Major League Baseball introduced a new playoff format for the 2022 season as part of the CBA agreement that ended the lockout prior to the season. This Postseason has had some great games, including 18-inning stalemates, comeback wins, and big upsets, but with the best teams losing in the early rounds, has anyone really enjoyed this Postseason?
.@latimesopinion: If there ever was a case for canceling the playoffs and awarding a championship to one team because it was so clearly better than all the others, the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers would be it https://t.co/NDcIpAxPZG— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 15, 2022
Controversy has arisen on the new format now that three 100-win NL teams failed to make the it out of the NLDS. (For the purposes of this article, let’s ignore that the two best AL records advanced to the ALCS.) So to make the playoffs better and ensure the best teams always advance, here are a few ideas to improve the playoff format.
Play Fewer Games
The easiest solution to the problem of 100-win teams losing early in the playoffs can be fixed by playing fewer regular-season games. Fewer regular-season games means no more 100-win teams, and none that lose early in the playoffs. Simple!
English Premier League Style
Taking this next idea from the soccer league our friends across the pond use. Each team plays a three-game series both home and away against each team, and the team with the best record wins the title. MLB would expand the regular season to 174 games and cancel any postseason. Every team plays the same schedule and any variance caused by the playoffs will be avoided. Next season, MLB is going to balanced schedule where each team will play each other at least once during the season anyways, so might as well take it a step further. Sure, the back half of the season would not be as interesting, but the best team will be awarded the title.
Analytics and Simulations
The main issue with the current playoff format is the abundance of variance resulting in the best regular season team not always advancing. Therefore, MLB should not even play the games and run a simulation by adding in the rosters and analytics and have the computer decide the champion. MLB could take a page out of Purple Row’s book and run simulation seasons on MLB the Show to determine the winner without wasting time letting real life and real games get in the way of the best team winning.
Some Actual Suggestions
The new playoff format has produced an interesting postseason through the Championship Series, but there are some small changes that could be improved on.
- Longer Division Series: The Division Series should be expanded to a best-of-seven series like the Championship Series and World Series. Longer series means more home games for the lower seeds and makes the later rounds consistent.
- Change in Home/Away Format: Another change is a 2-2-1-1-1 home team system instead of the current 2-3-2, meaning the higher seed hosts Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 and the lower seed hosts Games 3, 4, and 6. The NBA and NHL do this format and is way more interesting later in the series.
- Only Evening Games: The last legitimate change to the Postseason is to end the games scheduled at 1:10pm local time, especially during the week. The playoffs are supposed to have big crowds adding to the atmosphere and afternoon games during the week ruins that.
What do you like or dislike about the new playoff format? What changes would you like to see? Drop a comment below and tell us!
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Renee Dechert takes a look at Brendan Rodgers becoming the Gold Glove finalist after a slow start defensively to his MLB career. Based on the numbers, Rodgers should not only be a finalist for the award, but should win it too. Rodgers started his career in 2019 with a Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) of 1, while 2020 and 2021, he posted negative runs saved. But 2022 was different for Rodgers, posting a National League-best 22 DRS among second baseman. Only one other player, Ke’Bryan Hayes, had a more DRS this season.
The WBC is back in March for the first time since 2017 after being cancelled in 2020! Team USA (Pool C) looks to defend their WBC title beginning March 11 in group play. Former Rockies Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story will be suiting up for Team USA, while current Rockies’ reliever Jake Bird is committed to playing for Team Israel and Justin Lawrence is suiting up for Team Panama. All games will be shown exclusively on Fox Network channels.
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