Last Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan published a story regarding his latest information pertaining to the restart of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. One of the ideas that appeared in the story was a league-wide tournament, one that Passan opined could look a lot like the FIFA World Cup.
“Give us 60 days,” one official said, “and we could run an amazing tournament.”MLB source via Jeff Passan of ESPN
To Passan’s credit, it’s an entertaining idea, but I don’t see what purpose the regular season would have served under his premise, which you can read more about here.
So I went a different route and created a league-wide tournament, with seeding based on regular season performance in 2020, rewarding teams for their play during what in all likelihood will be close to a 100 game season.
For the purpose of this exercise, I used Fangraphs’ 2020 projections to determine the seeding for the opening round. Before we go any further, take a look at the bracket below.
As you can see, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros earned first-round byes as a reward for having the best (hypothetical) record during the 2020 season. In addition to having the first round off, both are guaranteed a second-round meeting with a team on the bottom half of the league at home, or as the “home team” depending on whether this season ends up being played at a combination of neutral sites, or at each team’s respective ballpark.
The remaining teams were seeded out 3-30, based on regular season records.
Round 1 is single elimination, before teams get into a best-of-three series in the second round and quarter-finals. The semi-finals are a best-of-five, and the World Series is your traditional best-of-seven format.
This format would call for the eventual champion to play a maximum of 19 games from start to finish (18 if the eventual champion ends up being one of the top two seeds who earned a bye into the second round). The traditional MLB playoff format calls for the eventual champion playing a maximum possible 20 games if they originate in the Wild Card round, and 19 otherwise, making this format one that can be played in roughly the same time-frame as the current traditional MLB Postseason format.
Here’s how home field advantage (regardless of venue) would work throughout;
Round 1 – higher seed designated the home team.
Round 2 – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G3.
Quarter-finals – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G3.
Semi-finals – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G2, G5.
World Series – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G2, G6, G7.
In nearly every scenario that arises, the universal DH rule has been a part of it, so we’ll be using that for this tournament. Those National League teams are really gonna be at a disadvantage now, what will they do with those free outs they’re used to giving away?
Howie Kendrick, Nationals Topple Cubs in Round 2
Game 1: Nationals 5, Cubs 4
Despite a strong start by Yu Darvish, the defending champions were just too much for the Cubs in game one of their second round meeting.
The Cubs watched as Howie Kendrick and the Nationals erased a four-run deficit in the latter innings, culminating in a walk-off single by Adam Eaton, scoring Kendrick who homered and drove in a pair for the Nats’ in their come-from-behind game one victory.
Game 2: Nationals 9, Cubs 1
In game two, the starting rotation failed the Cubs as Jon Lester was tagged for six runs on 10 hits in just five innings of work.
Howie Kendrick homered again, and picked up a double and a pair of runs in the winning effort. Juan Soto had a huge day, driving in four runs for Washington as they completed a sweep of the Cubs.
The Cubs lone run was a solo-shot off the bat of Javier Baez. The Nationals will take on the New York Yankees in the quarter-finals of the TCD MLB Tournament.
Complete Round 2 Results
- (1) Dodgers vs. (17) White Sox
- G1: White Sox 11, Dodgers 7
- G1: Dodgers 6, White Sox 3
- G3: White Sox 5, Dodgers 2
- (9) Indians vs. (25) Royals
- G1: Indians 11, Royals 2
- G2: Indians 15, Royals 6
- (5) Twins vs. (12) Red Sox
- G1: Twins 4, Red Sox 3
- G2: Twins 4, Red Sox 3
- (4) Rays vs. (13) Padres
- G1: Rays 4, Padres 3 (F/11)
- G2: Padres 3, Rays 1
- G3: Rays 4, Padres 3
- (3) Yankees vs. (19) Phillies
- G1: Yankees 11, Phillies 3
- G2: Yankees 6, Phillies 5
- (6) Nationals vs. (11) Cubs
- G1: Nationals 5, Cubs 4
- G2: Nationals 9, Cubs 1
- (7) Braves vs. (10) Mets
- G1: Mets 4, Braves 3
- G2: Mets 3, Braves 0
- (2) Astros vs. (18) Cardinals
- G1: Astros 8, Cardinals 1
- G2: Astros 4, Cardinals 0
Here’s a look at the tournament bracket heading into the quarter-finals round: