MLB The Show 21: Complete Controls Guide

MLB The Show 21 is out now and is the first major sports title of 2021.

There are plenty of new features to get used to even for Show veterans, so it's important to get a good grasp of the game's controls across pitching, batting, fielding, and base running.

With that in mind, here is our complete MLB The Show 21 controls guide.

Latest - Game Update 4 Makes Big Changes

MLB The Show 21 Game Update 4 is coming with some important changes to the game for players from all game modes.

MLB The Show 21 batting hitting gameplay mike trout
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BOMBS AWAY: A big new update is coming for MLB The Show 21

For starters, MLB The Show 21 sliders are being changed to reduce XP gains when changing in-game details.

Read over the full MLB The Show 21 Update 1.04/1.004/1.37 patch notes below:

  • Fixed a crash that would happen after opening presentations in RTTS and Franchise
  • Changes made to sliders – gameplay sliders now cut XP by 50% instead of 100%. Non-gameplay sliders do not impact XP
  • Moved the All-Star game to Colorado
  • Audio fixes for loanDepot Park

Pitching Controls

For those looking to do damage from the pitching mound, here are the MLB The Show 21 pitching controls.

MLB The Show 21 pitching controls
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FIRST DEFENSE: Good pitching can change everything

When facing the batter and ready to pitch, your pitching controls line up as follows:

  • Pitch Out: PlayStation - L1 + X | Xbox - LB + A
  • Intentional Walk: PlayStation - L1 + O | Xbox - LB + B
  • Selecting Pitches: PlayStation - ▢ , △ , O , X | Xbox - X, Y, B, A
DON'T SLEEP: There's more to running the mound than the pitch
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DON'T SLEEP: There's more to running the mound than the pitch

After you select your pitch, you have many more options to make a play as a pitcher in MLB The Show 21 - and these are your controls:

  • Pitch Ball: PlayStation - X | Xbox - A
  • Request Catcher's Pitch Call/Pitch History: PlayStation - R2 | Xbox - RT
  • View Defensive Positioning and Ratings: PlayStation - RS | Xbox - RS
  • Position Ball in the Zone: PlayStation - LS | Xbox - LS
  • Look at Runner: PlayStation - L2 | Xbox - LT
  • Deceptive Move: PlayStation - (HOLD) L2 + O, ▢, △ | Xbox - (HOLD) LT +B, X, Y
  • Slide Step with Runners on Base: PlayStation - L2 + X | Xbox - LT + X
  • Pickoff to Each Base: PlayStation - L2 + O, ▢, △ | Xbox - LT + B, X, Y
  • Step Off Mound: PlayStation - L1 | Xbox - LB

Batting/Hitting Controls

Doing damage in the batter's box is massively important, so you should take your time to master batting in MLB The Show 21.

MLB The Show 21 hitting batting controls how to check swing
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SLUGGER: Own home plate with these controls + honing timing

These are your tools for challenging pitchers at the plate when the pitch arrives.

  • Aim Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI): PlayStation - LS | Xbox - LT
  • Drag Bunt: PlayStation - △ (Press Late) | Xbox - Y (Press Late)
  • Sacrifice Bunt: PlayStation - △ (Press Early and Hold) | Xbox - Y (Press Early and Hold)
  • Power Swing: PlayStation - ▢ | Xbox - X
  • Contact Swing: PlayStation - O | Xbox - B
  • Normal Swing: PlayStation - X | Xbox - A
MLB The Show 21 bunting controls
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TRICKY MOVES: Bunts can be the perfect unexpected move

These controls impact how you bunt.

  • Cancel Current Influence: PlayStation - LS (Push Up) | Xbox - LS (Push Up)
  • Influence a Drag Bunt: PlayStation - LS (Pull Left) | Xbox - LS (Pull Left)
  • Influence a Push Bunt: PlayStation - LS (Pull Right) | Xbox - LS (Pull Right)

Baserunning Controls

Batting is only half of the job, and to score runs, you'll have to run the bases to get it done.

MLB The Show 21 baserunning controls default
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KEEP CONTROL: Manage your runners on plate while batting with these controls

These controls allow you to manage baserunners from the batters box.

