Today was the final day of the MLB 17 The Show’s “Speedster Event” and I can honestly say I’ve never been more fatigued playing a video game in all my life. It’s the first event I’ve participated in and it might be my last for no reason other than the grind is arduous, stressful and emotional. For the better part of two weeks, day and night, I battled and fought and scrapped my way to the finish line. The ending feels great because I reached the 50 win plateau but more importantly the learnings along the way opened my eyes to what really goes on in The Show.
Before we talk about my findings let’s recap the event requirements. You can read them below. The event limits your team overall rating to a 75 with a minimum player rating of 65. Don’t fret even with a 75 team you can fit 4 diamonds on your team and a couple of golds. I was able to get 99 Trout, 96 Ellsbury, 91 Finley and 90 Blackmon in my lineup. As long as you utilize a few commons you can comfortable make room for your diamonds.
75 Team Overall Limit
65 Player Minimum Rating (Floor)
75+ Speed Rating for Diamond, Gold, Silver
Any Speed Rating for Bronze or Common
All Pitchers must be Bronze or Common
This event can be really frustrating if you let the slew of stolen bases get to you. Singles turn into triples very easily if you’re not careful. Those players with 95+ pace you have to pitch with extreme caution and make sure you don’t give them anything they can junk out there for a base hit. With all the catchers being bronze or common you don’t exactly have an Ivan Rodriguez option to gun down runners. Utilize a slide step, be patient and more importantly don’t let those runners on base.
I don’t think the developers at The Show would admit this but I think the difficulty rating changes (without telling you) as your win total grows. Pitches I were squaring up for doubles and homers in my earlier games were all pop-ups to the middle infield in the later games. The default setting is “All-Star” but once I hit that 30 game mark it really felt like it was on Hall of Fame. Again, I highly doubt they’ll admit it and I have no evidence other than my experience at the plate. If that’s the case then it’s pretty shady.
Overall I liked the event, I’m a big fan of events where rosters are restricted so you have to be creative on how you set your lineup. The strategy of how you build your team is my favorite part. I also like the exclusion of high level pitchers. The best MLB The Show players can pitch with anyone, they don’t need the Diamond pitchers to be great. It becomes more about location, speed and execution than flat out velocity. Even though I benefited greatly from having Diamonds in my lineup it would’ve been nice if there was some type of restriction there to limit only one per team. Make this event truly about speed and using the hidden gems who aren’t used day in and day out.
The event makes it pretty easy for you on where you can place your Diamond or Gold players, none of the catchers or 1st basemen have the necessary speed requirement to make the cut so both positions are out. At third base there is really one option (Gold Jose Ramirez) unless you have one of the extremely rare diamond cards (Molitor, Braun, Ramirez). That leaves the middle infield and outfield.
Catcher – Since no elite catchers are available my preference was to utilize this position as a defensive player. Remember this is a speedster event, there are going to be 90+ players on the bases you’ll want someone with the best arm that a bronze or common will allow. I went with Yan Gomes 82 fielding and 80 arm which is by far the best among the bronze catchers. He’s also a decent bat and had some nice Inside Edge boosts throughout the week. Rookie Flashback Dale Murphy has a gun with 88 arm strength but I don’t like his overall catching and blocking abilities. Others punted on this position and went entirely offensive while inserting Rookie Flashback Jorge Posada or going extreme with Kyle Schwarber behind the plate in his second position
1st Base – I struggled with this position on my first few entries until I finally got smart and beat the system. Should I use Greg Bird, Albert Pujols, Impact Veteran Eric Karros? The answer was none of the above. I inserted left handed outfielder Charlie Blackmon at first and he was great. He missed a few grounders and had some poor throws to home plate but overall it was worth it to get his bat in the lineup. Actually before I realized I could do that with Blackmon I was using common Ike Davis and he was fantastic. He was even better when I moved him to a pinch hitting role off the bench.
3rd Base – If I had Jose Ramirez from the beginning this would’ve been a no brainer. I honestly had no idea who this guy even was, that is until I played against him every single game and I couldn’t get him out. It wasn’t until about win #40 when I woke up and bought him off the marketplace. 99% of the teams had switch hitting Ramirez at third, the other 1% used Eduardo Nunez (92 Speed). I had good success with Future Stars Orlando Arcia from the Brewers playing third. He has 88 fielding, good contact against both righties and lefties and solid speed. A very reliable bat at the end of the lineup when I needed a single.
Shortstop – At some point you were going to have to have a bronze or common player in your lineup, especially when you try and stack as many diamonds as possible. I saw many gamers put gold after gold player at shortstop and I don’t understand why. It’s a position thats number one responsibility is defense. In an event that is predicated by speed the biggest trait you need is arm strength. To hell with offense from this position, I need someone who will eat up every ball and gun down the fastest runners on routine grounders to short.
Enter Brendan Ryan. 67 overall, 93 fielding and 82 arm strength. While other players were wasting that spot with Jean Segura, Trea Turner or Elvis Andrus I was getting the same defensive production with 1/2 the rating. Unless you had Future Stars Amed Rosario or Diamond versions of Hanley or Larkin I wouldn’t have wasted the ratings capacity.
