MLB The Show 21: Complete Pitching Controls and Tips

This is your guide to the various pitching settings and controls, with tips to help make you a Cy Young winner.


As usual, San Diego Studio tweaked the pitching mechanics a bit by introducing Pinpoint Pitching to reflect the endeavor more realistically. Depending on your chosen controls setting, you may find pitching easier than hitting in MLB The Show 21.

Below, you will find all of the pitching controls that you need to know for PlayStation and Xbox controls, as well as several useful tips to get you going.


In this The Show 21 pitching controls guide, the Left and Right joysticks are denoted as L and R, and pushing on either will be marked as L3 and R3.

Classic and Pulse Pitching controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Select Pitch: X, Circle, Triangle, Square, R1
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Pitch: X

Meter Pitching controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Select Pitch: X, Circle, Triangle, Square, R1
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Begin Pitch: X
  • Pitch Power: X (at top of meter)
  • Pitch Accuracy: X (at yellow line)

Pinpoint Pitching controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Select Pitch: X, Circle, Triangle, Square, R1
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Pitch: Right Analog (follow gesture)

Pure Analog Pitching controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Select Pitch: X, Circle, Triangle, Square, R1
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Begin Pitch: R(downwards) (hold until yellow line)
  • Release Pitch Accuracy/Velocity: R(upwards) (direction of pitch location)

Miscellaneous Pitching controls for PS4 and PS5

  • Request Catcher’s Call: R2
  • Pitch History: R2 (hold)
  • Look at Runner: L2 (hold)
  • Deceptive Pickoff: L2 (hold) + Base Button
  • Quick Pickoff: L2 + Base Button
  • Slide Step: L2 + X
  • Pitchout: L1 + X (after pitch selection)
  • Intentional Walk: L1 + Circle (after pitch selection)
  • Step Off Mound: L1
  • View Defensive Positioning: R3
  • Quick Menu: D-Pad(upwards)
  • Pitcher/Batter Attributes/Quirks: D-Pad(left)
  • Pitching/Batting Breakdown: D-Pad(right)

Classic and Pulse Pitching controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Select Pitch: A, B, Y, X, RB
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Pitch: A

Meter Pitching Controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Select Pitch: A, B, Y, X, RB
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Begin Pitch: A
  • Pitch Power: A (at top of meter)
  • Pitch Accuracy: A (at yellow line)

Pinpoint Pitching controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Select Pitch: A, B, Y, X, RB
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Pitch: Right Analog (follow gesture)

Pure Analog Pitching controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Select Pitch: A, B, Y, X, RB
  • Select Pitch Location: Left Analog (hold in place)
  • Begin Pitch: R(downwards) (hold until yellow line)
  • Release Pitch Accuracy/Velocity: R(upwards) (direction of pitch location)

Miscellaneous Pitching controls for Xbox One and Series X|S

  • Request Catcher’s Call: RT
  • Pitch History: RT (hold)
  • Look at Runner: LT (hold)
  • Deceptive Pickoff: LT (hold) + Base Button
  • Quick Pickoff: LT + Base Button
  • Slide Step: LT + A
  • Pitchout: LB + A (after pitch selection)
  • Intentional Walk: LB + B (after pitch selection)
  • Step Off Mound: LB
  • View Defensive Positioning: R3
  • Quick Menu: D-Pad(upwards)
  • Pitcher/Batter Attributes/Quirks: D-Pad(left)
  • Pitching/Batting Breakdown: D-Pad(right)

How to use each pitching controls setting

Classic is the simplest pitching setting, but it offers the least amount of control and feedback. As all that you do is select your pitch, the location, and hit X/A, you are merely relying on the ability of the pitcher to make good pitches. Classic might be best for beginners.

Pulse Pitching is similar to Classic but gives you a bit more control. Instead of merely pressing X/A, you will see a “pulse” surrounding the ball. Your goal is to hit X/A with the circle as small as possible. Hitting it too early or too late will result in inaccurate pitches. If you fancy a small challenge after Classic, try Pulse.

Meter Pitching is a step up in that there are a few more pressings of X/A to make an effective pitch. After you select your pitch and location, you must hit X/A at or near the top of the meter to control for pitch velocity. The next part is equally important as it controls accuracy: you must hit X/A as the meter comes back to the yellow line.


Pinpoint Pitching, introduced this year, may be the most challenging of the bunch. After selecting your pitch and location, you initiate the pitch with R and must follow a gesture presented on-screen as closely as possible. Further, you must perform the gesture as close to the speed shown on-screen. Every pitch has a unique gesture, with breaking pitches tending to have more difficult gestures to copy.

You will be notified after each pitch as to how close you were to the gesture, your speed in copying the gesture, and the angle of your gesture. Use that to adjust your gestures. Just remember that it is very challenging and will take time to master.

Pure Analog Pitching is the recommended pitching setting. It gives you the best control while still presenting some difficulty. You hold R(downwards) to initiate the pitch, releasing up toward the location of your pitch (represented by a red circle) as close to the yellow line as possible. Beyond the impact to the pitch location based on how close you get to the red circle, the release timing also influences location.


If you release too early – above the yellow line – the pitch will have a higher elevation. If you release too late – below the yellow line – the pitch will be lower than anticipated. This setting is the one, more than the others, where if you make a mistake pitch, it is because you messed up as opposed to the randomness of the in-game mechanics. As a result, it is highly recommended that you master Pure Analog Pitching.

Tips for pitching in MLB The Show 21

1. Are we talking about practice?

It is important to find the pitching style that fits how you play. Go into the Practice Mode and fiddle around with each if you are unsure. Even though it may be stressful, practice on the greater difficulties to truly get an understanding of how to make effective pitches.

2. Learn how to control the running game, first with the slide step!

Particularly with speedy baserunners aboard, using the slide step and pickoff to your advantage can mitigate or erase any scoring threats.

The drawback to using the slide step is that the yellow accuracy bar comes faster in those settings using it, and you must be that much quicker with Pinpoint Pitching. However, it drastically cuts the time of delivery to the plate, maximizing your ability to throw out runners.

3. Use pickoffs to keep runners honest

When attempting pickoffs, it is a good idea to think of the Button Accuracy meter appearing in your head as soon as you hit the base. Hold the base button until you think it hits the middle of the imaginary meter – this will ensure that you do not throw the ball away.

Further, when using a deceptive or quick pickoff move, you will have the most success when attempting this after the baserunner has taken an extra step in your lead. It is also much easier to pick off runners (as they mostly happen at first base) with a left-handed pitcher.

You will find a good number of left-handed pitchers with the “Pickoff Artist” player quirk, but very few right-handed pitchers also possess this quirk. If you have a pitcher with this quirk, try to pick off any runner at first base with a speed above 70.

4. Understand situational baseball

If it is late in the game and there is a runner on third with less than two outs, be prepared for a squeeze play. If a ground ball is hit to first base, go cover just in case the first basemen cannot beat the baserunner to first.

If you need a ground ball for a double play, keep the ball low – particularly if you have anything with downward or two-seam motion.

If an over-shift is employed, pitch to the inside to maximize the possibility that a ball is hit into the shift. As stated above, be wary of runners taking the extra base via a steal or ball in play.

Just remember that every pitch is a strategic match, made more so with the added variables that come with situational baseball.

Now you have the knowledge to make you a fiend on the mound, stingier than this year’s version of pre-injury Jacob deGrom. Can you best the virtual version of deGrom?


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Bruce L

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