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MLB The Show 18 Road to the Show guide: How to create the perfect player

San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

MLB The Show 18’s centerpiece mode is Road to the Show (RTTS). In it, players create a single player, and over the course of numerous seasons, develop him into a Major League player and possibly an all-star and a superstar.

Creating a player can be a time-intensive process, and you can make choices that you later regret. This guide is meant to give you:

  • Some tips and tricks for player creation
  • Some advice on how to select a position, and what the new progression system means for it
  • How to get started on your pro career in the shortest time
  • How to create the best prospect beginning his minor league career

What about importing a player from a past edition of MLB The Show?

MLB The Show has been the rare sports franchise whose career saves have been portable to the next edition of the game since MLB 15 The Show. If you do this, you’ll simply pick up right where you left off, with all of his gear and his attributes intact. However, because of the new progression system in MLB The Show 18, any of his attributes that are over the new limits imposed will slowly recede to the new level caps in place, and then players will only be able to maintain them at the attribute cap.

We think that makes starting over with a new player a more interesting option, even if we have some criticisms of how progression is sometimes handled.

Country Breakfast Zaun, MLB The Show 18, Road to the Show San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

1. Player Creation

This is always a tradeoff between spending the time to nail every detail and just getting out on the field to play ball. MLB The Show 18 has the same dizzying array of uniform customizations, walk-up music options, pitching motions and hitting swings, and not a lot of help speeding up the process.

Focus on the big details, such as how you look, and deal with the minutiae later. You can change any cosmetic detail (including your height and weight) a later time. The only details you can’t change after leaving the player creation menu are your player’s birthplace and his primary position, or his initial three pitches if you selected a starting or closing pitcher as his position.

If you’re not a good character artist or you don’t care about looking like yourself in the game, there are 49 preset head shapes, and the ability to randomize facial features (and all other body components) by repeatedly pressing square until you see something you like.

A note about swings and windups: There are 646 pitching delivery motions and 1,216 batting stances in this game (with a new toolkit for tinkering with the stances, even).

Many of these motions have generic names (for players no longer in the league to whom The Show does not have a right to use their likeness). If you know the number of a swing you’ve used in the past, it may still be in this game under that number. These sometimes change as they add more.

One idea is simply to Google the quality that most describes your player, like “best left-handed curveball” or “best opposite field hitter.” Then go into the catalog of batting stances or pitching motions and use that one. If the player is active, they will be in this game with their pitching or batting motions.

Another option in player creation, if you’re a perfectionist who can’t begin unless everything is perfect, is to use the create-a-player tool in the main menu and work in him in stages as you do other things in the game.

Then he may be imported into Road to the Show via the “Mimic MLB Option,” provided he has been placed on a Major League club in the roster file you are using.

Why do this?

  • If you’re a perfectionist who can’t work on everything start to finish, you can work on him in stages, saving your progress and coming back, as you do other things in the game.
  • You could create a player with optimal attributes for another mode, yet still develop him in RTTS.
  • You can use him as a template if you want to start over or create multiple RTTS players who all look like him.
Meeting with the Scouting Bureau rep in MLB The Show 18’s Road to the Show
San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

2. How to choose your position

In MLB The Show 18 Road to the Show, you choose your position when you create the player. But because of how the progression system has changed, you could find yourself making a key decision about your player’s skills after you’ve picked his position, which you cannot change.

So that makes understanding this choice very important.

Because after the Bowman Scout Day the mode is over, you will be approached by a scout who, in an interview format, asks you to describe your style of play.

What you are actually doing is picking an “archetype” for him; a set of strengths and weaknesses. Here they are by position category.

Infielders and outfielders

For infielders and outfielders (not starting pitchers or relief pitchers) if you chose a position that doesn’t correspond to one of these archetypes, you will be asked if you’re sure about this.

You can still continue with this unorthodox makeup, but your specialties may not be showcased by your role on the diamond.

Infield positions, which include catcher, have six archetypes. These descriptions are to help you make your choice:

  • Bat First: The triple-crown hitting option who can’t run a lick and doesn’t field, though he has a good arm.
  • Power Corner: Slow but talented fielders, they have strong power attributes at the plate.
  • Field General: They will have a nice clutch batting attribute but will be much slower to develop on offense. Really only interesting if you like calling the game as a catcher.
  • Mr. Reliable: A generalist who sacrifices power for good contact and a great throw.
  • Good Hands: If you enjoy fielding and hitting for contact, this is a good category to take.
  • Wizard: Their only batting talent is bunting, though they are a threat on the basepaths. Take this one only if you really like defense at the middle infield.

Outfield positions in MLB The Show 18 have four archetypes. This is what they’re like:

  • Ball Hawk: This is the defense-first counterpart to a Wizard, if you enjoy defense and baserunning.
  • Solid Option: The direct counterpart to Mr. Reliable.
  • Defensive Cannon: Has some nice pop in his bat and an equally big arm but lacks speed, so consider its effect on your range in the outfield.
  • Powerhouse: Like Bat First, the triple-crown hitting option who isn’t expected to be a fielding asset.

