A Requiem for Team Entropy – FanGraphs Baseball

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, mid-September introduced my annual check-in at the attainable for end-of-season chaos within the playoff races by the use of my Team Entropy sequence. With the brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the restructured postseason, then again, Major League Baseball has executed away with tiebreaker video games and the scheduling mayhem that they might purpose in want of greed a bigger stock of playoff video games. Along with the growth of the playoff subject from 10 groups to twelve and the Wild Card around from a couple of winner-take-all video games to a quartet of three-game sequence, MLB did away with all winner-take-all common season tiebreaker video games. In the identify of potency, we haven’t any extra Game 163s. Instead, ties shall be determined through the thrill of… arithmetic. Boooooooo!

The untangling of the often-complex situations in which the ones tiebreakers may come about was once Team Entropy’s raison d’etre, despite the fact that we have been in a position to make do in 2020, when within the identify of minimizing commute and retaining the agenda compact to house an expanded subject, MLB in a similar fashion opted to dispense with the on-field tiebreakers. That wasn’t just about as a lot a laugh, however on the very least, it feels suitable to cartoon out what’s at stake whilst pouring one out in reminiscence of what’s been misplaced.

As you’re most probably conscious through now, each and every league’s playoff subject will include six groups, particularly all 3 department winners plus 3 Wild Cards with the most productive data from some of the closing groups. The best two department winners through report get first-round byes, whilst the 1/3 department winner (no. 3 seed) performs host for all 3 video games towards the third-best Wild Card crew (no. 6 seed) and the highest Wild Card crew (no. 4 seed) hosts all 3 video games towards the second-best Wild Card crew (no. 5 seed).

There’s no re-seeding after that around; the three/6 Wild Card winner performs the no. 2 seed whilst the 4/5 winner performs the no. 1 seed. This leaves open the potential of a Wild Card contender going through a aggressive catch 22 situation because it heads into the overall weeks of the season: Try to set issues up so that you could face the weakest of the 3 department winners because the 6th seed, after which — in the event that they advance — the second one seed as a substitute of the primary seed somewhat than going for broke and seeking to get the fourth seed and home-field merit for the Wild Card sequence, handiest to advance and face the highest seed within the Division Series. With simply 1.5 video games keeping apart the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners best to backside, with a possible paths in the course of the Astros or Yankees looming within the Division Series, this isn’t some summary hypothetical, both. (Yahoo Sports’ Zach Crizer explored the location closing week, whilst Baseball Prospectus’ Rob Mains took a glance in August.)

As famous, whether or not it’s groups jockeying for seeding or simply to make the reduce for the postseason, within the tournament that two or extra groups end with the similar report, the whole lot shall be determined on paper (or pixel) somewhat than by the use of extra video games. Like the 5 phases of grief, MLB has 5 phases of breaking the binds:

  1. Head-to-head data. This is self-explanatory in terms of two-team tiebreakers, and in the event that they performed an atypical selection of video games towards each and every different, which is recently the case in the event that they’re in the similar department, then no different steps shall be important. If greater than two groups are concerned, then the crew with the most productive mixed profitable proportion towards the opposite groups within the tie wins the tiebreaker, and, if it’s nonetheless related, the rest two groups are un-tied by the use of head-to-head data and on down the road.
  2. Intradivision data. This one is related handiest for two eventualities: multi-team situations the place the groups all have the similar head-to-head data inside the team, or for two Wild Card groups in several divisions; within the latter case, there’s nonetheless a great opportunity they performed seven video games towards each and every different as a substitute of six.
  3. Interdivision data, which means data towards the opposite two divisions in the similar league. If there’s a tie between an AL East crew and an AL West crew, either one of whom had the similar intradivision data, this is able to pit the AL East crew’s report towards AL Central and AL West groups as opposed to the AL West crew’s report towards AL Central and AL East groups.
  4. Second-half of intraleague video games. If a crew has 20 interleague video games, then this is able to be determined in keeping with their profitable proportion during the last 71 (1/2 of 142) video games towards groups in their very own league. And if that doesn’t paintings…
  5. Second-half of intraleague video games plus one… or extra, as wanted.. Under the above state of affairs, then this is able to be determined in keeping with their profitable proportion during the last 72 intraleague video games, then 73, 74, 75… as many because it takes.

While the Dodgers have clinched the NL West and the Astros the AL West, 3 of the opposite divisions have margins of no less than seven video games at this writing, with their leaders having no less than a 99.5% likelihood of conserving on in step with our Playoff Odds. The exception is the NL East, the place the Mets lead the Braves through a sport and a 1/2, and the place a first-round bye because the no. 2 seed is moreover at stake. Settling this one shall be totally easy, because the Mets lead the season sequence 9-7 with 3 video games in Atlanta left to play from September 30 to October 2; the Braves desire a sweep in the event that they’re to assert the tiebreaker. Beyond that, right here’s the remainder of the NL image:

NL Wild Card Contenders

Team W-L ATL SDP PHI MIL Intra Inter
ATL* 93-57 3-4 (0,0) 9-7 (0,3) 3-3- (0,0) 40-24 40-26
SDP 83-67 4-3 (0,0) 3-4 (0,0) 4-3 (0,0) 36-31 40-26
PHI 82-67 7-9 (3,0) 4-3 (0,0) 4-2 (0,0) 37-32 37-26
MIL 80-70 3-3- (0,0) 3-4 (0,0) 2-4 (0,0) 39-32 26-33

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

* = clinched playoff spot. Yellow = clinched season sequence win. Numbers in parentheses confer with closing video games at domestic and on street towards a given opponent.

