The fate of the 2020 MLB season may hang in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the league will be taking to the field as usual in the world of mobile games, thanks to Glu Games’ MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020. Glu is also known for a varied range of titles, including the Deer Hunter series and different celebrity-themed games such as Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but they’ve always been a company with something for everyone, including Major League Baseball fans.
Just as always, this year’s version of MLB Tap Sports Baseball features real-life players and all 30 MLB teams, with various ways to play the game, may you be the type who prefers competing against other human managers or someone who’s okay playing against AI-controlled opponents.
Given the high-end graphics, tons of real-life MLB players, and all the various features included in the game — mostly old, but with a good number of new ones in this year’s version — this title won’t be easy to learn if you’re playing it for the first time. Returning players may find a lot to be familiar, but that’s no guarantee that getting back into the flow of things will be a walk in the park.
That is why we will be starting things out right at the very bottom with this MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 beginner’s guide, which is a guide designed for players who are still in the Beginner Division. We’re here to help you win your first few games and ensure your lineup remains competitive in the early goings, so read on and check the following tips out.
1. Getting Started In MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 – The Basics Of Batting
If you’ve played most previous titles from the MLB Tap Sports Baseball series, this part should be second nature for many of you. However, there are certainly quite a lot of you out there who may be playing the game for the first time, or playing it for the first time in quite a while, so read on for a basic idea of how MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 works.
Just like in previous iterations of MLB Tap Sports Baseball, there is no pitching required in this game. The AI does all the pitching and the fielding for both teams, and that should free you up to focus on what truly matters in just about every MLB Tap Sports Baseball game — timing your hits properly in order to avoid striking out and to increase your chances of getting a base hit. And when it comes to this facet of the game, the most basic thing to remember is that you should always, always keep your eye on the ball.
For the benefit of those who aren’t too familiar with baseball rules, the strike zone is the area that generally extends from a batter’s armpits to their knees. If the ball travels through this zone and you aren’t able to connect, that will automatically count as a strike — you are, of course, allowed only three of this per batter.
You should only swing at strikes, because if you swing on a ball — that is, when the ball travels to your far left or right and crosses over your shoulder — that is also going to count as a strike against you. Otherwise, it’s a ball, and pitchers can only throw four of these per batter before they get to “walk” — that’s a free pass to first base for the batter, and if someone’s already on base at that time, they get to advance.
Keeping your eyes on the ball and knowing when and when not to swing is one thing — timing your swing is another. It may take a good deal of practice, even if you’re controlling a batter who’s got a huge statistical edge over the pitcher, but as you keep playing, you’ll know how to time your swing properly so that when you do, the ball will either hit the ground before the defense can successfully field it, or better yet, fly past the fences for a home run. Tapping too soon or too late would have multiple outcomes. First, there’s the ground ball — this happens when the ball slowly rolls along the ground in a motion so deliberate and lazy it’s easily fielded before the batter can reach first base.
A foul ball happens when the ball travels along foul territory — this counts as a strike in the first two instances. Finally, if you “line out” or “pop out,” that means the ball is respectively fielded after it travels horizontally or vertically in the air and into the hands of a player on defense.
Less common than those outcomes is the “foul tip,” which happens when the bat comes in contact with the ball, but just enough for the catcher to legally catch the ball. As this always counts as a strike, it is possible to strike out on a foul tip!
2. Game And Team Structure
Now that we’re done with that rules-heavy tip on how to swing your bat, let’s talk about how the games work — choosing your favorite team, as usual, does not at all mean you will be controlling the 2020 lineup of your chosen club. That means you likely won’t be seeing Stephen Strasburg on your pitching rotation if you choose the Washington Nationals, and you likely won’t get to bat as Anthony Rendon if you choose his new team, the Los Angeles Angels.
First-timers always start out with a team of random scrub-level players from various real-life teams, though if you played the previous year’s edition, you have the option to import your team into MLB Tap Sports Baseball’s 2020 version. The catch here is that they will be substantially weaker than they were when you last controlled them, so as not to give you an unfair advantage over the competition!
Almost all non-Season Mode games in MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 are played against other human managers, may you be playing a real-time game where you need to wait for the other manager to finish their half of the inning before you bat again, or a “bonus” game, which is a game where the AI controls a human-managed club for faster gameplay that can be completed in an instant.
