good habit to get into, no matter the result (remember, it’s about the process).

I know this section is a little less specific to Directional, but discipline is essential to directional hitting. The more your batter sees of a pitcher, the more likely they are to make solid contact. If you are early in the count, you have to be extremely discriminating. Take a deep breath and let it out. Press down to call for a timeout. Do whatever it takes to reset yourself, but don’t fall into the trap of overthinking and frustration.

Using Timing to Adjust to Pitches in Directional

I've talked about ideal pitch locations for swing types, but there are also ideal pitch locations for your timing. Timing is the ultimate way to adjust to different pitches as they come in, and while like everything else in Directional it's no guarantee, it's a powerful tool for you to utilize.

Think of the strike zone as a gradient, where the middle is the "hottest" zone and as you go further to the push or pull side things start to get cooler. There are many reason why the middle of the strike zone is so deadly to opposing pitchers. It's not only ideal for all swing types, but all timing types as well.

Slightly early, slightly late, and being right on the pitch are all good ways to produce a hit on this type of ball.

However, as the ball location moves away from the center, less timing is applicable. The closer it moves pull field side (closer to the batters body), the more you need your swing to be an early swing. The further push side (away from the body), the more you need the swing to be later. Think of it as a tightening of the timing window in that particular direction.

This is part of the reason why Pull swings pull the ideal pitch inside a little. Because it widens the timing window a little bit to the early side, it makes it easier to time those inside pitches you need to be early on. The same goes for the push swing, and how is pushes ideal pitch location slightly outside.

You can still push with a pull swing and pull with a push swing based on timing, but these swings are more difficult then if they had been matched ideally because they don't gain the timing window bonus. However, if you still manage to time your swing appropriately, your batter is still more likely to get solid contact, even more so than if you had chosen the swing type that was ideal for the pitch location.

Timing is what I consider one of the three pillars that form the foundation of Directional hitting (the others are Discipline and Influence) so knowing how to properly utilize it and adjust to pitches is key to finding success.

Scouting, Adjusting to Pitchers and Slumps


I know I've said it before but the post I made about Player archetypes is a starting point. It's up to you to figure out what works, even if it goes completely against the archetype. In game experience is THE MOST important resource for scouting your players, but batting tendency, player archetype, and Hot/Cold zones (in that order) can all be of help when trying to learn your players. I'm going to post images of a couple young players on my team, the archetypes they fall under and how I plan to adjust if they start to struggle. Keep in mind that this is from a carry over from 14, so attributes are a little inflated compared to the modern roster.

First up is Ken Pinckney. He definitely fits the Power Hitter profile, especially when facing right handed pitching. His card says he's a balanced hitter, but that hot cold chart plus my on field experience confirm that he wants to pull the ball. This is where he is getting the most solid contact vs righties, and as we know from previous posts we want to maximize that solid contact.

However, when we look at his left handed stats and zones, we see a possible push hitter. His power has dropped significantly, ruining a lot of the potential benefit of a pull swing, and his contact is actually higher. He still has some pop, but it's what I would call itinerant. Remember in most cases you want to enhance your players strengths. Right now I play a balanced approach at the plate vs lefties, but if he struggles the next step is to do a more push focused approach, and also add in some Drive swings.

Now there is Jeremy Funk, a man who I can only assume has a cousin named Jeremy Noise. This guy personifies the leadoff/speedy batter archetype. His hitter tendency claims he's a push hitter, and it's true through most of spring training and even to begin the year push hitting was his bread and butter. Then he started to struggle, especially vs righties, hitting a lot of easy popouts to left field even on ideal swings. Adding some pull swings when ahead helped a little, but the real problem was his vision. He was struggling to square up the ball, and his vision attribute is far from all-star quality. Even though I was using downward influence already with him in late counts, I started adding it earlier, and sure enough he seems to be righting the ship. He has the speed to be able to rely on a Drive swing, so I can stick with this strategy even after his bat comes alive again.

Fast Adjustments vs Slow Adjustments

There are two types of adjustments you want to make.

One is where you adjust to a pitcher. My strategies up until now will help you overall, but won't help you in that one game where the pitcher is just humiliating your team. If you need to adjust to a particular pitcher it needs to happen ASAP. These adjustments are temporary and should be thrown away as soon as the pitcher changes.

Pitchers with nasty sinking pitches that keep pounding the bottom of the strike zone? I lick my chops when they appear now, because that's when I introduce my scoop swing (upwards influence).