2nd Base – There’s a wealth of options here depending on your preference. The cool thing to do was use Dee Gordon who of course has blazing speed, a good glove and ridiculous contact ratings. Another option was 82 Rod Carew who has high contact and 92 speed but not nearly as good of a glove. If you’re rich Jose Altuve is in play as well as Jackie Robinson or Joe Morgan. I went with Future Stars Ozzie Albies who started off as a man possessed (was hitting .800 for the 1st 15 games) then cooled off. I loved his switch hitting ability and all around game. I also believe The Show stacked the Future Stars with “magic” during their initial release. He wasn’t great at anything but good at everything. As his magic wore off I used Jason Kipnis (wack) and Carew before settling with Gordon.
Outfield – Whatever floats your boat is the way to go in the outfield. There are options for any type of strategy. I would tailor this around who you have in inventory and what your strengths are. If you don’t steal bases then why both with Lou Brock or Billy Hamilton? That was the case with me so I opted for more power. Whatever you do choose I would recommend having at least two of your three outfielders with good defense. In other words don’t put Shawn Green next to Cliff Floyd that would be a mistake.
Super Speed: Lou Brock, Billy Hamilton, Jarrod Dyson, Kenny Lofton, Ben Revere, Tony Gwynn, Future Stars Byron Buxton, Mookie Betts,
Power: Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr, Breakout Steve Finley, George Springer, Breakout Curtis Granderson, Breakout Shawn Green,
Best of Both Worlds: Starling Marte, Charlie Blackmon, Lorenzo Cain, All Star Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran
Value: Michael Brantley, Kevin Kiermaier, Gregory Polanco, Odubel Herrera, Carlos Gomez
Starting Pitchers – Ultimately you need to go with whoever you are most comfortable with. There is nothing that is more important in this game than being 100% in control of a pitcher, their windup and their pitches. If a pitcher doesn’t have a delivery that you’re confident in then skip them. If a pitcher has a certain hitch or release point and you can’t throw the ball on command then skip them. If possible don’t select a starter who doesn’t have five pitches, you’ll need that extra variety when you don’t have A grade “stuff”. Remember you’re limited to bronze and common pitchers, the difference between a 79 and a 65 is not a much as you’d think.
You’re also dealing with an abbreviated three inning game so the life of the pitcher could be very limited. You’re going to pinch hit for him when his spot in the lineup comes around so you’re maybe looking at two innings max, usually 1+ innings. Similar to Battle Royal go as low as you can on rating here, don’t waste any more than you need on a starter. First off you have a one of five chance of getting the pitcher anyways so there are no guarantees. Also by having five common pitchers you give yourself more wiggle room in the bullpen which is 10x more critical.
An observation I made about half way through the event is the fact that the majority of players you see in the event are left handed; Lou Brock, Jacoby Ellsbury, Charlie Blackmon, Ken Griffey Jr, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew. Having left handed starting pitching can be extremely valuable if you pair up against a lefty heavy team. At a minimum I had two lefties in my rotation at all times, I flip flopped the final spot based on who was performing.
John Niese (L)
Jhoulys Chacin (R)
Chad Betts (R)
Wei Chun Wang (L) / Brandon Finegan (L) / Jerome Williams (R) / Dillon Gee (R)
Relief Pitchers – Much like a switch army knife have a tool for every situation. Be as diverse as you can in the bullpen because you never know what situation you’re going to be in. Every lineup and every game will yield a different need from your bullpen and if you stack yourself with four hard throwing right handed pitchers then may god have mercy on you if you face a strong left handed lineup.
Make sure you have the following checklist. If you can find pitchers who cross over between areas that’s even better. The most useful relievers for me were Jake Diekman (Lefty & Flame), Koda Glover (Flame & Junk), Luke Hochevar (Junk & Flame) and James Pazos (Lefty & Flame).
√ Lefty Specialist (x2): Rookie Billy Wagner, Jake Diekman, Tony Watson, James Pazos
√ Junk Baller: Luke Hochevar, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodney,
√ Flame Thrower: Koda Glover, Jeremy Jeffress, Joe Kelly, Matt Bush, AJ Ramos,
√ Second Starter: Francisco Liriano, Rookie Jack Morris, Tyler Chatwood
√ Commons (x2): Tom Wilhelmsen, Jake Petricka, Josh Osich
Show Me The Money or Rewards
So what do you get for two weeks of grinding? If you make it to the top of the mountain then a 96 Carlos Gonzalez is waiting for you. I thankfully made it there and he seems to be a great card. In his first game he went 2-for-2 with a HR and 2 RBI. That reward was well worth the hassle. I received nothing decent from the packs, my Future Star was a duplicate of Ozzie Albies so nothing amazing like a Julio Urias or Amed Rosario.
As for the ‘per event’ rewards I never really got close to sniffing 12 wins, the closest I came was 9. I would’ve loved that Manny Machado but I knew I never had a realistic shot so I can’t be upset leaving empty handed with that one. The Lewis Brinson I’ll stash in my inventory probably never to use in a game but hey it’s an 87 so I’ll take it.
50 Wins – Carlos Gonzalez (Breakout Flashback, 96)
30 Wins – Future Stars Pack
20 Wins – Guaranteed Gold Live Player
10 Wins – Guaranteed Silver Live Player
12 Wins Per Entry – Manny Machado (All Star Flashback, 96)
9 Wins per Entry – Lewis Brinson (Future Stars, 87)
6 Wins per Entry – Guaranteed Silver Live Player
3 Wins per Entry – Guaranteed Bronze Liver Player
*Double elimination. Unlimited entries (8/22 to 9/5)