Road to the Show, the career mode for MLB The Show 21, readily allows you to mimic current and former players’ batting stances. The Batting Stance Creator also allows you to tweak existing stances or create your own.
This article will identify eight batting stances from the Current Players listing in the game, detailing why each was chosen and highlighting any unique aspects of each stance.
It is important to note that many players now, thanks to the professionalization of amateur and youth baseball, have similar batting stances in the basics: slightly bent knees, bat across the shoulder or raised, elbows bent, legs slightly open. However, there are still unique batting stances to be found in MLB.
1. Shohei Ohtani: Los Angeles Angels (L)
The most electrifying player in Major League Baseball in some time, Shohei Ohtani has been a revelation both on the mound and in the batter’s box. The sound of the ball when Ohtani makes contact with the barrel sounds like a firecracker.
His stance just looks dignified and confident. His elbows are bent naturally, bat held ready to unleash. There is very little movement in the box, and the leg kick is almost non-existent. He really just whips his hips around so quickly and fluidly to generate his swing. When he uppercuts a ball, it is about as smooth a swing as you will see.
The fact that he is able to generate so much power and hard contact with such a minimalist swing (in terms of windup to follow through) is astounding. It is just one reason as to why he’s such a marvel on the field. His pitching form is also fun.
2. Jose Trevino: Texas Rangers (R)
Jose Trevino’s stance is one for the unique column. Not only does he hold the bat out, but he also raises it up and down in irregular intervals. The barrel of the bat can be as high as his shoulders and as low as his belt line – the bat creates a 90-degree angle when it is held out at his belt line!
As the pitcher begins his windup, Trevino will raise the bat to his shoulder in preparation for a swing. There is a lot of movement, though, so if that throws off your timing, keep this in mind.
If you want a stance for your player that stands out (and remember, you can still edit the stance), this is one of those stances that could really set your player apart (except when you play Trevino’s Texas Rangers).
3. Willians Astudillo: Minnesota Twins (R)
No, that is not Trevino again, it’s Willians Astudillo, affectionately known as “La Tortuga” or “The Turtle.” He took the baseball world by storm in his rookie season with his Bartolo Colón-like body shape, good bat-to-ball skill, and a hustle that made him rounding the bases must-see television.
Unlike Trevino, Astudillo does not move the bat up and down. Instead, he drops the bat as such, then as the pitcher is winding up, he raises the bat to his shoulder in a more traditional sense as he loads for his swing. It has led to some memorable and long home runs.
There are few better ways to stamp your place in (virtual) baseball history than by having the batting stance of such an enigmatic player.
4. Aristides Aquino: Cincinnati Reds (R)
One of the seemingly more common open batting stances in MLB today, Aristides Aquino is a power hitter who uses an open stance to load his power for his swing.
Just in case you’re not familiar with the term: an open stance is where the front leg is spaced apart wide, opening up the front of the body to the third-base side (for righties) or the first base side (for lefties). It generally leads to pulling the ball more, which means most open stance batters face a shift with three infielders to their pull side (left side for righties, right side for lefties).
Aquino stands so open that he’s nearly facing the pitcher, and then, when the pitcher begins their windup, he brings his front leg back to a more parallel position with his back leg (but the foot does not land until he swings) and then unleashes with a rotation of the hips. He moves little until the pitcher’s windup.
Just to give you an idea of how open his stance is, the toes of his left foot are on the chalk of the outside of the batter’s box.
5. Yadier Molina (2012): St. Louis Cardinals (R)
Arguably the greatest catcher of his generation (Buster Posey is right with him), Yadier Molina went from a light-hitting catcher known for his defense to a well-rounded offensive threat that saw his defensive skills diminish only minimally. Part of his offensive turnaround had to do with his stance switch.
Molina has an easy stance, like Nelson Cruz. Molina does not move too much, mostly in his hands and arms that slightly rotate the bat on his shoulder. He then has an average leg kick that leads into a pretty smooth swing for a right-handed batter.
This is also one of those stances that just exudes confidence.
6. Trevor Story: Colorado Rockies (R)
A slightly open stance, Trevor Story’s is a rare one in that the bat is pointed downwards across his shoulder, rather than across the shoulder or elevated.
Also, notice how he stays on his toes on his front foot. As he swings, he glides that front foot across about a foot off of the ground as he loads for his swing. That means that it has a minimal leg kick that allows for more time to make contact with a pitch.
As the pitcher enters their windup, Story raises the bat to a more parallel level above his shoulder as he glides that foot across. His stance seems to be one that is easily timed, particularly if you play on Pure Analog with Stride-and-Flick for batting.
7. Fernando Tatis Jr: San Diego Padres (R)
The cover athlete for this year’s game, Tatis Jr.’s stance is just an easy-going stance. It has all of the commonalities that you’ll see with many stances today: knees slightly bent, elbows set at 90 degrees, bat parallel to the shoulder, legs slightly open.
He moves the bat slightly as he waits. When the pitcher enters their windup, he raises his front foot slightly onto their toes and then efficiently uncorks his swings, using the rotation of his hips to drive his power. Most stances in the game follow the base laid out with Tatis Jr. in the first paragraph, and while that is fine, it also isn’t as fun.
What isfun is that if you choose Tatis Jr.’s stance and leave his no-doubt home run animations as default, you’ll be treated to his iconic bat flip from his home run against the St. Louis Cardinals from last October.
8. Giancarlo Stanton: New York Yankees (R)
Giancarlo Stanton is included for one reason: he has one of the few closed stances in MLB.
A closed stance is the opposite of an open stance, where the front leg is pointed inward toward the plate. For right-handed batters, this means that they are slightly facing the first base side. For left-handed batters, this means that they are slightly facing the third base side. This usually means that the hitter is a push hitter, hitting it the opposite way more often. However, Stanton usually still has an over-shift to his pull side even with his closed stance.
Stanton’s closed stance is not as extreme in real life as it is in The Show 21; his foot actually steps over the chalk of the batter’s box nearest home plate in the game.
Stanton also moves minimally, mostly just readying his hands and the bat. He rarely uses a leg kick, which makes it that much more astounding that he routinely hits homers of beyond 400 feet. He also maintains a two-handed swing, sacrificing the amount of home plate that he can cover for power.
The uniqueness is in the stance, and the appeal is that Stanton is a premier power-hitter in the game, a former Most Valuable Player, and so emulating that may be to your benefit.
*Note: The player shown in the images above is a switch hitter, but the stances were shown from the right side. Some of the players listed in this series bat from the left side, so handedness will be listed in parentheses.
Your player has a plethora of options to choose from for a batting stance, but these are the stances that seem to be the most unique among current players. Remember, you can edit these stances or make your own stance entirely!