A Requiem for Staff Entropy – FanGraphs Baseball

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports activities

As soon as upon a time, mid-September introduced my annual check-in on the potential of end-of-season chaos within the playoff races by way of my Staff Entropy sequence. With the brand new Collective Bargaining Settlement and the restructured postseason, then again, Primary League Baseball has carried out away with tiebreaker video games and the scheduling mayhem that they might purpose in want of greed a bigger stock of playoff video games. In conjunction with the growth of the playoff area 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. Within the title of potency, we haven’t any extra Sport 163s. As an alternative, ties will likely be determined via the thrill of… arithmetic. Boooooooo!

The untangling of the often-complex eventualities in which the ones tiebreakers may just come about was once Staff Entropy’s raison d’etre, although we have been ready to make do in 2020, when within the title of minimizing go back and forth and conserving the time table compact to house an expanded area, MLB in a similar way opted to dispense with the on-field tiebreakers. That wasn’t just about as a lot amusing, 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 certainly conscious via now, every league’s playoff area will include six groups, specifically all 3 department winners plus 3 Wild Playing cards with the most productive data from a number of the last groups. The highest two department winners via report get first-round byes, whilst the 1/3 department winner (no. 3 seed) performs host for all 3 video games in opposition to the third-best Wild Card staff (no. 6 seed) and the highest Wild Card staff (no. 4 seed) hosts all 3 video games in opposition to the second-best Wild Card staff (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 for a Wild Card contender dealing with a aggressive predicament because it heads into the general weeks of the season: Attempt to set issues up as a way to 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 slightly than going for broke and looking to get the fourth seed and home-field merit for the Wild Card sequence, handiest to advance and face the highest seed within the Department Sequence. With simply 1.5 video games keeping apart the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners most sensible to backside, with a possible paths in the course of the Astros or Yankees looming within the Department Sequence, this isn’t some summary hypothetical, both. (Yahoo Sports activities’ Zach Crizer explored the location final 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 thing will likely be determined on paper (or pixel) slightly than by way of extra video games. Like the 5 levels of grief, MLB has 5 levels of breaking the binds:

  1. Head-to-head data. That is self-explanatory in relation to two-team tiebreakers, and in the event that they performed an bizarre selection of video games in opposition to every different, which is lately the case in the event that they’re in the similar department, then no different steps will likely be important. If greater than two groups are concerned, then the staff with the most productive blended profitable proportion in opposition to the opposite groups within the tie wins the tiebreaker, and, if it’s nonetheless related, the remainder two groups are un-tied by way of head-to-head data and on down the road.
  2. Intradivision data. This one is related just for two scenarios: multi-team eventualities the place the groups all have the similar head-to-head data throughout the crew, or for 2 Wild Card groups in several divisions; within the latter case, there’s nonetheless a great opportunity they performed seven video games in opposition to every different as a substitute of six.
  3. Interdivision data, that means data in opposition to the opposite two divisions in the similar league. If there’s a tie between an AL East staff and an AL West staff, either one of whom had the similar intradivision data, this is able to pit the AL East staff’s report in opposition to AL Central and AL West groups as opposed to the AL West staff’s report in opposition to AL Central and AL East groups.
  4. 2d-half of intraleague video games. If a staff has 20 interleague video games, then this is able to be determined in keeping with their profitable proportion over the past 71 (1/2 of 142) video games in opposition to groups in their very own league. And if that doesn’t paintings…
  5. 2d-half of intraleague video games plus one… or extra, as wanted.. Underneath the above situation, then this is able to be determined in keeping with their profitable proportion over the past 72 intraleague video games, then 73, 74, 75… as many because it takes.

Whilst 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 line with our Playoff Odds. The exception is the NL East, the place the Mets lead the Braves via a recreation and a 1/2, and the place a first-round bye because the no. 2 seed is moreover at stake. Settling this one will likely be utterly simple, 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 want a sweep in the event that they’re to say the tiebreaker. Past that, right here’s the remainder of the NL image:

NL Wild Card Contenders

Staff 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 seek advice from last video games at domestic and on highway in opposition to a given opponent.

The Braves and Mets have each already clinched playoff spots, they usually’re some distance sufficient forward of the opposite 3 groups that there’s nearly no likelihood of both of them completing in a tie; the loser of that race would be the fourth seed. The entire last two-team tiebreakers, whether or not to decide the 5th and 6th seeds or the 6th seed and the hard-luck staff, are straight forward, 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 quick 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 finish up tied, the Phillies would get the 5th seed in keeping with their 8-5 report in opposition to 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 must have simply held onto Josh Hader.

Over to the AL:

AL Wild Card Contenders

Staff 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 seek advice from last video games at domestic and on highway in opposition to a given opponent.

With all however one of the crucial sequence amongst those groups involving an bizarre selection of video games, and with the one one who’s a good quantity no longer a cut up (Mariners over Orioles, 4-2), any two-team ties within the AL race will likely be settled via head-to-head data. As you’ll be able to see, the Rays are specifically neatly 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 in opposition to them at Tropicana Box after Thursday night time’s win.

If the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners have been to all finish 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 eventualities, whilst noting that there are video games last — the Rays would win the highest seed at the foundation in their 14-9 report in opposition to the opposite two groups, in comparison to Seattle’s 7-7 report and Toronto’s 9-14 report. As soon as 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 gained on Thursday night time after which endured to brush this weekend’s sequence, then all 3 groups would have .500 data throughout the crew 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 in some way surpass the Rays and finish 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 in opposition to the opposite two groups. The 5th seed would hold within the steadiness 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 lovers) and tie with the Blue Jays and Rays, it’s Tampa Bay that may get the highest seed in keeping with their present 19-16 report in opposition to the opposite two groups; the Orioles are 17-18 and the Blue Jays 15-18, however what issues there may be 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 via dint in their 15-11 report in opposition to the opposite two, the place Seattle is 6-7 and Baltimore 11-14.

Within the closest factor we’re more likely to get in relation to logjams, if all 4 groups finish up tied, the Rays would get the nod as the highest seed in keeping with their 24-18 report in opposition to the opposite 3 groups. Each the Orioles (19-22) and Blue Jays (17-22) are underneath .500 throughout the crew and haven’t any likelihood to surpass the Rays, however the Mariners are 11-9 (.550) and may just transfer previous the Rays if Tampa Bay loses all 3 last video games to Toronto to drop their profitable proportion throughout the crew to .533. As soon as that winner claims the no. 4 seed and is got rid of from the gang, we return to the three-team tiebreakers. If it’s Baltimore, Seattle, and Toronto last, the Mariners are the no. 5 seed at the foundation of the aforementioned 9-4 report in opposition to the opposite two, after which it comes right down to whoever wins the Baltimore/Toronto season sequence for the no. 6 seed. If it’s Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Toronto last, 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 taking place — the White Sox attending to 88 or 89 wins whilst one of the vital different AL contenders get slowed down within the September mire — that’s about it. The remainder common season drama will middle at the 3 pending sequence (Blue Jays-Rays, Blue Jays-Orioles, and Mets-Braves), and no matter bonus baseball out of it’s going to be restricted to extra-inning contests with the rattling Manfred Guy beginning on moment base. I don’t love it, and also you don’t must, both, however it’s what we’re left with.

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