Here are all of the infielder and outfielder starting and maximum attributes in a screencap gallery:

If you’re dedicated to a position more than a style of play, this is what is available, position by position (fielders and hitters, not pitchers):

  • Catcher: Bat First, Mr. Reliable, Field General
  • First base: Bat First, Power Corner, Mr. Reliable
  • Second base: Mr. Reliable, Good Hands, Wizard
  • Shortstop: Mr. Reliable, Good Hands, Wizard
  • Third base: Bat First, Power Corner, Mr. Reliable, Good Hands, Field General
  • Right Field: Solid Option, Defensive Cannon, Powerhouse
  • Center Field: Ball Hawk, Solid Option
  • Left Field: Ball Hawk, Solid Option, Defensive Cannon, Powerhouse

If you’re also optimizing for secondary positions at character creation, this is the suggested archetype that accommodates it, so that if you are moved to your secondary position it’s still a believable role in MLB The Show 18.

The secondary outfield position is matched to an infield archetype, and vice versa.

  • Catcher: Solid Option
  • First base: Solid Option
  • Second base: Ball Hawk, Solid Option
  • Shortstop: Solid Option, Defensive Cannon
  • Third base: Solid Option, Defensive Cannon
  • Right Field: Power Corner, Mr. Reliable. Field General
  • Center Field: Mr. Reliable, Wizard
  • Left Field: Bat First, Power Corner, Good Hands, Field General


If you pick a starting pitcher, you only get three categories:

  • Flame Thrower: If you want to overwhelm hitters with speed and aren’t worried about pitches that need a lot of break to be effective, go here.
  • Control Freak: If you prize pitch location over generating swings and misses, and accept that your strikeout total will not be as impressive, take Control Freak.
  • Plain Filthy: More of a junkball counterpart to Flame Thrower substituting breaking pitches for heat. Use him if there’s a weird breaking ball you like to throw.

And two for relief pitchers:

  • Rock Star: Throws hard. Changes speed by throwing harder, so don’t bother selecting an offspeed pitch other than a slider. Decent control.
  • The Trickster: The inverse of the Rock Star, sort of like Plain Filthy except with a strong Pitching Clutch (pitching with runners on base) attribute.

Here are all of their attributes in a screencap gallery:

Now that you have created your player, he will go through an evaluation process that leads to a simulation of the Major League Baseball Draft, sending you to your new club.

3. The Bowman Scout Day, Topps Amateur Showcase and the MLB Draft

There are two very important things to know going in:

  • There is no way to choose the team you play on. This had been an option in past editions of MLB The Show. Not here.
  • Your performance in both the Scout Day and the Prospect Showcase games will not affect your attributes, only your draft position, and even then, minimally. We had great tryouts with pitchers and hitters (with very high scouting marks) and never went higher than the 21st round.

This effectively creates two choices in MLB The Show 18.

Start your pro career immediately and develop entirely in the minor leagues

If so, do your best in the Scouting Day exercises and the two Showcase Games and hope for the best. You can also just breeze through the Scouting Day and simulate the two games, because you will likely not go anywhere near the first 10 rounds of the draft.

Start in the minor leagues with a leg up in some attributes

You can hold out of the MLB Draft a maximum of four times, each time going to college for a year to focus on one of three areas of development. However, when you return, you will have to repeat both the Bowman Scout Day and the Topps Amateur Showcase.

When you hold out, you will be asked to focus on one of three areas, all related to some strength of your archetypes. This will distribute a total of +6 in improvements across two or more attributes. (If you have the option to improve speed, it will add +3 to base stealing, +3 to baserunner aggressiveness and +1 to speed). Your overall player rating will see an incremental boost. (Players start out at a 50 or 51 overall rating.)

When you come back to the tryout and showcase, your draft grade will not improve and your draft position will decrease. If you stay in college all four years, you will probably go in the 31st round. However, this has no effect on your ability to advance in the minor leagues. Holding out all full years will give you a player who is 22 and not 18, but this only matters if you’re trying for a 20-year career.

Regardless of your path, there’s another reason to consider simulating all of your Amateur Showcase games. If you are starting the game fresh and playing on Dynamic Difficulty — where the difficulty for hitting, pitching and fielding start at the easiest levels and scale up as you do better — you want to save those games played on the lower difficulty for your first days in the minors. You can rack up some huge gains for your player as you work your way up to a properly challenging setting. Don’t waste your progression in Dynamic Difficulty on games that do not help your player.

In any case, after you’ve been drafted, you begin the 2018 season with that team’s Double-A affiliate.

Congratulations, you are now a professional baseball player!

San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

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