The MLB is through with their 60 game sprint. Due to new rules, 16 teams will make the playoffs for the first time in MLB history. Expanding from a 10 team postseason means that instead of only one-third of the teams making the postseason, over 50 percent of the MLB is now in the playoffs. This includes all the division winners, all the 2nd place teams and two wild card teams per league.
The wild card series has been expanded to accommodate for the additional spots. Each of the eight teams from each side of the league will play the best of three series.
Some previous rule changes will be in effect for the postseason and some won’t. The National League will continue to play with a designated hitter, but unlike the MLB regular season, extra innings will not begin with a runner on second base.
Shortly after the end of the 60 game regular season, MLB released the final power rankings. Unsurprisingly, the 43-17 Los Angeles Dodgers who won 1st place in the NL West for the eighth straight season are first in the final power rankings. After the Dodgers, the top five in the power rankings are: Rays (40-20), Twins (36-24), Padres (37-23) and A’s (36-24). Each division holds both surprises and teams that were expected to be successful.
In the AL East, the Rays replaced the Yankees in first place. The Toronto Blue Jays improved their winning percentage from .414 in 2019, to .533 in 2020 and picked up a wild-card spot. For the second straight season, the Minnesota Twins won the AL Central. In the AL West, the Oakland A’s replaced the Houston Astros, who had won first place three prior years.
In 2019, the Miami Marlins placed last in the NLEast with a .352 winning percentage. In 2020, they were second in the NL East with a .517 winning percentage. Both NL wild cards went to teams in the NL Central, so four of five teams in the NL Central made the playoffs. In 2019 the San DIego Padres finished last in the NL West with .432 win-percentage. In 2020, the Padres finished second in the NL West with a .617 win-percentage.
One remarkable story is the story of the 2020 St. Louis Cardinals who finished second in the NL Central. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the early season, 18 people were infected, causing the Cardinals to take off 17 days. To make up the games lost, the cardinals played 11 double headers and 53 games in 44 days. The St. Louis Cardinals ended with a winning record for the 13th consecutive season (30-28).
Despite many obstacles, baseball is set for the 2020 postseason. Baseball fans can look forward to a suspenseful and exciting October.