MLB The Show 16: Tips for Winning in Battle Royale
Battle Royale is my favorite new addition to MLB: The Show. Since the online issues have improved, it’s also where I spend most of my time. While I’m not terribly good yet, I have gathered some tips that have helped me improve. At the risk of facing stiffer competition, here are some guidelines to help you climb the Battle Royale ladder.
Oh, but first, an overarching point: Battle Royale is not traditional baseball, so don’t treat it that way. All of the Diamond Dynasty modes that utilize the shorter three-inning games and increased pitcher fatigue bend the rules of the game enough to make a non-traditional approach necessary. This is a theme that winds its way through my tips, but is important enough to highlight on its own. You almost need to approach it as an extra-innings game. The best real-life analog would be the second half of the “rain split” Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. Keep in mind, just as in extra innings, one run can usually win it.
Here are the rest of the tips:
1. Don’t waste high picks on starting pitchers. While it’s tempting to take a Diamond or Gold level starter, it’s really a bad use of an elite player. This is primarily because the random rotation system means that you might never “roll” that pitcher. You don’t want fate to be in control of when your best player can take the field (keep in mind, you can't bring in a starter mid-game).
2. When given the selection of a Diamond player, try to take a high contact/high speed guy, then bat him lead-off. You want this player to get as many at-bats as possible in the short format. Even a power hitter with some speed, like “Reggie Stocker” (aka Barry Bonds) is worth putting at the top.
3. Speaking of speed, it becomes one of your greatest weapons when used correctly. Draft bench players with lots of speed to act as pinch runners. You should also scout your opponent’s catcher and be aggressive on the basepaths. Try to steal on breaking pitches, which are typically thrown when the pitcher is ahead in the count.
4. Related, make sure you draft a backup catcher. Catchers tend to be the slowest players on the team. Should your starting catcher get on, it is definitely worth pinch running for him, even in the first inning (remember, in a three-inning game even one run is super important). However, you don’t want to give your opponent a free pass on the bases by having someone out of position behind the dish.
5. Build a better bullpen. Don’t be afraid to use silver or even gold picks on relief pitchers. Chances are, these pitchers are going to be throwing in the important late/extra innings. Being able to go to a solid and diverse bullpen will secure a win or keep you in games. And, with a good bullpen, you can be liberal with substitutions. Don’t let pitchers throw too many pitches after they start to tire because your pitches become tangibly worse and the hitter gets a larger PCI to hit with as well.
6. If you are exploiting matchups with your bullpen (righty vs righty, lefty vs lefty), don’t be afraid to utilize the odd move of sending your pitcher to the outfield for one batter. This allows you to save a pitcher, and a substitution and (fingers crossed) I haven’t been burned yet. However, it does take some deft maneuvering of the substitution menu so practice offline first.
7. Another bullpen tip: Always have a pitcher warming up, even at the very beginning of the game. Be ready to bring him in for your opponent's best hitter, who is probably batting third or fourth in the lineup.
8. Always pinch hit for your pitcher, unless he’s still fresh and you are only looking to sacrifice.
9. Become comfortable executing the suicide squeeze. It’s a play that’s hard to defend against, even when you know it’s coming (best bet: throw an unbuntable ball way inside on a righty). As an offensive tool, it can be a great way to generate a walk-off run.
10. Versatile, multi-position players hold more value than their numerical rating, especially with the amount of substitutions and pinch hitting you'll be doing.
Have you used any of these tips before? Agree/Disagree? What’s your best tip -- if you want to give it away?