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MLB The Show 16: Zone Hitting Against Online Pitchers

How should you hold the controller?

Which swing button should you press?

Know how to counter the default defensive shifts

I use two different grips on my DualShock controller, depending on how much cursor movement I want to make: A "fingerprint" grip with the center of your thumb meeting the center of the joystick will maximize the amount of movement you can make with the hitting cursor, letting you sweep the cursor across the far corners of the screen. This is a good grip to use with tall hitters who have large strike zones, or in situations where you are trying to protect the plate and avoid striking out. I also feel like arching my thumb up a bit gives me improved control over the cursor, but I know plenty of people who are superb hitters that prefer to keep their thumbs completely flat. So experiment with both holds (arch versus flat) and stick with the style that's most comfortable for you. "Choking up" on your grip by placing the first horizontal line of your thumb over the center of the joystick will significantly restrict the cursor's range of motion. I "choke up" on the joystick whenever I'm using a short hitter with a smaller strike zone, or in situations where I'm placing the cursor on a very specific part of the plate and don't want it to move around too much. You can have plenty of success online hitting for contact and for power while only using the normal X button swing. But if you're looking to take your hitting to an elite level, you'll need to know when to use the power swing and when to use the contact swing. There are two situations where I like to press square and use the power swing button: 1. When your cursor is sitting completely stationary in the center of the zone waiting for a fastball down the middle. If the pitch comes to the exact center of the plate, then you'll completely crush the ball. If the pitch is slightly off-center, then you'll probably tip it harmlessly into the ground, while a standard X button swing would more likely end as a pop up for an easy fly out. 2. When you are ahead in the count with a hitter who has 80-plus contact but only 50 to 70 power. These players aren't very likely to hit home runs with regular X button swings, but a square button power swing could help push a meatball over the wall instead of keeping it in play. Pressing circle to use the contact swing button should be your primary way of hitting with players who have a power rating below 50. Even fastballs thrown right down the middle usually end up being fly outs when your power rating is that low, so you're better off using the contact swing to slap a single over the infielders' heads so that it lands just in front of an outfielder's reach. Unless your batter has high contact and vision ratings, you'll also want to consider using the contact swing when you're down to your last strike. I like to contact swing with two strikes if I have baserunners and there is one out or zero outs. When there are two outs or there's nobody on base, I'll usually just stay with the normal X button swing. Most people online are at least smart enough to apply a basic bunt defense shift whenever a speedster like Ichiro Suzuki or Jarrod Dyson is hitting. But for any batters who aren't drag bunting threats, online opponents will typically leave the default auto shifts turned on. You can easily beat all of default shifts by using the following approaches at the plate: If you're having trouble hitting the ball into a specific gap, go to the main menu and try playing the “Bat Control” practice mode for a bit to improve your hit placement ability. The best online hitters aren't necessarily the players with the greatest cursor movement skills. The guys with the highest averages usually tend to get hits because they have their cursor sitting right in the spot where a pitch is going to come. Here are some common online pitching personalities, plus how you can beat each type of hurler: - The majority of online pitchers love to throw at batters' cold zones, which is why I try to fill my lineup with hitters like Yasiel Puig and Mark Trumbo who only have one cold portion of the plate. This way, you can sit your cursor in that cold area, and focus on your swing timing, instead of worrying about your swing location. The attribute deduction for making contact in cold spots is so small it won't impact your ability to consistently get hits in those parts of the strike zone. - Patiently taking pitches against players who repeatedly throw ultra low breaking balls will make them throw safe, easy to hit pitches in the middle portion of the plate once they fall behind in the count. It will also wear out their starter's stamina if they keep wasting pitches early in at-bats. Once you force your opponent to raise the height of his breaking balls to the lower third of the strike zone (instead of way down in the dirt), you can begin racking up hits. - Using power hitters with a pull tendency is the best tactic for countering high heat. You won't even need to use the square button power swing to consistently hit home runs against this type of pitch, so stick with the normal X button swing and use early timing to send these balls soaring into the seats. Once you hit a couple of high fastballs for homers, your opponent will probably be scared to throw them for the rest of the game, making his pitch selection even more predictable. - Humans' brains find comfort in patterns, and one of the most obvious tendencies online is alternating between slow/fast or high/low pitches. A lot of people probably don't even realize they're doing this, so definitely look for this throwing rhythm and anticipate the next pitch accordingly. - Most users have one pitch they rely on whenever the count reaches two strikes. It's often a breaking ball with a high rating thrown outside the strike zone, or a fastball with lots of velocity placed on the upper or inside portion of the plate. Pay attention to the kind of pitch your opponent prefers whenever he's wanting a strikeout, and set your cursor in a position that will counteract his throw type.

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