16 Postseason Teams Makes Sense For 2020 Season
On the eve of the season, there was an agreement for the MLB postseason in 2020 to be expanded to 16 teams (eight teams per league). While this may be a shock to people, especially those who still don’t like the Wild Card, for this season, it makes sense.
Due to a myriad of factors, the 60 game season was the best we could do. That’s just 37% of a typical Major League Baseball season. As we have learned, you really get no feel for how good or bad a team truly is over 60 game stretches.
For example, the World Series champion Washington Nationals were 27-33 (.450) over the first 60 games of the 2019 season. In the middle of June, they would win five straight and nine of 11. That would start a 60 game streak which would see them go 41-19 (.683). Overall, the Nationals were 93-69 (.574).
Of course, this shows they were not as good as they were during their best 60 game stretch, and they were not as bad as they were during their worst 60 game stretch. As these things usually go, they were somewhere in the middle albeit closer to their best stretch.
This is not unusual for teams at all. Even the worst teams in baseball have good 60 game stretches, and the best teams have poor 60 game stretches. That is the beauty of the 162 game season. We get a true feel for who exactly are the best teams in the sport. When you are able to get that, you know your postseason is really among the best teams in the sport.
In 2020, we don’t know that at all. As we see with the Nationals, the World Series champions would’ve missed the postseason this year with a poor 60 game stretch. Conversely, the Angels could’ve made the postseason. From May 25 – July 31, the Angels had a 60 games stretch where they went 34-26. That could have propelled them into the postseason under the current rules. Remember, this is an Angels team which finished 18 games under .500 last year.
That’s why an expanded postseason is necessary. There needs to be some form of a mitigation against the randomness of a 60 game schedule. MLB should permit for the best teams to get a crack at winning a World Series even if they did get off to a slow start. It’s the best way to handle not having the games truly necessary to determine which are the best teams.
There’s another reason for the expanded postseason. Baseball fans were deprived of the sport for nearly nine months because of this pandemic. If you can give those fans even two more games for the best-of-three opening series, it is well worth it. Let them have some chance to see their favorite team for a few more games before the sport goes away again for who knows how long? After all, there is still no vaccine.
So yes, expand the 2020 postseason in an effort to truly identify the best team. Expand the postseason to allow fans to just get that much more baseball. However, leave this for just 2020 as there is no need to expand the postseason to incorporate potentially mediocre to under .500 teams after we’ve had a full 162 game season to truly determine the best teams in the sport.