With expanded playoffs a “thing” this season, eight teams from each league will play October baseball.
The top two teams in each division make up 12 of the 16 spots, with the two final places in each league going to the two of the remaining nine teams with the best record. In theory, we could have four teams from one division in the playoffs.
As it currently stands, Yankees, Rays, Twins, Tigers (it looks like a typo and feels like a typo), Athletics and Rangers will qualify as the top two in each AL division. Marlins, Braves, Cubs, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers will make it from the NL.
The best record/lucky losers are the Orioles and White Sox in the AL, and Padres and Mets in the NL.
As an aside, the Mets, Reds and Rangers would all make it through to the 2020 postseason despite a losing record. Spare a thought for the Cleveland Indians who would remain at home in Ohio despite a winning record.
Of course, all of this changes on a daily basis, so the teams will be different if you’re reading this article one week after publication.
Getting back to the Marlins and Orioles. Miami is currently 8-4 giving them a .667 winning percentage, putting them atop the NL East. Baltimore is 10-7 with a .588 winning percentage. The projection systems expect both teams to blow their advantage over the final two-thirds of the season.
Baseball Reference has a cute little toy called “Simple Rating System” which uses run differential and strength of schedule. Using this, they simulated the rest of the season 1000 times to give the “most likely postseason scenario.”
Poor Miami, slips from their current spot as division winners to fourth place and out of the playoffs. The Reds also lose out and these two are replaced by the Nationals and the Cardinals.
In the AL, the Orioles still make the cut while the Astros & Indians replace the Rangers and Tigers.
Willie Mays Hays with the inside-the-park HR! pic.twitter.com/kqCtHyH6sC
— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) August 12, 2020
Over at Fangraphs, they paint a more encouraging picture for Reds fans, putting Cincinnati ahead of the Cardinals, but their opinion of the Marlins and Orioles is far worse than Baseball Reference. Miami is projected fifth out of five in the NL East, and Fangraphs projects the Orioles with just 16% chance of reaching the playoffs. To be fair, that’s up from 1.6% preseason, but it’s still a long way from October baseball.
And, of course, everyone loves the Astros. Despite a losing record and currently being outside of the 16 teams playoff-bound, Fangraphs puts them with 82.2% of making the playoffs.
So in conclusion, we have the current situation, with have Fangraphs projection system and we have Baseball Reference projection system, and the only thing we are sure about is …
Photo credit Rob Carr/Getty Images
Gavin is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @_tramps