Major League Baseball’s Opening Day has begun, but gamers around the world hit the diamond on Tuesday when Sony’s MLB The Show 22 was released on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
Two Mountaineers, Toronto’s Alek Manoah and Baltimore’s John Means, begin the season on big league 40-man rosters, giving them both a prominent place in the game. Manoah has especially strong representation in the game’s Diamond Dynasty mode, in which gamers can collect, trade and earn players in the form of baseball cards to compete either online or against the AI.
In Diamond Dynasty, each player in the big leagues gets a base card (known as “live series”) which is assigned a level of rarity and can appreciate or depreciate depending on his real-life performance. Players can also get a special card with improved attributes, most often to commemorate a special achievement on the field.
Manoah starts the game as a gold player (the second-highest rarity, behind diamond) with an 81 overall rating, putting him on par with former All Stars Nathan Eovaldi, Lance McCullers Jr. and Jose Berrios. He throws a fastball up to 94 miles-per-hour, a 93 MPH sinker, a heavily-breaking slider and a circle-change, which is true to his real-life arsenal per Baseball Savant.
WVU’s single-season strikeouts leader gained a lot of buzz in his breakout rookie season, and in turn is a part of the mode’s Face of the Franchise promo in which 25 of the biggest stars in the majors were given 90-rated cards for gamers to earn. Manoah was featured as the Blue Jays’ representative, along with names like Ronald Acuna of the Braves, Mike Trout of the Angels and Rafael Devers of the Red Sox.
Means’s rating slips in this year’s edition of the game after finishing 2021 with two highly-rated special cards (both commemorating his no-hitter in May), starting with a 79-rated silver card at launch, a four-point drop. He has a four-pitch arsenal similar to Manoah’s, but throws a sweeping curve in place of a sinker, while his fastball touches 93 MPH — which, like Manoah, is nearly true-to-life.
Means is set to take the rubber to open Baltimore’s season Friday against Tampa Bay.
Ryan McBroom also makes an appearance in Diamond Dynasty as a free agent card. He holds a 68-rated bronze card with an above-average ability to hit left-handed pitchers.
In real life, however, McBroom will unlikely make an appearance in the majors as he competes with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball. In seven games, he has a .250 batting average, three RBIs and two doubles.
Two other Mountaineer starting pitchers appear in the game, but on minor league rosters.
Chad Donato, who pitched three seasons for the Mountaineers, starts the game on the Corpus Christi Hooks despite being on the roster of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Michael Grove also landed on a minor league team as a member of the Dodgers’ organization on the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.