Strategy Guide
MLB '08: The Show Quick Tips

Various representatives from SCEA have answered some questions on our forums. For those of you wanting some specifics on MLB 08: The Show I recommend you check this article out. Some of the topics include: whether to use guess pitch or not; what pitching meter to use and how the difficulty levels play; and much much more. SCEA has also been taking questions and we are compiling the answers that have been provided to get a more complete story for the beginning of next week, so expect even more information coming out of the forums very soon!

This will be old hat for those of you that already caught it but for those of you that missed the thread in the forums, here are some highlights from his notes he passed along.

Classic vs. Meter Pitching

Both types of pitching meters produce consistent results when used by a skilled player. However, some players are better at one or the other (strategy vs. execution skill). Holding X down longer on classic will trade some accuracy for power.

Difficulty Information

Veteran: Considered the easy mode and best suited for beginners. It is also a good place to play for players who do not want tan All-Star Level Challenge which means losing about half of the time for average players.

All-Star: Best for most non-beginners. If you need handicapped sliders to play on Hall of Fame, it's probably best to just play on All-Star. You will see a more realistic game on All-Star in that case.

Hall of Fame
: To play this mode and win even half the time, you have to be better than 90% of players. In SCEA's words, "HOF is for the best player out of 10, on OS that might be the best out of five players." Difference of HOF difficulty from All-Star is the actual difficulty, not AI intelligence.

Guess vs. No-Guess The Pitch

It does not matter whether you play with the feature or not, the game is designed for either case. You can also just do one or the other in terms of guess pitch type or guess zone. Guess Pitch helps beginners and those who are stronger at strategy than reaction, but it's balanced for a skilled user. The AI on veteran thinks like an intermediate-beginner.

Modes of Guessing

Here's the quote from SCEA on how the modes of guess pitch work: "The modes of guess pitch are: New, Classic 1/4, Classic 1/6, No Feedback, and Off. Within guess pitch you can guess both type and zone, only type or zone, or neither. "New" guess pitch tells you if you guessed location correct, without showing you the location. Classic 1/4 shows you the location. Classic 1/6 is the same but your guesses cover 1/6 of the strike zone. No feedback never tells you if you guessed correct. The bonuses/penalties are carefully tuned differently for every combination of usage and result (yes every combo), and each detail has been retuned from last year (mainly for realism/balance/challenge). Note that using the L stick you can always manually guess pitch (the old fashioned way in real life) but the full explanation is too large for the space I have."

Learn to Work the Count

The header says it all, learn to be able to lay off off-speed pitches early in the count. Before strike two you should only swing at good pitches because chances are even if a bad pitch is a strike before strike two, you will get a better pitch in the next 2-3 pitches. You also have to learn to time pitches based on location. So you have to swing a bit earlier on inside pitches and a bit later on outside pitches to put them into play.

Learn to Own the Plate

Here's another full quote from SCEA: "When you've gotten the hang of facing pitches down the middle, learn to use the L stick to cover the plate better. This is more important on higher difficulties and is not necessary for beginners. Even though pitches down the middle are the best to time/cover, the pitcher is trying to pitch around you. If you cover 2/3 of the SZ with the L stick (ignoring 3 other zones), you can improve your pitch recognition (ball/strike location, even guess pitch type) and narrow down your timing window (if looking in/out). This is manual guess pitch, which has been around a hundred years in baseball."

Use Power Swings In a Hitters Count

Using the power swing button is best when you are using it in a 2-0 or 3-0 type of count. SCEA brings up the point that on some teams and in some situations some batters aren't even allowed to swing on those counts. On power swings you get a moderate power bonus, you are fully committed to swinging and your timing window is a bit harder. You also can't make adjustments that easy (chasing pitches outside of the zone). SCEA recommends if you don't know what you are doing, you are better off not power swinging in the long run.

Pull/Push Hitting

SCEA puts it best: "Player strategy has a big influence on results. For example, batting opposite field like Derek Jeter or Ichiro and gaining contact at the cost of power. These players will tend to do that naturally, but you can choose to shift every player in that direction to some degree by choice. By swinging later on pitches, you gain pitch recognition (type and location) at the cost of some power (pushing vs. pulling). Power strategies work the other way and require excellent pitch recognition without hesitation. The most powerful swing requires you to be slightly early (P for perfect in pitcher/batter analysis) - obviously trajectory plays a dominant factor. In the game, contact strategies tend to be optimal for contact hitters, and power strategies tend to be optimal for power hitters. But it's a minor factor that only matters in HoF level play, because there are much more important skills to focus on like taking pitches well."

Strategic Bias

SCEA points out that players who try biased strategies will get biased results within the game. Your results will only be realistic if you play a realistic game.

Statistical Streaks and Anomalies

SCEA talked about how some players will get weird results: "There are 30 teams in the MLB, but perhaps a million people who will play the game. Every person will get different results and different streaks. Let's take the Red Sox in real life and their first 5 games of 2007 (April 2nd-7th). They hit 1 HR out of 5 games. This isn't enough to draw any broad conclusions about MLB or the Red Sox's power. If I pick another team, there will be another stat I can focus on. If 1 team out of 30 had this kind of streak, imagine the variety in a million people. I've found that it takes 10-20 games before most stats will stabalize, and in multiple runs there will eventually be a set of 10-20 games that strays from the trend. You can see this in a good/bad month for a team. In internal development, I never hear anything from the 90% of people getting expected results, just the 10% who get the unexpected."

Be sure to check out the rest of the thread for more info and to ask your questions!