MLB The Show 21: Pinpoint Pitching system explained

Sony Interactive Entertainment
Sony Interactive Entertainment /

Sony San Diego held its first major premiere for MLB The Show 21, with the primary focus being on hitting and pitching mechanics. One of the new features being introduced this year is the Pinpoint Pitching system, one of three mechanics players will be able to choose from when on the mound.

Pinpoint Pitching is the most challenging of the three mechanics, but also the most rewarding as it can result in the most accurate pitches. With the revamped PAR (Perfect Accuracy Region) — which is designed to give players a better idea as to where their intended pitch will land in the strike zone — Pinpoint Pitching will give them the best result if performed accurately.

PInpoint Pitching combines a little bit of the Meter and Analog pitching functions along with a new specific gesture motion that you’ll perform with the R stick. This motion will be rated on a GRD system: Gesture Performance, Release Timing and Direction of Release. If all three are performed correctly, you’ll generate a perfect pitch with very, very high accuracy.

In other words, Pinpoint Pitching is a high skill cap mechanic that rewards players with great control over the R stick. It’s a difficulty vs reward balance that players will have to weigh.

Those who were invited into the recent Technical Alpha got to play with the new Pinpoint Pitching mechanic but, of course, no one was able to share their opinion on it. I, unfortunately, didn’t get invited so I have no idea how it actually works. But it definitely drew comparisons to NBA 2K which uses a similar mechanic (and was largely hated by the community).

For those who didn’t get to play around with the mechanic, the recent stream gave us a look as to how it will work. Using your left stick, you’ll move your pitch arrow and circle left or right in relation to the ball placement within the zone. This is important when finishing your pitch motion.

The next thing you’ll see is a preview of the pitch motion. Each pitch type has a distinct motion that needs to be performed at the same speed as the preview. You’ll perform this same gesture using the right stick and you’ll need to do it at the same speed, which correlates to the motion of the pitcher on the mound. So while a fastball will have the same gesture motion (up and down), the speed at which it is performed will change from pitcher to pitcher.

Regardless of the motion, every pitch will finish at the 12 o’clock position. There are two gears that will start to close in to help you identify the timing. There’s also dynamically colored feedback to help you with timing as well. Green is good, yellow means slow down, and red means you’re failing.

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Once you hit the 12 o’clock position, there’s a release mechanic in which you must pull the right stick back down to where you placed that initial arrow. Again, each pitcher has a distinct pitch timing and motion. For example, Kershaw pitching out of the wind up will have a slower release timing so you’ll have to sit at the top a little bit longer than a pitcher throwing from out of the stretch.

Each pitch will have its own gesture.  A fastball will be the easiest; straight up and down motion. The off-speed pitches will have intricate motions that are designed to replicate what’s happening on the mound.

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It seems like Pinpoint Pitching is designed for the most competitive and skilled players. I’ll probably give it a try but I think I’m more of a traditional Meter pitch type player.