MLB Games got the jump on Sony, announcing the cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball 21. Chicago White Sox shortstop and 2019 American League Batting Champion Tim Anderson will grace the cover of this year’s game — and it’s certainly a well-deserved honor.
Since making his Major League Baseball debut in 2016, Tim Anderson has worked his way into becoming one of the premier shortstops in the game. In 2019, he led all of the Majors with a .335 average on his way to becoming the AL Batting Champion.
He silenced any doubters with another solid stat line in the shortened 2020 season, finishing among the top of the league in several key offensive categories including batting average (.322, 7th in MLB, 2nd in AL), runs scored (45, 7th in MLB, 1st in AL), hits (67, 9th in MLB, 1st in AL), and total bases (110, 19th in MLB, 10th in AL).
In addition to his offensive capabilities, Tim Anderson has proven he can put in the work to improve defensively as well. After leading the league in errors (26) in the 2019 season, Anderson drastically cut down his mistakes in the field and finished the 2020 season with just 6 errors, which was 11th in the league at the position. It’s not quite a Gold Glove performance yet, but he strongly believes he’ll eventually earn the award.
It’s that kind of confidence, swagger and workmanship that make Tim Anderson a wonderful cover athlete. And he represents the kind of improvements R.B.I. Baseball 21 will see this year.
While the game is unlikely to ever compete with Sony San Diego’s MLB The Show, R.B.I. 21 is adding numerous new features, with a major focus on customization. New this year is the “create-a-player” mode, allowing you to create a five-tool player.
There’s also an increase in delivering a more realistic and authentic gameplay experience with the following improvements:
- Play-by-play commentary by MLB Network’s Fran Charles
- Individual Statcast data for pitchers that model real-life form and pitches, like Dustin May’s sinker and Sixto Sánchez’s change-up
- Progressive time of day scenarios presenting realistic environmental factors, such as afternoon games transitioning to twilight and evening play
- Increased customization options ranging from batting controls to camera angles
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With all these changes, it’s no wonder why Tim Anderson and the Chicago White Sox — whose bat flips inspired the team’s ‘Change the Game’ marketing campaign — are the face of R.B.I. Baseball 21.
R.B.I. Baseball 21 is set to release this March on PlayStation 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC and supported mobile devices. The game will make use of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, offering both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions of the game for one price. I’m assuming some sort of PS4 to PS5 free digital upgrade will also be offered. R.B.I. Baseball 21 is available for pre-order for $29.99.
Of course, most people on PlayStation were probably planning on getting MLB The Show 21, which will have news announced in February. It will also be interesting to see how MLB The Show‘s multiplatform release this year will impact R.B.I. Baseball 21, which in the past has been the only baseball game available on platforms outside of PlayStation due to The Show‘s exclusivity.