The Braves and Mets have each already clinched playoff spots, and so they’re a ways sufficient forward of the opposite 3 groups that there’s virtually no likelihood of both of them polishing off in a tie; the loser of that race would be the fourth seed. All of the rest two-team tiebreakers, whether or not to resolve the 5th and 6th seeds or the 6th seed and the hard-luck crew, are simple, as their respective season sequence have concluded. The Phillies have the higher hand on each the Padres and the Brewers, whilst the Brewers have the fast finish of the stick on each, and the Padres have the merit at the Brewers however no longer the Phillies.

If the Padres, Phillies, and Brewers all finally end up tied, the Phillies would get the 5th seed in keeping with their 8-5 report towards the opposite two, in comparison to the Padres’ 7-7 and the Brewers’ 5-8. The Padres would then declare the 6th seed in keeping with their 4-3 season sequence merit over the Brewers, and Milwaukee can be left questioning if it will have to have simply held onto Josh Hader.

Over to the AL:

AL Wild Card Contenders

Team W-L TOR TBR SEA BAL Intra Inter
TOR 84-66 7-9 (0,3) 2-5 (0,0) 8-8 (0,3) 35-29 36-30
TBR 83-67 9-7 (3-0) 5-2 (0,0) 10-9 (0,0) 39-31 32-28
SEA 82-67 5-2 (0,0) 2-5 (0,0) 4-2 (0,0) 37-33 33-26
BAL 78-71 8-8 (3,0) 9-10 (0,0) 2-4 (0,0) 30-36 36-27

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

Yellow = clinched season sequence win. Numbers in parentheses confer with closing video games at domestic and on street towards a given opponent.

With all however one of the most sequence amongst those groups involving an atypical selection of video games, and with the one person who’s a good quantity no longer a cut up (Mariners over Orioles, 4-2), any two-team ties within the AL race shall be settled through head-to-head data. As you’ll be able to see, the Rays are in particular smartly arrange on this regard, having clinched sequence victories over the Mariners and Orioles, and proudly owning a two-game merit over the Blue Jays with 3 extra to play towards them at Tropicana Field after Thursday evening’s win.

If the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners have been to all finally end up tied, with the Orioles out of the image, then in keeping with their present data — that’s how I’m doing all of those situations, whilst noting that there are video games closing — the Rays would win the highest seed at the foundation in their 14-9 report towards the opposite two groups, in comparison to Seattle’s 7-7 report and Toronto’s 9-14 report. Once the Rays are un-tied from the knot, the Mariners’ 5-2 merit over the Blue Jays would slot the 2 groups into the 5th and 6th seeds, respectively. If the Blue Jays had received on Thursday evening after which persevered to comb this weekend’s sequence, then all 3 groups would have .500 data inside the team and the eye would flip to their intradivision data, through which case at the moment it’s the Rays with the most productive report. That door has been close in our faces, then again, and so we transfer on.

If the Orioles by hook or by crook surpass the Rays and finally end up with the similar report as each Toronto and Seattle, the Mariners would get the highest seed at the foundation in their 9-4 report towards the opposite two groups. The 5th seed would cling within the stability pending the end result of the three-game sequence between the Blue Jays and Orioles in Baltimore from October 3-5.

If the Orioles surpass the Mariners (sorry, Seattle enthusiasts) and tie with the Blue Jays and Rays, it’s Tampa Bay that will get the highest seed in keeping with their present 19-16 report towards the opposite two groups; the Orioles are 17-18 and the Blue Jays 15-18, however what issues there’s handiest who wins the ones two groups’ season sequence, as famous above. If it’s the Blue Jays who fall out of it (sorry, Canada) and the opposite 3 groups tie, Tampa Bay has the higher hand in that three-way tiebreaker through dint in their 15-11 report towards the opposite two, the place Seattle is 6-7 and Baltimore 11-14.

In the nearest factor we’re more likely to get relating to logjams, if all 4 groups finally end up tied, the Rays would get the nod as the highest seed in keeping with their 24-18 report towards the opposite 3 groups. Both the Orioles (19-22) and Blue Jays (17-22) are under .500 inside the team and don’t have any likelihood to surpass the Rays, however the Mariners are 11-9 (.550) and may transfer previous the Rays if Tampa Bay loses all 3 closing video games to Toronto to drop their profitable proportion inside the team to .533. Once that winner claims the no. 4 seed and is got rid of from the crowd, we return to the three-team tiebreakers. If it’s Baltimore, Seattle, and Toronto closing, the Mariners are the no. 5 seed at the foundation of the aforementioned 9-4 report towards the opposite two, after which it comes all the way down to whoever wins the Baltimore/Toronto season sequence for the no. 6 seed. If it’s Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Toronto closing, it’s the Rays getting the no. 5 seed in keeping with that 19-16 report, and once more the end result of that Baltimore/Toronto season sequence figuring out who performs on and who is going domestic.

Barring one thing that’s were given not up to a 1% likelihood of going down — the White Sox attending to 88 or 89 wins whilst one of the different AL contenders get slowed down within the September mire — that’s about it. The closing common season drama will heart at the 3 pending sequence (Blue Jays-Rays, Blue Jays-Orioles, and Mets-Braves), and no matter bonus baseball out of it’ll be restricted to extra-inning contests with the rattling Manfred Man beginning on moment base. I don’t adore it, and also you don’t need to, both, but it surely’s what we’re left with.

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