MLB The Show 21 PCI Explained: Everything you need to know

This is your full rundown on the PCI, how to adjust it, and tips on how to become a better batter using the PCI.


While a previous piece on MLB The Show 21 gave a brief tutorial on the Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI), this piece will be an in-depth look and guide to the PCI, how it functions, and how to improve your gameplay while using the PCI. 

There are three hitting settings in The Show with Zone, Pure Analog, and Directional (click here for our hitting guide). The PCI can apply to the first two settings. While hitting without the PCI may be easier, it is recommended to leave it on. 


What is the PCI (Plate Coverage Indicator) on MLB The Show 21 and what does it mean? 

The default settings for the PCI 

Simply put, the PCI is an indicator of your hitter’s ability to make contact with the ball. The attribute “vision” affects the size of the PCI, with a higher rating enlarging the PCI. Hitters with at least an 80 rating in vision are given the “20/20 Vision” quirk, indicating that they rarely miss when swinging the bat. 

The larger your PCI, the more likely it will be that you foul off a pitch even if your PCI is in the opposite direction of the pitch (PCI low when pitch is high, etc.). A larger PCI also gives you more space for you to make perfect grounders, line drives, and flyballs (more on this later). 

How do you use and control the PCI in The Show 21? 

The inner circle has “starfighter” enabled 

To use the PCI, first go to Settings→Gameplay→Batting & Baserunning, then scroll down to and enable Plate Coverage Indicator.  

While batting, simply use the left joystick (L) to move the PCI around the strike zone. Move it to a pitch’s location and swing with your chosen input mode to make contact. The more central the PCI to the ball when contact is made, the better. 


How do I change the look of the PCI? 

The PCI is colored blue, one of many colors to choose. 

In the same settings in which you enabled the PCI, the rest of the options pertain to the look of the PCI. You can change the look of the center, inner circle, and outer circle of the PCI, including the color.  

The center can either be circles, diamonds, or altitude markings. These three markings represent your “perfect” grounder (small mark), liner (medium mark), and flyball (large mark). For the altitude setting, the mark with two small lines is a liner, and the mark with two long lines is a flyball. If you make contact with the ball with perfect swing timing in one of these three spots, you will get a perfect hit. 

The inner circle can either be the default basic parentheses-type, a “wedge” where the barrel-side of the PCI is larger, the already pictured “starfighter” that resembles an aerial HUD, or a “fishbowl” where the top edge points out just a bit. 


The outer circle has basic and starfighter as well, but also “outline,” which basically resembles a Poké Ball, and “reverb,” which has three parentheses-type shapes on either side.  

You can also change the transparency of the PCI (default is 70 percent) and whether any part of the PCI fades out as the pitcher enters his windup. You can have none, all, outer, center and outer, or inner and outer circles fade out (default is outer). 

What is the best PCI to use in MLB The Show 21? 

It might not be what you want to hear, but it really does come down to personal preference. The default settings are fine, but some might like a different look to their PCI when playing. The default settings do seem to be the best all-around PCI settings, but in any case, find what works best for you. 

How do you make the PCI bigger in The Show 21? 

If you are playing Road to the Show, you increase the size of your PCI by raising your rating in the vision attribute. You can also improve your rating with the items that you can equip on your ballplayer, a quick, easy, and somewhat permanent fix. 

In Diamond Dynasty, aside from upgrading player cards through parallel upgrades, your PCI is relegated to the vision stat of your hitters. Certain quirks may increase the PCI, but are context dependent.  

In Franchise mode, you can edit your player ratings by selecting them and “Edit Player.”  

While not necessarily how you make your PCI bigger, playing on Rookie difficulty will give your hitters a much larger PCI than playing on Legend difficulty. 

How do you improve at using the PCI? 

The outer circle has “reverb” enabled 

Practice! The Show 21 has an extensive Custom Practice mode where you can tailor any situation to your liking. You can select the pitcher, which pitches (or all) you would like to face, and in which zones (or all) you want the pitches.  

While it is frustrating, the quickest and proven way to improve using the PCI – and hitting in general – is to play on the highest difficulty setting, Legend. If that is too daunting, try starting at All-Star, two away from Legend, and work your way up to Hall of Fame and then Legend.  

The issue on playing with the lower difficulties, especially if you jump to Hall of Fame of Legend, is that they do not set you up well for the jump in quality. Pitches will seem faster with bigger breaks. Swings that were perfect on Beginner or Rookie will be late on the higher difficulties.  

Use the practice mode to become comfortable with the PCI at higher difficulties, then transition to playing the CPU and online. Also remember that in reality, you are a considered a successful hitter for failing seven out of ten times.  

Once you start making consistent, solid contact in practice mode, you know that you are ready to challenge yourself with actual games.  

With this guide and tips to using the PCI, you should now be able to set your own path and cement your legacy as one of the best hitters in The Show. 


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Bruce L

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