MLB The Show has had the most consistent content updates of all the major sports games’ online modes for several years now. Across all of that, some of it has drawn the ire of the player base for a myriad of reasons. Last year’s Future Stars’ Edward Cabrera was the most disliked card release for a handful of reasons, chief among them his outlier sinker, which allowed him to throw the pitch consistently in around the high 90s and even approaching triple digits around 100mph.
The sinker was feared in large part because of how easy it was to throw to any part of the strike zone, and what an advantage it was around opposing batters. The sinker breaks hard downward, which makes getting underneath the ball much more difficult than your typical fastball. This year’s game has made significant changes to pitching mechanics, the biggest that it makes throwing the sinker easily high in the zone more of a risk. Despite this design change, the sinker is still probably the best pitch in the game.
This week introduced Eury Perez, another Marlins Future Stars pitcher with – you guessed it – an outlier sinker.
MJ Melendez and Eury Perez are the Future Stars cards available in the “Future Ain’t Far” event running until June 30th. Melendez looks like a solid catcher option, but unfortunately came directly after a massive wave of new catchers into Diamond Dynasty with the last major program. Melendez is probably the best defensive catcher in the game with some decent speed to boot. Sadly, a lefty catcher in a left-handed pitcher metagame currently makes him a bit of a liability offensively, especially with fairly pedestrian hitting stats.
Eury Perez was one of the better budget pitchers at the beginning of the year with his gold prospect card from launch. This iteration features triple digit hits per nine with solid k’s per nine and control. His pitch mix is going to be one of the better in the game for some time, with an outlier sinker that can regularly hit triple digits. Combined with an already hard fastball and two great offspeed pitches with an 85mph circle change and a 79 slurve, Perez will be one of the most popular cards in the game for some time to come.
Perez is a serious competitor to the Future Star Edward Cabrera from last year. Both are Marlins Future Stars right-handed starting pitchers, and both have an outlier sinker. Thankfully, Sinkers are significantly nerfed compared to how they played in ‘21, so while Perez will still be a terrific option for your rotation, he won’t be as game-breakingly good.
The Headliner Set 24 pack features 2001 Postseason Luis Gonzales. This card represents Gonzales landing the winning hit of the 2001 World Series off of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to win the Diamondbacks one and only World Series. Gonzales cards are noted for their reliable swing animations along with solid hitting stats. His 99 contact vs righties and 114 power vs righties make him a solid option offensively, but his usual questionable defensive ability and speed will largely delegate him to a bench role in the current meta.
If he were more weighted towards lefties like the recent Nick Castellanos card, it could be worth playing him in the corner. Sadly, with the plethora of bench bats for right-handed pitching available, he’s not appealing to many players other than Diamondbacks fans. Postseason Legend Jimmie Foxx also made his debut this week with a 95 overall diamond. This is his typical earlier-in-the-year diamond with great contact and above average power, along with his usual defensive flexibility and the ability to play catcher. His stats are more slanted toward lefties with a maxed out 125 contact against lefties and 85 power vs lefties, so he should be a meta card for the foreseeable future.
Sony’s San Diego Studio has had its most controversial year in regards to live series roster updates. In years past they were known for being patient when it came to upgrades and downgrades. At the time, they cited their three-year scale for player ratings. Basically, an individual player had a bit of leeway when they started the year with a slump or hit well above their expected numbers for a few weeks. For some reason, this year they have been much more aggressive in their ratings changes. Mike Trout received his just due in his live series card ratings this week. His power vs righties returned to normalcy with a +13. Byron Buxton saw similarly massive boosts to his power against both righties and lefties. Edwin Diaz, Raisel Iglesias, Carlos Rodon and Rafael Devers all saw their live series cards go diamond. Kevin Gausman and Juan Soto both dropped from a low diamond to a gold.
Manga artist Takashi Okazaki designed the game’s special edition cover art of his countryman Shohei Ohtani. His custom designs have featured on his own series of cards in the game since release. On Friday, the program added five new players. In the base round, players can find 93 overalls in Ivan Rodriguez, Eric Gagne and Ozzie Smith. Both Ivan and Ozzie have their usual early-year great-defense-poor-offense cards that won’t see much use overall. Gagne on the other hand immediately becomes one of the better relief options in the game. His eclectic pitch mix along with his superhuman 113 hits per nine, 122 strikeouts per nine and 116 pitching clutch will have him meta-relevant throughout the year.
The high-tier cards added to the set are 96 overalls Bob Feller and Alfonso Soriano. Feller has been a polarizing card in the game for a few years now as to whether he is one of the better pitchers in the game or the worst. Regardless of which side you land on, his outlier fastball will sit around the triple digits consistently, and a 95mph sinker to play off of that make him somebody to watch out for online in the coming weeks (not to mention his trio of offspeed pitches). Soriano, a primary left fielder, will become one of the best second base options in the game as well. A fast, strong-gloved second baseman who bats right-handed and has 107 power against lefties will be an appealing option for players of any level for some time to come.
The new Nike City Connect uniform program features the Milwaukee Brewers this week, along with 92 overall Freddy Peralta. Peralta’s per nine numbers are all solid for a 92 at this stage of the year, but his middling control and lackluster pitch mixed with two fastballs, a curve and a circle change will make him a lower ranked off meta option at best. You can add some clean uniforms to your diamond dynasty team at least.
The second to last Topps Now challenges dropped for this week. This week’s Topps Now cards are some of the most versatile and usable cards the program has seen so far this year. Both pitching options, starters Spencer Strider and Miles Mikolas, feature solid per nine numbers with Mikolas having the better pitch mix and control of the two, but Strider featuring the 99 mph fastball and 102 K/9. Both position players are outfielders. 91 Jerar Encarnacion is an average defensive right field option, but features fairly balanced hitting stats against both sides. Riley Greene looks as though he could be one of the better outfield options in the game, but his 47 speed in center field will likely get you into trouble defensively. Even so, his 100+ contact against both sides with power that can reach into the 90s after being paralleled should make him a popular budget option in the weeks to come.
In the coming days, the Show will introduce new Ranked Season rewards on June 27th, which are being teased as an “Awards Series Flashback & 2nd Half Heroes Series Legend”. Finally, the Set 26 headliner will be released the day after on the 28th before the new major program on Thursday June 30th, dubbed the “Sizzling Summer Program” and teasing some classic flashback cards from past years.
Here’s hoping it’s not Edward Cabrera.