MLB The Show 21: Complete Batting Controls and Tips for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S

This is your guide to the multiple hitting settings, how to bat with each, and tips to make you a Silver Slugger-caliber batter.


Hitting in The Show 21, like in real life, is difficult and filled with randomness. A scorching liner may be an out, while a weak flare may end up a hit.

To help you get a good grip on the virtual bat, below, you will find the controls for PlayStation and Xbox consoles.


Note that the left and right joysticks are denoted as L and R, and pushing on either will be marked as L3 and R3. Any action not listed in another section means that the same button rules apply from a previous section.

Zone and Directional Hitting Controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Move Plate Coverage Indicator (Zone): Left Analog
  • Direction and Fly/Groundball (Directional): Left Analog
  • Contact Swing: O
  • Normal Swing: X
  • Power Swing: Square
  • Check Swing: Release
  • Sacrifice Bunt (Late): Triangle (hold)
  • Drag Bunt (Early): Triangle (hold)
  • Influence Bunt Direction: R→ or R←

Pure Analog Hitting Controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Select Contact/Power Swing (Before Stride): O / Square
  • Begin Stride (if enabled): R↓
  • Normal Swing: R↑
  • Contact Swing: R→
  • Power Swing: R←
  • Check Swing: Release

Pre-Pitch Hitting Controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Guess Pitch (if enabled): R2 + Pitch
  • Guess Pitch Location (if enabled): R2 + Left Analog
  • View Defense and Ratings: R3
  • Quick Menu: D-Pad↑
  • Pitcher Attributes/Player Quirks: D-Pad←
  • Pitching/Batting Breakdown: D-Pad→
  • Call Timeout: D-Pad ↓

Zone and Directional Hitting Controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Move Plate Coverage Indicator (Zone): Left Analog
  • Direction and Fly/Groundball (Directional): Left Analog
  • Contact Swing: B
  • Normal Swing: A
  • Power Swing: X
  • Check Swing: Release
  • Sacrifice Bunt (Late): Y (hold)
  • Drag Bunt (Early): Y (hold)
  • Influence Bunt Direction: R→ or R←

Pure Analog Hitting Controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Select Contact/Power Swing (Before Stride): B / X
  • Begin Stride (if enabled): R↓
  • Normal Swing: R↑
  • Contact Swing: R→
  • Power Swing: R←
  • Check Swing: Release

Pre-Pitch Hitting Controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Guess Pitch (if enabled): RT + Pitch
  • Guess Pitch Location (if enabled): RT + Left Analog
  • View Defense and Ratings: R3
  • Quick Menu: D-Pad↑
  • Pitcher Attributes/Player Quirks: D-Pad←
  • Pitching/Batting Breakdown: D-Pad→
  • Call Timeout: D-Pad ↓

How to use each hitting setting

Directional is the simplest batting setting. You merely use L to influence the direction and fly or groundball, as well as press the button for whichever swing you would like (Regular, Contact, Power).

Pure Analog is tricky as it requires you to move R down and up in time with your stride and the pitch to make contact. If enabled, you will have to begin your stride before you can swing. If you want a Power Swing, then hit Square/X before the pitch and your stride. For Contact Swing, select Circle/B. It will default to a Normal Swing. Note that you will have to flick R to the right (Contact), left (Power), or up (Normal), depending on the type of swing chosen.

The first two settings, as shown in the picture, do not have anything covering the plate and strike zone. It is blank.


Zone Hitting requires you to utilize the Plate Coverage Indicator as your batting eye. If you make contact with the ball within the PCI, you should put the ball in play. You move the PCI with L and press the button of your desired swing.

Tips for hitting in MLB The Show 21

1. Find the hitting controls that best suit you

Some players like timing their swing with a batter’s stride and opt for Pure Analog. Beginners to baseball and The Show are more likely to choose Directional. Finally, Zone tends to be the most challenging.

2. Understand stances and strides if using Pure Analog

When using Pure Analog, it will be important to understand each batter’s stances and strides. Some, like Will Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have a high leg kick, while others, like Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, have a little leg kick or don’t have one at all. Mistiming your stride can throw off your swing timing. Also, be prepared for any slide-step pitches if a speedy runner is on first base. If timing the leg kick is too much of a challenge, you can turn that part off and only flick R for the swing.


3. Not every intended hit will go your way with Directional

With Directionalhitting, the most important thing to consider is that, just because you influenced a flyball to the pull side, it doesn’tmean that it will happen. A confluence of directional influence, swing time, pitch location, batter ratings, and pitcher ratings will determine if you successfully hit a flyball to the pull side, for example. A pitch low and away is far less likely to be a flyball to the pull side of your hitter, but not so with a pitch that is over the plate or inside.

4. Perfect your swing timing when Zone hitting

For Zone hitting, your aim will be to make a swing with “Perfect” swing timing on one of the three circular dots in the photo (you can change the appearance in the settings). These dots represent a Perfect Grounder (smallest circle), Perfect Liner (medium circle), and Perfect Flyball (largest circle). Not all players will have the same order of circles. Depending on their swing (if it’s more uppercut, for example), Perfect Liner could be on top with Perfect Flyball in the middle (as pictured with Mike Yastrzemski).

5. Learn how to bunt

To bunt, first influence the direction of your bunt with R. Then, for a sacrifice bunt, hold Triangle/Y before the pitch. You can pull back by releasing the button if the pitch is going to be a ball. For a drag bunt, hold Triangle/Y after the pitch.

6. Utilize the timing breakdown

After each swing, you will see a breakdown of your timing, contact, and exit velocity – use this to your advantage. If you realize that you are early on a fastball, adjust your timing a tad slower for that and even more for the off-speed and breaking pitches. If you are behind, do the opposite.

7. Use each designated hitters’ optimum swing

Further, while most hitters will be designated as a “Balanced” hitter, there are still those designated as either “Contact” or “Power” hitters. You should always use Normal Swings for “Balanced” hitters, Contact Swings for “Contact” hitters, and Power Swings for “Power” hitters. The only exception is with two strikes, at which point, you should always use a Contact Swing – unless you have Guess Pitch enabled and guess right. Avoid striking out as much as possible.

By utilizing the swing type associated with their designation, you will be maximizing the hitting potential of your lineup. For example, if you have a “Power” hitter whose Contact L and Contact R ratings are 40 or below, you are setting your hitter up to fail. The same goes for a “Contact” hitter with Power L and Power R ratings of the same.

8. Always check on the defense

Lastly, use the R3 pre-pitch command to check shifts, defensive positioning, and defensive ratings. If you notice an overshift to your pull side, try laying down a bunt to the push side. If using Directional hitting, aim for the push side for what should be an easy double. If the third baseman is playing back and your batter has a Speed rating of at least 65, try to lay down a drag bunt. If you notice certain fielders have poor fielding or throwing ratings, do your best to hit the ball to them.

9. Challenge yourself more

The best piece of advice: practice on harder difficulty levels. The Show 21 has an extensive Practice mode. You will become very frustrated, but it will accelerate your learning process to make you much better at the game.

With the controls and tips now in your knowledge bank, go break some records and fill a lineup of Silver Sluggers in MLB The Show 21.


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Bruce L

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