June 3, 2023 by Cory Dell
It’s Friday which means another content drop in MLB The Show 23. This week brings another Diamond Duos Pack along with the usual Topps Now content. On top of that, we celebrate Lou Gehrig Day with some goodies inspired by The Iron Horse, including a free Incognito version of the man himself.
Tarik Skubal is one of the more exciting young pitchers in baseball today. He gets a 99 overall Kaiju card in this pack drop and adds another option to the lefty-starter pool. Is he a good option?
Well, not according to Meta Overall. Skubal’s Meta Overall rating of 89.65 ranks him as the 32nd best SP in the game right now. The surface level attributes are decent enough. Skubal has 103 H/9 and 108 BB/9 which is always great to see on a pitcher. However, Skubal’s Clutch rating of 92 lessens his effectiveness with runners on.
With attributes like that, what makes a SP rank so low? The pitch mix isn’t exactly the greatest. Skubal does have a primary Slider which is a pretty hard Slider at 90 MPH with 99 Control. It has fairly mediocre Break at 82 which already starts to explain the low Meta Overall. Skubal throws a 4-Seamer and Sinker that are both solid enough in Velocity and Control/Break. A Circle-Change that offers decent speed differential from the fastballs also has 96 Break which should give it some good depth, but Skubal’s 5th pitch is a mediocre 12-6 Curveball that you’ll probably never throw in key situations.
Overall, Kaiju Tarik Skubal’s Meta Overall rating is less than flattering. On paper, this looks like a SP that will either get rocked by a good hitter or someone that can get you through four or five innings before needing to be pulled. Pitchers with primary breaking balls are always at least interesting so it’ll be interesting to see if Skubal ends up outplaying his attributes and Meta Overall.
One of the most popular players in Diamond Dynasty gets his first 99 overall of the year and it’s a doozy. Honus Wagner, also known as The Flying Dutchman, sails into the meta with a ridiculously good card. Known for elite contact, elite Speed and extreme positional flexibility; Wagner delivers on all fronts with this Incognito card.
Primarily a SS, Wagner ranks out as the 6th best pure SS according to Meta Overall with a rating of 100.29. 118/114 Contact versus L/R respectively, 82/78 Power versus L/R respectively and a Clutch rating of 125 makes Wagner an offensive demon at the SS position. Wagner also possess stock 90 Fielding with a strong and accurate arm and wraps up his offerings with 92 Speed and 99 Stealing. Considering Wagner also has an amazing swing – this is easily one of the best SS in the game.
We’re not done there, though. Wagner can play every position on the diamond except Catcher or Pitcher and his offensive prowess and Speed rank him as one of the better options at nearly every position. In terms of pure value and versatility, I’m not sure there’s a better card in the game. At worst, Wagner can be an exceptionally valuable bench piece that can pinch run or pinch hit in key situations and give you an incredible shot at success.
The final Topps Now drop of May landed and brought some interesting names to the table. While these are still low-to-mid Diamonds, the name value at least brings more flair this week. Baltimore Orioles Rookie Gunnar Henderson gets a 92 overall offering which will be easier to obtain than buying the Ranked reward from the marketplace. Reds’ star Jonathan India gets a 94 overall that should make plenty of players happy as India has typically had a decent swing in The Show. Phillies’ SP Zack Wheeler gets a 95 overall that might actually get some run in Ranked with his elite stuff and funky wind-up.
Most interestingly, perhaps, is the 94 overall RP Jhoan Duran.
This card will almost certainly be a bullpen mainstay for quite a while. Topps Now Duran features 116 H/9 and 112 Clutch which are huge for a RP. You can knock this card for its 80 BB/9, but that’s actually fairly decent for a RP with mega-stuff. Speaking of mega-stuff – this card is bonkers. Duran features an Outlier 4-Seam Fastball AND an Outlier Splitter. The fastball is fairly straight with 84 Break and has 83 Control which obviously will cause some issues, especially considering the BB/9 attribute. But still – Outlier fastball. The Splitter is a hard Splitter at 92 MPH and features 90 Break. The big problem here is the 65 Control. Duran also possesses a 12-6 Curveball that actually has decent Control at 85 and rounds out his arsenal with a hard Slider that hits 90 MPH but has a dismal 54 Control and 68 Break.
Obviously we talk a lot about Meta Overall here and Duran’s rating of 87.78 is no where near the top of the list for RP. However, Duran’s funky release and overpowering stuff will probably help him outplay his Meta Overall rating. At worst, this is someone you can use as an Opener or keep in the depths of your bullpen to throw at lesser-skilled hitters.
After notching his 400th career Save, Craig Kimbrel gets a Milestone card added in the Topps Now program. Obtainable at the end of the Topps Now grind for May, Kimbrel owns what just might be the best card art in the history of the game. Similar to the Milestone Kenley Jansen released previously, this card is completely free within the program.
How good is he? According to his Meta Overall rating of 93.70, Kimbrel is the 13th best RP/CP in the game.
Somewhat disappointingly, Kimbrel does not get Outlier on his fastball. Still, the 4-Seamer is elite and will still touch 100 MPH and comes with 96 Control and 99 Break. Kimbrel’s trademark Knuckle-Curve features 90 Control and 99 Break and comes in at 85 MPH, creating a nice differential from the hard stuff. Interestingly, Milestone Kimbrel gets a Sinker and a Slider that are both pretty mediocre pitches overall. The Sinker does not have Outlier which might give it some separation from the 4-Seamer and almost act as a faux-Changeup, but the 83 Control and 78 Break don’t bring much to the table. The Slider sits at 92 MPH with awful Control at 68 and mediocre Break at 72. Sliders are much more effective in this game than any Curveball, so the fact that Milestone Kimbrel can at least throw something with that plane of break is great. But the reliability of this pitch will be nearly non-existent which helps play into Kimbrel’s somewhat low Meta Overall.
Still, this is a free 99 overall CP that throws pure gas with 125 H/9, 125 K/9 and 125 Clutch. He’ll certainly be worth a shot in your bullpen but your mileage will vary.
June 2nd is Lou Gehrig Day and MLB The Show 23 celebrates the iconic slugger with a special Lou Gehrig Day Pack in the Show Shop. Included in the pack is a Lou Gehrig Day bat skin, a Lou Gehrig Day Bat Grip and a free Incognito series “The Iron Horse” card.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – no, this Gehrig card is not very good at all. It’s a 97 overall and comes out when there’s already a 99 overall available in the game. Let’s also keep in mind that this is meant to celebrate Gehrig and is another free Set 2 card that will help you complete the Set 2 collections even faster. You don’t even have to grind for this card. You literally just “purchase” the free pack in the Show Shop and the card is yours.
For those that might not have a steady hand at 1B, this card might end up seeing the field after all. For most of us this card is simply binder fodder but I’ll take free cards every day of the week. The fact that it comes in remembrance of one of baseball’s most iconic legends is icing on the cake. Simply because it’s what we do here, I’ll point out that this lower-rated Gehrig is still the 14th best 1B in the game with a Meta Overall rating of 100.31.
Finally, the content wrap-up is complete with the return of Double XP and a June Stub sale. Double XP Days began Friday and will run through June 5th. Hopefully you have some time to take advantage and gain some serious ground in the XP Reward Path!
Additionally, the Stub Sale is available on all platforms and ranges from 10%-30% off. The sale ends June 8th.
Cory is a freelance writer that currently features for Operation Sports and ShowZone and has dabbled in streaming from time to time. Cory has been a diehard Atlanta Braves fan since birth and has tortured neighbors and family alike with avid guitar playing for the last twenty years.
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