I decided for my first Road to the Show career since MLB 11 to be a starting pitcher. While there are easier and quicker ways to make it to "the Show" and play out a career fairly quickly (a closing pitcher or a first baseman, for example), I decided why not go for the one thing I always dreamed of being: an ace of a pitching staff.
I was actually drafted by the Washington Nationals, who were pretty high on me, apparently. However, I felt that I would be a bit blocked by the fact that the Nationals have an amazing starting rotation, one that would have been pretty tough to crack. My first season at Double-A was fantastic. I was reaching at least 3 out of my 4 advancement goals during every "advancement period" and I was racking up tons of Training Points due to my stellar pitching performances.
In MLB 13: The Show, as it was in MLB 11, your training points are based on milestones and actual in-game performance. It pays to play your games out rather than simulate them because you get more points if you play well in game. I played probably my first 12-15 starts, up until the all-star break. I actually started the Double-A All-Star game which was pretty awesome. But before the end of July, the Nationals traded me at the deadline to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Michael Bourn.
At first, I was a bit confused, as Bourn is on the Cleveland Indians in real life. I then remembered that the stock rosters that come with the game had Michael Bourn in free agency. I had forgotten to use the updated roster that you download when you first install the game. This was actually great for me, since while the Royals rotation isn't the worst in 2013, I was pretty much instantly the best pitching prospect they had besides Danny Duffy.
My second year was in Omaha at AAA. I pitched pretty well for the Storm Chasers until in late May I got a fractured forearm and missed all but the last week of the season after that. I was put in the bullpen for the final week and the first round of the playoffs. I didn't really feel much like pitching out of the bullpen, though, and simulated all of my appearances We were out of the playoffs fairly quickly, and after having essentially a lost season, I felt that my third season would be a repeat of AAA.
A Surprise Start to My MLB Career!
In the offseason, the Royals acquired pitcher Max Scherzer from the Detroit Tigers. I'm not sure if it was a trade or if for some reason he ended up in free agency, as MLB 13 doesn't use the real player contracts and I can't recall if Scherzer's contract is up after 2014 (it might be!) In any case, I felt that this easily meant I was going back to AAA, as the Royals rotation of James Shields, Ervin Santana, Wade Davis, Jeremy Guthrie, and Guillermo Moscoso had done fairly well. However, Moscoso had only been so-so, and so in spring training 2015, the Royals decided to add me to the 40-man roster and give me a look.
My first spring start was rocky as I gave up 2 runs in 2 innings of work. My next two appearances were out of the bullpen, in which I gave up a few hits but no runs. However, my last two appearances of the spring were starts, and I got destroyed. I gave up 6 runs my first outing, and EIGHT runs during my second. I wasn't simulating them. I was simply getting annihilated for the first time in my career. I felt I pretty much blew my spring appearances, and was ready for a third season at AAA to prove myself and keep improving my stats.
Well, the season began and I wasn't in AAA. I was the #4 starter on the Royals. My first start was against the Los Angeles Angels, and surprisingly, I only gave up 2 runs and we won! I gave up 11 hits, though, and pitched out of many jams. However, upon inspecting my advancement goals, I discovered that while I had more than enough training points to improve on the ratings that they wanted me to, they demanded that in the next 7 series I could only give up 9 runs or fewer. That is, of course, an absolutely nutty goal. I was pretty sure I'd fail it, but since I could easily make three out of four, I decided I'd just give it a shot.
My second start was against the Atlanta Braves and they knocked me around a bit. I gave up 3 runs, one of which should NOT have been earned because the game decided to score a hit for what should have been an error on my third baseman, Mike Moustakas (who had been stellar defensively in my first game and during the spring). I was pulled after 6 mediocre innings, and we lost that game, I think 4-1.
My third start was against the Yankees. I honestly thought I would be pulverized. Turns out I only gave up 1 run in 7 innings as the Yankees offense wasn't as scary as I'd thought. I gave up tons of hits, but survived.
So in my fourth start, I felt that as long as I didn't give up four runs I was good. Well, the Tigers got 3 runs off of me very quickly, as Prince Fielder got both an RBI single and a 2-run homer off of me in the first 5 innings. For some inexplicable reason, though, I was pulled after the fifth inning, and the Royals came back and won. This worked to my advantage, though, as I passed that really difficult goal, as I didn't get a 5th start during that advancement period and was labeled "Over Achiever". So my MLB career has gotten off to a fantastic start after a lost AAA season and a horrible spring.
My Thoughts on the RTTS Mode
I really like the improvements that they made to the Road to the Show game mode. The advancement goals are far more reasonable than the ones in MLB 11 had been. You basically had to play on Rookie to do as well as they wanted you to! I play on Veteran in MLB 13, though I played on All-Star in previous MLB games.
I love how they improved the atmosphere of the game. The ball trail is neat, and although I'm not a huge fan of a ball trail in general, it's very useful in this game where the camera angles now follow your player rather than the ball and you can easily lose sight of where the ball is otherwise. They did a good job with this part. The base-running is simplified this year, but as a pitcher, I never got on much and seemed to always forget which direction I was supposed to move the analog stick, so I made a lot of dumb outs (heck, I'm a pitcher and hate base-running anyway!) But it's more straightforward than ever, which I'm glad they did.
I really like the Training Sessions that they give you throughout the season, but there's one in particular, the Pitch Location one, that I have a ton of trouble with. I can never seem to hit the spots that the game wants me to with my curveball (though my curveball is fine in actual games). I end up skipping that one all of the time now. But that's just because it asks you to throw a curveball at zones up in the strike zone, and it's pretty hard to throw a curveball UP in the zone and have it be accurate! Had they had me work on a different pitch, I'd do it, but it INSISTS on that same pitch every time so I just skip it. You don't get a ton of stat boosts out of those anyway. But they're fun, and they can help you if you do well.
Most of my issues with the mode are minor. I can't think of what they are off of the top of my head right now. If I had any real complaint, it's that they pretty much force you as a starting pitcher to go for a complete game, even after you're already tired in the seventh inning. I gave up some hits and runs that I shouldn't have had I been pulled when I should have (and these were games where my team had a huge lead!) I wouldn't mind this so much at the MLB level, but for a top pitching prospect to potentially hurt his arm throwing complete games that don't even matter at AA really bugs me. Pitcher mismanagement by the CPU is something I've seen in other parts of this game, though, so I'll deal with it. The fact I got through those complete games without getting injured is phenomenal, but incredibly lucky.
I really like this mode, and will be making a position player when I finish my Starting Pitcher's career. I may be a Catcher as I was in my first career mode from way back in MLB 07. It will take me awhile to get through games, though, as in this game, you actually call ALL of the pitches, which while very realistic, makes the games last quite a while!
I may have issues with the franchise mode, but this mode is pretty awesome, and I'm really enjoying it. If you're looking to have an MLB career on the Playstation 3 or Vita, this game is worth it just for that!