BASIC GAMEPLAY TIPS
Credit and thanks go to "BigManZam" and "Muka" for contributing the tips shown below.
Both X and O buttons can be used for contact if your cursor is in 'contact' mode, and they can both be used for power if your cursor is in 'power' mod. So X should be defined simply as Pull Swing, and O should be defined simply as Opposite Field Swing.
Contact wise, you shouldn't try and pull anything on the outside part of the plate. Always try and go opposite way. Some power hitters will struggle to do this, though.
Try to pull almost everything if you want to hit home runs. The difference in power is huge. There will be some pitches on the very outside edge you won't be able to power unless you have a special opposite field power ability AND time the hit just right with the O button with power enabled. These hits require later timing than pull hits.
You should always determine which type of swing you want to use BEFORE the pitch is thrown. If you decide to pull a ball, then ignore the outside pitches. If you have decided to go opposite field, ignore the inside stuff and hit pitches away. I never wait after the pitch is thrown to determine whether I should hit X or O because on middle speed or middle + speed you just don't have enough time. My approach is always "Power Swing X" before 2 strikes, then "Contact O" when I have 2 strikes because this swing allows me to be "late" (even if inside pitches would give me trouble using this 2 strike approach).
The image shown above was taken in Training Mode. Note the icon on the top right: X represents pull swing and O push (or opposite field) swing. The vertical green bars represent where the bat can make contact through the swing, while the white horizontal bar represents the location of your last swing. If your swing is very early (or at the top of the green bar) you'll pull the ball off the head of the bat and probably foul. If you swing late (bottom of the green bar) you'll hit it weakly off the small part of the bat to the opposite side of the field. You want to hit the ball somewhere in between the green bars to connect to the bats sweet spot and to keep the ball in play.
In this image you can see the batter swung early during the last pitch, so if he used pull swing (X button) the ball would've been hit to the left side of the field. If he used push swing (O button) then he would've swung and missed or at best fouled it off the tip of the bat. Also, keep in mind if you use power swing the green bars will be smaller. This mode and screen is covered in detail in the Training Mode section of the site.
You should always work to your batters strengths. If you have a power hitter you should always try to pull - especially when ahead in a count. If you have a low power, high average spray hitter you can look more for outside pitches and utilize both the X and O buttons.
The advantage of the X swing is:
The advantage of the O swing is:
To get the most speed out of your base runners, repeatedly press the four shoulder buttons to get a boost in speed. This is crucial for getting triples, stolen bases, and sac flies.
Try to vary location and pitch speed. Also try to get the batter to swing for something outside the strike zone. This is the key to getting strike outs on harder difficulties.
Pressing right stick up (D-pad up on PSP) will enable "zenryoku pitching" or full power pitching. This increases the power and effectiveness of that pitch, but it also takes off a lot of stamina. You can also press down on the right analog stick and touch the rosin bag. In addition to creating the cool rosin effect, this actually helps your release timing when your pitcher is tired late in the game. Remember, though, perfect release timing can even be hit hard when a pitcher is too tired to throw effectively.
Every now and then you will see an indicator like a base runner is taking off, but it will blink. You're supposed to check the runner in these situations, so have your catcher throw to first to try and pick off the runner.
HOW TO PRACTICE PITCH TIMING: Go into Training Mode (Pitching) and after you throw a pitch look at the icon at the top right portion of the screen. This will tell you how well you are timing your pitches.
The image at right was taken from Training Mode. It's telling you the pitch just thrown had perfect timing.
Unless the CPU is struggling badly they usually dont pull pitchers early (like Americans do.) Aces in Japan generally throw up to 130 or 140 pitches per game! it's insane when we westerners who grew up on american baseball see this but over there it is an everyday thing. And you rarely hear people get elbow surgery or Tommy John...it's usually shoulder injuries that ends careers. I have no idea why there is such a remarkable difference.
PITCH WEIGHT:Certain pitches are harder to hit for home runs. In the chart below you can see the slider is the hardest pitch to hit for a home run. Likewise, slower pitches are easier to hit for a home run. Pitches up in the zone are also easier to hit for home runs, so by using this chart you can come to the conclusion that if your pitcher has a poorly rated changeup it should be thrown low and away from the strike zone!
Remember that this game allows you to change a throw in mid-motion, so even if you started to throw to the wrong base, you can press another button immediately to throw to another base (very useful during close plays or bunt plays).
Position Rating is very important. I suggest your LF,CF,RF outfielders have at least an E-C-D grade respectively in those positions. For infielders, ideally you want a D for 3B, at least a C for the middle infielders, and a D or E for 1B.
Always put in your defensive specialists (rating of at least a C) at the end of close games. For me personally, I always
put in defensive subs at 1st & 3rd to take away doubles down the line...it is pretty amazing what good defense can do
in this game. Instead of a double down the 1st base line that a typical burly E-rated 1st baseman would normally allow,
a C-rated defensive sub can react immediately and dive or lunge with the X or square button to rob a hit and
potentially save the game.
Sometimes you can trick the CPU into making an out. If the CPU has a man on 2nd, and they hit a single into the outfield, throw home. Sometimes the CPU hitter will get too aggressive and try to go to 2nd after rounding 1st. If you feel the throw wont beat the runner home anyway, hold R2 immediately as the throw is coming in from the outfield and your infielder will cut off the throw (as long as it is not too high). Then quickly throw to 2nd to get the overaggressive runner.