May 11, 2021

Modifying the 2020 Playoffs to Account for a Shortened Season (FanGraphs)

Yesterday, I discussed what 2019 might have looked like with a shortened season. At the same time, Dan Szymborski showed us how a shortened season impacts playoff odds. The main takeaway from both posts is an understanding that a shortened season creates more randomness and a greater possibility of teams having a chance to make the postseason. The corollary here is that is that it is much tougher in a shortened season to tell which teams are actually better that their competitors. Ben Clemens showed earlier in the offseason that expanded playoffs as reportedly proposed by the league would actually disincentivize competition. However, in a shortened season in which good teams might be left out of the postseason due to the random variation that usually takes care of itself over 162 games, there’s an argument to be made for getting creative and expanding the playoff field, if only for this season.

When addressing the playoff structure, it’s important to keep certain objectives in mind. Winning the division should be of some importance so that two good teams battling it out still have a reason to play hard toward the end of the season even if both are comfortably in…

Read “Modifying the 2020 Playoffs to Account for a Shortened Season” at FanGraphs