  • Steal All Runners: PlayStation - L2 | Xbox - LT
  • Steal Individual Runner: PlayStation - L2 + LS (direction of runner) | Xbox - LT + LS (direction of runner)
  • Steal Early: PlayStation - L2 (Hold and Release) | Xbox - LT (Hold and Release)
  • Lead Off All Runners: PlayStation - L1 | Xbox - LB
  • Lead Off Individual Runner: PlayStation - L1 + LS (direction of runner) | Xbox - LB + LS (direction of runner)
  • Advance/Return Individual Runner: PlayStation - O, ▢, △ + LS (direction of runner)
  • Stop Runner: PlayStation - R2 | Xbox - RT
  • Return All Runners: PlayStation - R1 | Xbox - RB
  • Return Individual Runner: PlayStation - R1 + LS (direction of runner) | Xbox - RB + LS (direction of runner)
MLB The Show 21 baserunning sliding controls
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MOMENT TO MOMENT: Make the big play by mastering sliding

In a pinch, these controls will help you slide into a base and challenge defenders.

  • Sliding in Player Lock (when using Analog Baserunning): PlayStation - L1 (Hold) | Xbox - LB (Hold)
  • Sliding in Player Lock (when using Buttons Baserunning): PlayStation - LS (Any Direction) | Xbox - LS (Any Direction)
  • Sliding Feet First (Home Plate): PlayStation - LS (Down) | Xbox - LS (Down)
  • Sliding Straight Head First (Home Plate): PlayStation - LS (Up) | Xbox - LS (Up)
  • Sliding Wide Right Feet First (Home Plate): PlayStation - LS (Down Right) | Xbox - LS (Down Right)
  • Sliding Wide Right Head First (Home Plate): PlayStation - LS (Up Right) | Xbox - LS (Up Right)
  • Sliding Straight Feet First (Bases): PlayStation - LS (Down) | Xbox - LS (Down)
  • Sliding Straight Head First (Bases): PlayStation - LS (Up) | Xbox - LS (Up)
  • Hook to the Left (Bases): PlayStation - LS (Left) | Xbox - LS (Left)
  • Hook to the Right (Bases): PlayStation - LS (Right) | Xbox - LS (Right)

Fielding Controls

Defense is much deeper than pitching, so keeping up your fielding skills is very important.

MLB The Show 21 fielding controls
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MAKE THE PLAY: Making the right throw is vital in MLB The Show 21
  • Switch to Closest Player (Without Ball): PlayStation - L2 | Xbox - LT
  • Throw to Cutoff: PlayStation - L1 | Xbox - LB
  • Move Player: PlayStation - LS | Xbox - LS
  • Dive: PlayStation - R2 | Xbox - RT
  • Jump: PlayStation - R1 | Xbox - RB
  • Throw to 1st Base: PlayStation - O | Xbox - B
  • Throw to 2nd Base: PlayStation - △ | Xbox - Y
  • Throw to 3rd Base: PlayStation - ▢ | Xbox - X
  • Throw to Home Plate: PlayStation - X | Xbox - A
  • Jump/Dive: PlayStation - RS | Xbox - RS

How to do Check Swings

Check swings have been a major feature in previous years, but Sony San Diego took in feedback about the issues it's had in the past and made some changes.

MLB The Show 21 check swing
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IT'S ON YOU: User input plays a massive role in check swings

While exact input controls for check swings won't be known until the game is released, we know that the player's discipline rating is no longer a factor, and check swings will rely entirely on user input and skill.

READ MORE: MLB The Show 21 Road to the Show: Guides, New Features & more

How does PAR (Perfect Accuracy Region) work?

PAR was one of the major pitching upgrades revealed in the Hitting and Pitching Feature Premiere, and this advanced preview helps players determine the likelihood their pitches will land where intended.

MLB The Show 21 PAR pitching
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PLANNING AHEAD: PAR gives pitchers a better idea of where pitches may land

This will ultimately depend on your accuracy when executing the pitching, but PAR allows players to know how effective a pitch is likely to be based on the pitcher's own skill, stamina, and other factors.

READ MORE: MLB The Show 21 Franchise Mode: Guides, New Features & more

Pinpoint Pitching Gesture Controls

The most exciting new gameplay system in MLB The Show 21 is Pinpoint Pitching, and this new gesture-based gameplay will be a definite challenge.

MLB The Show 21 pinpoint pitching controls
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NEW TRICKS: Pinpoint Pitching is a new style in MLB The Show 21

So far, we know that gestures will vary based on pitch type, and there will be a combination of input timing combined with the accuracy of the gesture itself using the analog sticks.

We'll have more details on Pinpoint Pitching controls in MLB The Show 21 when the game is released.

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