This year’s version of MLB The Show has seen a few gameplay tweaks, including more animations for fielders. However, some changes have irked the community, like hitting a routine flyball when the swing timing is just past perfect instead of a home run.
There are three preset gameplay settings in Simulation, Competitive, and Casual. Competitive sets the difficulty to Hall of Fame, the second-highest difficulty. There’s also six additional difficulty settings: Beginner, Dynamic, Rookie, Veteran, All-Star, and Legend (a tier above Hall of Fame).
Luckily, for those wanting a more realistic experience while not making the game too challenging, the sliders in MLB The Show 21 provide such an opportunity.
This article may be for those who do not want to play on Hall of Fame or Legend, but it is also notable that the sliders do not change when the preset or gameplay difficulty are changed. If you play on one of the higher difficulties, think of these settings as making it Hall of Fame+ or Legend+.
What are the MLB The Show 21 sliders?
Sliders are gameplay elements that allow you to control the likelihood of a certain outcome happening or not happening, in the case of The Show, every pitch.
In MLB The Show 21, users can shift the sliders right or left (there are no numerical values given) with the right leading to a higher likelihood and the left a lower chance. For example, if CPU Contact is set two ticks to the right, the CPU is that much more likely to make contact on swings.
By default, all sliders in The Show are set in the middle. However, considering the trends of hitting and pitching in MLB, some tweaks need to be made to better reflect the game seen in real life versus the one played virtually.
Notably, Human Contact should be lowered while Human Power should be raised, and slight adjustments should be made to both Human and CPU Pitching sliders.
It should be noted that these sliders are aiming to reflect an MLB that has seen less contact, more home runs, far more strikeouts and walks, less balls in play, less steals and taking the extra base, more errors and fielding lapses, and is more likely to use the bullpen earlier in games than in the past.
How to change the sliders in MLB The Show 21
Locate the Settings button on the top right corner of the screen (with the gear symbol). Click on it and then scroll to the second option and select Sliders.
For these sliders, the difficulty setting will be All-Star.
Realistic MLB The Show 21 game sliders
For a The Show game with realistic gameplay, we recommend the following slider settings.
Keep in mind that in MLB The Show 21, you cannot adjust the length of innings until you proceed to select teams and the stadium in Exhibition or Retro Modes. There are several modes in Diamond Dynasty that have three-inning games, but for the sake of a realistic experience, we recommend keeping the game at nine innings unless you want to run a double-header, in which case seven innings reflects the change in MLB.
To achieve a true and authentic MLB experience, you want to control the fate and outcome of every possible pitch. However, remember that if you are playing online or with a friend, these settings will most likely be different.
First, we will begin with the Human (user) sliders.
Realistic MLB The Show 21 Human sliders
Contact is down across MLB, with batting averages lower than in the past. As such, Contact is one tick to the left. Home runs are up, and with the “three true outcomes” nature of today’s game (strikeout, walk, or home run), Power should be ticked up two notches to the right.
Timing and Solid Hits should be a tick down, and while it may seem counterintuitive that this should be lowered when power is up, the focus on power has led to far more swing-and-miss in hitters’ approaches, and again, contact is down.
Sliders that should remain in the middle include Foul Frequency and Human Starter/Reliever Stamina. Some starters can go deep into ballgames, but it is more likely that a club will turn to the bullpen sooner in ballgames, sometimes before the third time through the order.
Pitching Control and Consistency should be lowered, the former two ticks and the latter one. While it is such a difficult game for today’s hitters because of the increased velocity and movement of pitches (more on that later), it is also true that facing these hitters is a daunting task. Lowering these sliders should help make pitching more challenging.
Realistic MLB The Show 21 CPU sliders
Here is where the difficulty and realism can really be attained. The sliders that should remain in the middle are Contact, Foul Frequency, Solid Hits, Strike Frequency, and CPU Manager Hook (the likelihood of a manager pulling the starter for a reliever).
Having Contact one tick above your setting makes both pitching and batting more challenging. The same applies to the other batting sliders remaining in the middle.
Power should go up two, which reflects the change to the Human Power slider, but CPU Timing should go up a tick. With an increase in Contact and Timing compared to your Human sliders, this should force you to expertly locate your pitches and pay dearly for any inaccurate pitches.
The remaining pitching sliders should go up one tick. This will make it much more difficult to force a battle of attrition. Pickoff being up one tick (in the next picture) means that you will need to be even more careful taking a big lead at first, especially with a southpaw pitcher.
Realistic MLB The Show 21 pitching and fielding sliders
Velocity and movement of pitches are arguably at an all-time high in MLB. As such, Fastball Pitch Speed should go up two and Offspeed Pitch Speed up one. This means that you will have less time to react to either type of pitch as a hitter.
With fewer balls in play, there has been an increase in errors and fielding mishaps in MLB. While again, it does seem counterintuitive, the lack of balls in play also represents fewer opportunities for in-game experience in the field. All Fielding and Throwing Error sliders should go up one tick.
The remaining four fielding sliders should remain in the middle. With the possibility of errors already raised, it would be more realistic to rely upon the fielders’ attributes in-game as is rather than tweaking them even more.
Realistic MLB The Show 21 miscellaneous settings
These sliders deal with baserunning, wind, injuries, and trades.
Baserunner Speed should remain in the middle. However, with fewer stolen bases than in the past and a notable lack of running in what used to be hit-and-run counts like 2-1, Baserunner Steal Ability and Frequency should be dropped two ticks. A stolen base will have to be earned.
Leave Wind in the middle. In places with little wind, it will remain as such, but when playing in places like San Francisco or Chicago, the wind should reflect the real-life weather of those cities.
Injuries are higher, and a resulting domino of the increase in injuries is the uptick in trades to cover for injured players. Move both up one tick.
Recommended MLB The Show 21 Franchise Mode settings
Because these settings apply to offline modes, the best place to extract the realism of these slides is through Franchise Mode.
To best coalesce with the sliders from above, keep everything on the initial Franchise Mode at default.
By keeping GM Contracts On, your fate is tied to the team’s success or failure as in real life. To maintain the sense of realism, keep Fantasy Draft, Allow Legend Free Agents, and CPU Roster Control (where you control the CPU rosters) Off.
For those trade-savvy users, allow CPU Trading, but keep Ignore Budgets and Force Trades Off. This means that you cannot trade a low-level minor league prospect for Mike Trout, for example.
Leaving Designated Hitter as Auto means that the DH rule will only apply in American League ballparks, the MLB rule. Also, leave Extra Inning Runner On to reflect the change made in MLB.
When you advance to the next page, you will see three different Tasks: Coaching, Development, and Manager. By default, the latter two are set to Auto Manage, meaning that you do not control those aspects. The only one set to Manual is Coaching, which involves setting the Lineups, Rotations, and dealing with injuries.
Leave everything as shown for now. Once you begin your Franchise, you can go into the settings and turn each individual task to Manual or Auto Manage.
For a realistic experience, here is what we recommend be set to Manual:
- All Coaching Tasks
- Hire & Fire Staff
- Free Agency
This will give you as much control of the team without micromanaging the franchise.
Pair these Franchise Mode settings with the sliders from earlier in the article to play what should be a gaming experience more akin to MLB.
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