Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Different Would 2011 MLB Playoffs Have Been Under Pending Playoff Changes?

The big news out of the MLB CBA negotiations are that, starting in 2013, MLB will orient itself into two large 15-team Leagues instead of the current divisional structure.  They will also add an extra playoff wild card team to the mix, bringing the number of playoffs teams to 10.  I would expect from this that the top seed in each League would get a bye through the first round of playoffs.

How would this new playoff structure have affected the 2011 playoffs?

  • In the American League, the Yankees, with the best record, would have gotten a first round bye.  The Playoff teams would have also been composed of the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and the Boston Red Sox.
  • In the National League, the best record and first round bye would have gone to the Philadelphia Phillies.  The other playoffs teams would have been the Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Atlanta Braves.
It looks like, at least for 2011, that the playoffs would have roughly been the same.  The only issue would have been the lack of late-season drama in regards to the Red Sox and Braves losing out on the playoffs in the final few days of the season.  

Will this new playoff structure increase or decrease that wild card drama? Certainly it will improve the post-season, but it might make the last week of the regular season boring and unwatchable.  It's hard to say.  There will probably still be years where there's still a great deal of drama.  

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