Halfway Through The 2020 MLB Season
Somehow, we are halfway through the 2020 MLB baseball season.
It is crazy to think that we almost did not have a baseball season and now through 30 games, we are talking about trade deadlines and post-season scenarios.
Barring any kind of coronavirus team outbreak, the post season is going to be have a different look to it and, as the NBA has shown, different can be fun.
On July 23rd, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA agreed to expand the 2020 playoffs from 10 to 16 teams. The first expansion to the MLB playoffs since 2012.
Here is how the new format works...
- The top 3 seeds (Nos. 1-3) will go to division winners in order of record
- The next 3 seeds (Nos. 4-6) will go to the three teams that finish second place in their divisions, in order of record
- The final 2 seeds (Nos. 7-8) will go to the two teams with the next best records, regardless of division or division standing
If the 2020 MLB season were to end today, here is how the playoffs would look:
#1 Oakland A's (20-10) VS #8 Toronto Blue Jays (14-13)
The Oakland A's have the same record as the Minnesota Twins but based on tie breaker (the A's have a better intradivision record) the AL West leaders get the #1 seed. The A's are seeing success with all around great play from the roster. The Dodgers and the A's are the only teams in MLB that rank among the top 4 in offensive WAR and pitching WAR, according to Fangraphs. The Baltimore Orioles are nipping at the Blue Jays heels for the #8 seed.
#2 Minnesota Twins (20-10) VS #7 Chicago White Sox (17-12)
The pitching staff for the Twins has been the story of their first half of the season. Once BOMBASOTA begins to laugh-- the Twins are a legit threat to win it all. Nobody wants to play the White Sox right now. The have won 7 of their last 10 games and have an incredible 10-4 AWAY record so far in 2020.
#3 New York Yankees (16-9) VS #6 Houston Astros (16-13)
The Yankees are actually a half game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the standings. The rules are that the winning percentage is what you must follow when deciding who wins the division and, currently, they Yankees have the better percentage. The Astros are the only team that will get me to cheer for the Yankees.
#4 Tampa Bay Rays (19-11) VS #5 Cleveland Indians (17-12)
Despite injuries to key players on the Rays, the AL East leading squad continues to pile up victories. The Indians share the same record as the White Sox but based on head to head play, they are the higher seed. It will be interesting to see how the Indians work the upcoming trade deadline.
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers (22-8) VS #8 San Francisco Giants (14-16)
This is juicy. I love to see the old rivals in the 1st round. The Giants went into 2020 not even thinking about the post-season but the new format has opened the door to, quite possibly, one of the most intriguing first round series. The Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets are right behind the Giants for the #8 spot.
#2 Chicago Cubs (18-10) vs #7 Colorado Rockies (14-15)
The Cubs just find a way to win. But they have not made it easy for their fan base. The Cubs own only a +10 run differential-- by far the lowest of any division leading team. Despite the .400 Blackmon story for the Rockies, Colorado has seen the team take a dive recently. The Rockies have lost 8 of their last 10 games played.
#3 Atlanta Braves (16-12) VS #6 Miami Marlins (12-11)
The Braves are the cream of the NL East crop but only hold a 1.5 game lead over the Marlins. That is because the Marlins still have 5 games to make up for the COVID start to the 2020 MB Season. Max Fried is a serious contender for the NL Cy Young (more on that later).
#4 San Diego Padres (18-12) VS #5 St. Louis Cardinals (10-8)
"Everyone's Current 2nd Favorite Team" vs "The Smartest Fans In Baseball" club. I admit it, I love the Padres. They are the reason I was pushing so hard fo expanded playoffs and now they seem almost penned into post-season certainty. The Padres won SEVEN straight games last week and have become must watch highlights on ESPN every night. The Cardinals used their COVID break to bust out an 8-5 record since the outbreak.
This is not, obviously, how the playoffs will plan out but it is fun to examine through half way of the 2020 MLB Season.
- I don't think any of the division leaders change. I think all 6 that are leading the divisions now, will win the divisions at the end of the season. I am not set on the order (Nos 1-3), though.
- Los Angeles Dodgers are a lock to win the NL West and have the best record in ALL of MLB.
- The Chicago White Sox will end the season as the #4 or #5 seed.
- The Orioles will be the #8 seed in the AL
- The Rockies will remain the #7 seed in the NL-- they won't jump the Padres as second best team in that division but they will have the best record for a team that does not finish in Top 2 in division.
- The Philadelphia Phillies will end up 2nd in the NL East and make the playoffs as the #6 seed.
- The Brewers will end up the #8 seed in the NL.