The only exception here are the playoff games that will determine whether you can move on to the next tier of competition — your playoff opponents are AI-controlled versions of the real-life MLB teams and their 2020 lineups, and they will always have an overall team strength that’s appropriate for the tier you’re currently playing in. All games last a full nine innings, with extra innings coming into play if you’re both tied at the bottom of the ninth.
To add to what we said above, regular games cannot, for the very reason that they take place in real-time, be simulated in any way, shape, or form. This sets them apart from bonus games, where you can simulate any, or even all nine innings, though we wouldn’t recommend this if you’re up against a particularly tough opponent. When it comes to playoff games, they can mostly be simulated if you’ve got a comfortable lead (or are getting trashed by the AI-controlled opponent), but if the game is close, the onus will be on you to swing that bat and manually control your team.
3. Improve Your Players Through Draft Picks
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can make your team better now that you know you’re going to be starting with a rather weak, underwhelming group of players. You’re going to want to improve your starting lineup and your pitching rotation first and foremost, and the first way to do this would be through draft picks. As you can see in the store, it’s the #1 Draft Picks that give you the best chance of improving your team, as you would get a guaranteed three-star player.
First-Round Draft Picks are “great players with potential,” as the game says, Second-Round Draft Picks promise “someone solid” with the chance of some “upside,” and Late-Round Draft Picks are long shots who may likely become fodder for leveling up your top players (more on that later) but just might turn out to be worth keeping. It’s very similar to how real-life drafts work — the top pick almost always becomes a star on some level, while the late-rounders only occasionally turn out to be diamonds in the rough.
Now there are a few caveats to the drafting mechanic in MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020. First off, you cannot actually choose the player you will be drafting. You’ll get a random player at a random position, and if you don’t have anyone competent starting at that position, they’re sure to assume the starting role in your next games.
Secondly, the #1 and First-Round Picks cost gold — your premium currency — with the former costing 300 gold a pop and the latter worth 100 gold. However, there are ways to get more draft picks without paying, and there are also ways to get a do-over if you get a player you don’t need.
We would advise you to turn your notifications on, especially at this point where people around the world are being asked to stay home due to the coronavirus. Glu has been nice enough to offer extra rewards — including draft picks — during these trying times, so make sure you’ve got your notifications active. You can claim these freebies simply by starting the game, as that will immediately take you to your Inbox and the Gifts section if you’ve got some rewards waiting. Don’t wait too long, though, as rewards typically expire in 24 hours!
In addition, first-time players of MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 will get a welcoming (or welcome-back) gift from Glu that includes several free draft picks, including six #1’s. That’s one great way to get the season (at least, the in-game one) off on the right foot!
As for redoing your draft picks, all you need to do is to watch an ad video, if available, after making your selection. This can be very helpful for those times when you’re adding the nth middle reliever to your club (unfortunately, MRs are still very, very common) and desperately need to add some pop to your batting order. Of course, you won’t be guaranteed a chance at getting someone more useful, but if it’s any consolation, we are going to be talking later on about what you can do to those surplus players and how this can help your team.
4. Open The Mystery Boxes And Limited-Edition Boxes (Especially If Free)
In the Store menu, you’ll see the Mystery Boxes sub-menu from second to left on the upper part of the screen — tap on it and you will be taken to a variety of boxes that come with a wide variety of freebies packed inside. You may get XP, EVO Tokens, cash, gold, and various other resources, and on some occasions, you just might end up with a new player to add to your team.
These would normally be limited to just one free pull a day and wouldn’t cost that much if you’re trying to open another box, but that also means you shouldn’t expect any big-time rewards in most cases. However, MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 also has some limited-edition boxes that normally cost more to open, but sometimes are offered for free (if Glu’s feeling generous) as one of the aforementioned incentives for players to stay home!
For the 2020 season, Glu has launched the Handsome Hair and Beard Boxes, and with barbershops around the world closed due to social distancing guidelines in the time of coronavirus, it is probably just apropos that the company is paying tribute to the best longhairs of the MLB world (Bryce Harper, Noah Syndergaard, etc.), as well as the top-tier players with the best beards. These would normally cost a lot of gold to open (Handsome Hair costs 500 gold, Beard Box 250), but you may occasionally get one for free — as we found out, we were able to get some highly-rated players with our random pulls!