Pitcher got a deceptive combo that is keeping your players off balance and producing a ton of pop/flyouts? Try doing a drive swing (downward influence) more often to try and increase solid contact while also making it easier to check swing to try and and force a few more baserunners.

Just can't catch up to that fireballer? Throw a few more push swings in to give yourself that extra fraction of a second timing window. A downward influence wouldn't hurt either if you're struggling to make contact.

Sometimes you just have to go full bore and do a pull/scoop hybrid though. Desperate times do call for desperate measures.

Meanwhile adjusting to slumps should happen slowly.

Slumps will happen to all of your players, it's as inevitable as death and taxes. The key is to recognize the difference between your average slump and one that calls for an adjustment in batting approach. Generally, you're looking for patterns that last for more than two weeks, though I usually wait at least three.

Things to look for: Consistently weak contact. Awkward looking swings. An increase in swings and misses. Month long power drought (power hitters only).

Things that are not a Slump: Consistent bad luck. If they are hitting the ball hard they are not slumping, just unlucky. Decreasing average with an increasing walk rate. One bad game (no matter how awful it was).

How much you want to stick with your changes depends on the batter. If they are a pull hitting power hitter, odds are you want to go back to a standard approach once they get out of their funk. However, a more balanced hitter may want to keep the changes you've made. Like I said before, it's a good idea to stick with what works.

Contact vs Vision Expanded, and why Vision is the most important Attribute

Contact is easy to describe in Directional. It combines with the opposing pitchers H/9 in order to determine the size of a players sweet spot.

Keep in mind that in directional, the PCI that shows up in the swing analysis popup is not your sweet spot. It's meant to give you a general idea of your batters total plate coverage. Their sweet spot is smaller and invisible to you in this mode.

Meanwhile, vision accomplishes two things in Directional.

First of all, it determines how accurately your batter moves that sweet spot around. Imagine if you are zone hitting, moving the PCI around yourself to follow the pitch and put your bat on the ball. When you choose the directional interface, you are basically handing off this task to your batters vision attribute.

Secondly, vision determines how likely it is for your batter to get any contact at all on balls the sweet spot misses. Think of it as a sort of grey area surrounding your batters sweet spot, where contact will still occur, it will just be weak, resulting in fouls, popups, choppers, etc. Obviously having a better chance to put the bat on the ball has massive advantages, especially when trying to work the count back in your favour, but it has a few disadvantages too. Sometimes it's actually better to swing and miss then get contact.

So, because vision is responsible for moving that sweet spot around, it not only plays a major factor in achieving solid contact, but is the ONLY stat helping you get any form of contact. Obviously a higher contact stat will help, as it makes the sweet spot bigger and therefore more forgiving to your vision attribute's mistakes, but vision is the undisputed king of directional hitting.

The Fallacy of following the Pitch

I've noticed quite a few people in this thread convinced that they need to follow the pitch and adjust as the ball is coming in. This is a fallacy and a trap in Directional hitting.

There have been a lot of debates over what the most realistic batting interface in the show is. Directional? Zone? Analog? They all have their merits and drawbacks.

I would argue that the most realistic hitting interface would be one that combines all three. Analog allows for more accurate swing speed and check swings. Zone makes following the pitch and ensuring good contact manual. And directional allows granular control over the approach and type of swing the batter is going to take. Need to shorten up and focus on contact? Then a push/down hybrid swing might be in order.

Ideally, this control method would be played with a custom controller that had a third control stick taking up half of where the touchpad is. The stick would shift and click into place like a gear shifter, allowing you to set your approach. Then you would use the left stick to follow the pitch and the right stick to control bat speed (heck a trackball might be in order).

Your left stick, the element that is zone hitting, is what's responsible for following the pitch and ensuring solid contact.

Would it be possible to change your approach at the plate as you saw the pitch coming in? Absolutely, but bloody difficult, just like asking a batter to shift their body weight and approach mid pitch would be in real life.

Directional is about having granular control over your approach at the plate, and their is good reason why shifting the approach mid-pitch is a bad idea. You're not following the pitch in, you've handed that duty off to the vision attribute and your timing. Remember timing now has an impact on vision thanks to the precision engine, and THAT'S how you adjust to a pitch in directional.

Unexpected Hits and How Directional Interacts with the new Ball Physics

I've talked about ideal pitch locations at great length, and I've done so to try and maximize your success (and maybe win you a few deeper counts ), but you may have noticed that you can still get hits outside of your ideal pitch locations. Being slightly late on a ball towards the outside when pulling can still smack you a solid opposite field homerun. Being slightly early on a ball inside when pushing can still earn you a solid pull field hit. Timing is by far the most important factor in terms of where the ball goes.