5. Level Up Your Better Players
Once you’ve drafted players and come up with a lineup solid enough to get promoted to the Beginner division, the next step, of course, would be work on improving the players you currently have. You would, however, want to avoid upgrading players willy-nilly — instead, you’ll need to take a look at the number of stars and the overall rating for each player. Leveling up a player costs cash (the common currency) and XP alike, and it’s all too common for players to run out of both resources (or run low) before they know it.
There’s no need at all to upgrade someone with only a star and a half, because they’re not going to get much better and won’t really have much use — if any at all — on your team, even if they’re leveled up to their full potential. One way to find out whether a player is worth leveling up or not is to tap on the small “i” to the left of their photo. This will take you to their Player Info card, which includes the Max Overall rating next to the number of stars. If this stat is below 100, they’re probably not worth the upgrade.
6. Don’t Forget Those Team Upgrades Either
Aside from upgrading individual players, you can also go to the Upgrades section under Team and hire/improve your team’s “coaching staff.” Now this isn’t an actual coaching staff like the one you may see at real-life MLB games — in the world of MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020, it’s best to think of these “coaches” as permanent buffs that could help your entire club improve in specific areas.
For example, the Hitting Coach allows your team to get more hits — at level 1, that’s just 1 percent more hits, but the effect will progressively become more visible as you keep leveling up the Hitting Coach. Pitch Calling, to offer an example from the defensive side of things, improves your strikeout rate, starting out at 1.2 percent more strikeouts at level 1 and increasing by increments of 1.2 percent with each successive upgrade.
Unlike the player upgrades, team upgrades only cost cash, with no other form of currency/resource involved. You can also pay gold in order to level up one of your current buffs/coaches, but we would not recommend doing this unless you are both low in cash and rich in gold. It may only cost a few units at first, but things could easily pile up, given the progressively increasing cost of these upgrades as you move from level to level.
While you’re in the Beginner and Novice Divisions, the only buffs available to you would be the ones that improve your offensive and defensive performance — for the former, that generally means better batting and more base hits, and for the latter, that doesn’t just cover pitching but also fielding for both your infield and outfield. Once you reach Amateur, however, you will be able to upgrade your team’s Intangibles, which would include clutch performance — this should come in handy for anyone with a team that tends to lose a lot of games in the final three innings!
7. How To Get More Cash, Gold And XP – Achievements And Trade-Ins
As you can see, the three main resources in MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 are the same as they have been for the past few years — cash, gold, and XP. Cash and XP are generally used for leveling up players/team upgrades for the former and gold can be used for buying #1 Draft Picks, among other premium goodies. So how can you get more of each resource without having to part ways with your real-life money via an in-app purchase?
For the first two resources, we would suggest completing more Achievements — you can view the list of Achievements by tapping on the button of the same name on the Games menu. Once there, you can view a list of tasks that can either earn you bonus cash or gold once you complete them. For example, you may need to rack up a certain number of runs scored, hits in a game, home runs, runs, doubles, or walks. You may also be asked to play a certain number of games or pick up a specific number of wins.
Elsewhere, you may see tasks asking you to improve a given number of players to Bronze Level 10, purchase so many Late Round Draft Picks, or complete certain single-player goals for the statistics we mentioned above and many more. These are all things you can achieve organically, but it always helps to take a look at the individual Achievements and the corresponding rewards so you have a good idea of what to aim for the next time you play a game.
As for XP, here’s what you probably have been waiting for since a few tips ago. We promised there would be a use for those players who aren’t good enough to start for you, and you will find that by going to the Team menu, then tapping on Trade-In on the upper part of the screen. Once there, you will see a list of inactive players, each of whom has a corresponding value in XP that you will get in exchange once you “sacrifice” them via trade-in. You can either trade them in individually, or hit the Trade In All Inactive button and get a whole bunch of XP for everyone in the inactive list.
As you can only hold so many inactive players (initially, you’re limited to 60), it’s recommended that you trade in players as often as possible — this will only benefit your team’s stars, as more XP means more chances to level them up!
And with that we wrap up this MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 beginner’s guide. Stay tuned, as we will come back with more tips and tricks for the game soon!