It's important to choose a pull swing when you want to pull because of that earlier opening of the timing window. Here's the thing though: When pushing, the timing window opens up just as early as if you chose no influence at all.
When pulling, it closes at the same time as if you had chosen no influence. The only consequence to choosing a push or pull swing are the debuffs, but like I said in the OP the buffs are usually larger that the debuffs. When pushing, you're not eliminating the pull swing, you're just making it slightly more difficult to time, though just as easy as if you had no influence. You're also taking away a little power, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of a homerun, especially if you got a real slugger at the plate.

Good timing can do a lot to adjust for pitches outside the ideal pitch location for your chosen swing. Your still looking for pitches in your ideal location, because that's where you have the most leeway, the most bonuses, and therefore the most likely success. But it is still possible to adjust to pitches, and that is where perfect timing pays off.

The new ball physics engine has added an interesting wrinkle into directional hitting, and to be honest I'm still in the process of figuring it out. I'll tell you what I know so far though, and that is that high torque swings, like a pull or scoop swing, have a tendency to put more spin on the ball. Balls that would have gone straight as an arrow when pushing are interesting looping liners to the opposite field when pulling. Downward influence can create some interesting spin as well, especially when combined with a push, making it harder for infielders to read where it is going to hop. Not sure how it can be utilized yet but interesting stuff.

How to Hold the Controller, and some Other, Wilder Tips and Theories

The Controller

Before I start I should mention that I use buttons to swing. I would love it if someone posted some tips for analog (I've tried it with middling success) as well/

The first and most important thing to know is you need to be holding the stick in your chosen direction all the way through your swing. This isn't a select and forget process, the benefits of directional only apply when are holding the stick. I know I mentioned this in the OP but it's worth re-iterating.

Second, don't hold your thumb directly over the x button (or o or square, whatever swing type you choose). Instead hold your thumb a good 3 cm above the button (I think that's around an inch, sorry, Canadian here). Make sure to keep it relaxed, you don't want to be tense when the pitch comes in, otherwise you'll still slam down on that button involuntarily.

This gives you some leeway to pull back your body when your brain is screaming no. It still happens, I still sometimes take involuntary hacks at pitches I know are bad because my body just reacts, but using this technique has reduced my accidental swings significantly.

Wild Tips and Theories

I'm going to rate these theories from 0 to 10, where 10 is something that could/would have been talked about earlier and 0 is something that's entirely superstition and in my head.

7 - I think the down or drive influence actually opens up the timing window in both directions. Moving to a hybrid down/pull or push just seems to shift the timing window earlier or later, but perhaps this stacks as well.

9 - A straight up influence is the worst choice, and should be avoided almost as much as the power swing (pressing square).

10 - Edwin Encarnarcion should be pulling in every count except 0-2 and 1-2. This is true of all extreme pull hitters, and even some normal pull hitters. He should push in those 0-2 and 1-2 counts with the express purpose of fouling off.

1 - Doing a practice swing before the pitcher sets gives the batter a boost of vision.

3 - Asking for time (pressing down of the d pad) at a crucial time can give your batter a buff and the pitcher a debuff.

6 - when in doubt, favour pull. It's always done right by me.

9 - no matter your sliders, settings, or swing selection there are times where your batter is determined to follow through on a swing, even if the pressure on the button was metaphorically equal to butterfly wings.

10 - the more your batters see of a pitcher, the better vision they have. This is in part true because as a pitcher tires their K/9 (the stat that battles vision) gets debuffed. It's also true within the context of a single at bat though. So the more pitches you take the better your batter, the more you improve your chances of solid contact. A small but important buff.

8 - Meanwhile swings that you mistime or just plain swing and miss early in the count will add a vision debuff.

4 - Influencing effects bunting as well (NL batters pls confirm).

0 - This game hates me.

0 - This game loves me.

Errors and Omissions

Because I'm to lazy to edit.

- The down influence does not have a greater impact on power. It has the same negative impact that a push swing does. I have hit plenty of homeruns with a down influence, especially the down/pull hybrid swing.

- The Down/Push hybrid swing does stack the check swing buff.

- Push and Pull swings do not open up the timing window, at least not in a literal sense. What they do is increase the odds of good contact on earlier or later timings. Remember good contact does not necessarily mean a hit, or even that the ball will be in play.
For example: When pick no influence, a batters odds of contact might look something like this (keep in mind this is just an example, batters odds change drastically depending on the pitcher they are facing, their vision, their contact, and various other factors)

Very Early: 0% chance of good contact, 0% chance of any contact
Early: 15% chance of good contact, 30% chance of any contact
Just Early: 25% chance of good contact, 50% chance of any contact
Good: 80% chance of good contact, 95% chance of any contact
Just Late: 25% chance of good contact, 50% chance of any contact
Late: 15% chance of good contact, 30% chance of any contact
Very Late: 0% chance of good contact, 0% chance of any contact

Now when that same batter pulls, their odds might look more like this:

Very Early: 10% chance of good contact, 40% chance of any contact
Early: 35% chance of good contact, 60% chance of any contact
Just Early: 50% chance of good contact, 75% chance of any contact
Good: 70% chance of good contact, 85% chance of any contact
Just Late: 25% chance of good contact, 50% chance of any contact
Late: 15% chance of good contact, 30% chance of any contact
Very Late: 0% chance of good contact, 0% chance of any contact

Their chances of contact are lower on good timing, but overall they have a much better chance at getting contact. The timing window is technically the same, but effectively, it has opened up.

Push has the same effect in the opposite direction.

- Discipline battles a batter's own power. So a batter with 63 discipline and 23 power will have a relatively easy time check swinging, while a batter with 63 discipline and 93 power will have a tough time checking their swing.

Changes in 19

In 19, the hitting engine had some updates, the most important of which is the increased importance of the contact attribute. While power still controls bat exit velocity ceilings, contact is now in control of bat exit velocity floors.

In other words, a player with high power but low contact will hit more homeruns, but also more dribblers.

Contact also has pulled some of the importance of vision away. Contact and vision now are equal factors when determining the quality of launch angles when you use an influence, and when using the no influence swing vision basically isn't a factor anymore.

The upside of all of this is that the pull swing has been nerfed compared to previous iterations of The Show, and the up swing has been buffed in comparison. It isn't enough of a change for a player to change their approach for most batters, especially if they are still finding success, but it's important to know that the up swing isn't a throwaway option anymore. It can help get the sac fly, stay out of that double play, or keep away from a shifted infield.

Vision has lost a lot of it's influence on ball trajectory, but it still a very important attribute in directional hitting. It seems to have even more of an impact on the timing window in 19, making the down swing just as powerful (if not more powerful) as it was in previous iterations.

Last edited by TheWarmWind; 08-06-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:24 PM   #2
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

Hey guys OP here with another disclaimer: Remember that the influences create tendencies, not absolutes. You can still get a solid opposite field hit with slightly late timing when influencing to pull. You are just less likely to get that hit then if you were pushing.

Last edited by TheWarmWind; 04-25-2017 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:31 PM   #3
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

nice write up, im a directional user as well and this was helpful. looking forward to following this discussion.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

great work.

can you overachieve with a bad team with these settings?

also do you have any fielding tips?
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

Originally Posted by loso_34
great work.

can you overachieve with a bad team with these settings?

also do you have any fielding tips?
Depends on your sliders and difficulty settings. MLB the show really is a "set your own difficulty" type game, you're given a lot of freedom.

As for fielding, I'm still working it out. I've been pretty good at fielding in the past but this year seems a lot has changed. Check out the teach me/strategies thread for what I know: http://www.operationsports.com/forum...-thread-3.html
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Old 04-29-2017, 05:17 PM   #6
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

good stuff here. I'm a hundred percent in the directional category.
but I have never gotten my hiiting down to a science like I have with pitching, which is where I win (and lose) most of my games.
what always seems to stifle my run production is not knowing whats ''supposed'' to happen when swing early or late at inside pitches and outside pitches. I say ''supposed' because I know anything can happen, but what should I normally expect, under these scenarios:
  • late swing, outside pitch, pulling the ball
  • late swing, inside pitch, pulling the ball
  • late swing, outside pitch, pushing the ball
  • late swing, inside pitch, pushing the ball
  • early swing, inside pitch, pulling the ball
  • early swing, inside pitch, pushing the ball
  • early swing, outside pitch, pulling the ball
  • early swing, outside pitch, pushing the ball
all these are normal X swings
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

Does swing influence change based on the camera angle? If my batter bats from the right side of the plate and I play on broadcast view (behind pitcher), will influencing my batter to pull the ball be direction towards left field (direction right instead of left)? or does the controls always think you're batting from behind the plate.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:23 AM   #8
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Re: Directional Hitting Guide

Thanks a ton for this. I only use directional hitting and this has been awesome. Can't wait to use this in my next game

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