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MLB’s Postseason Is A Tale Of Two Leagues


Keep in mind all these huge favorites going into the MLB postseason? The record-tying 4 100-plus win groups from the common season? The 20-win gaps between finest and worst seeds in every league? The theoretical benefit of a first-round bye for high groups below MLB’s new playoff system?

Seems just one league acquired the memo in regards to the huge disparity between baseball’s haves and have-nots this season.

Over within the Nationwide League, chaos has reigned supreme. After the decrease seeds received each wild card matchups, the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies saved that vitality going within the divisional spherical as effectively, knocking off the closely favored Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, respectively. Whether or not you take a look at the magnitude of these upsets by the lens of standard season win-loss information — each collection’ losers had outplayed their opponents by greater than 85 factors of profitable proportion — or our pre-series Elo scores, the Padres and Phillies pulled off two of the largest division-series shockers for the reason that spherical started in 1995:

Two methods of measuring the divisional spherical’s largest upsets

Largest gaps in regular-season profitable proportion and pre-series Elo ranking between an underdog and favourite in MLB division collection upsets, 1995-2022

Yr Winner Loser Hole Yr Winner Loser Hole
2022 SDP LAD -.136 2022 SDP LAD -82.1
2020 HOU OAK -.117 2001 NYY OAK -77.6
2022 PHI ATL -.086 2002 MIN OAK -67.8
2008 LAD CHC -.084 2003 CHC ATL -54.3
2003 CHC ATL -.080 1998 SDP HOU -52.6
2019 WSN LAD -.080 2021 BOS TBR -51.8
2011 STL PHI -.074 1996 BAL CLE -48.9
1996 BAL CLE -.072 2022 PHI ATL -48.7
2017 NYY CLE -.068 1997 CLE NYY -43.5
2012 STL WSN -.062 2017 NYY CLE -40.3

Supply: Retrosheet

In the meantime, over within the American League, a measure of sanity was restored with division collection victories by the top-seeded Houston Astros and New York Yankees. It wasn’t precisely simple in both case — the Astros required a pair of one-run victories (the latter of which tied a playoff document at 18 innings) to complete off the Seattle Mariners, whereas the Yankees needed to overcome a 2-1 collection deficit in opposition to the Cleveland Guardians to advance — however the most effective groups within the league all season shall be enjoying for the AL pennant.

This units up an odd juxtaposition between the 2 championship collection. Each are very almost coin flips in our mannequin — the Astros have a slim edge over the Yankees (54 % to 46) and the Padres are even slimmer 52-48 favorites over the Phillies — however the mixed high quality of the 2 groups in every league may scarcely be extra completely different. The hole between the typical Elo ranking for the championship contenders within the AL (1578.7) and the NL (1539.9) is 38.8 factors. Going again to 1995 once more, that’s the largest differential within the mixed high quality of LCS groups in a single league versus the opposite in any postseason:

The largest disparities in LCS high quality of the wild card period

Greatest gaps in common Elo ranking between MLB groups in a single league’s championship collection and the opposite’s, 1995-2022

Yr Lg Groups Avg. Elo Lg Groups Avg. Elo Hole
2022 AL HOU, NYY 1578.7 NL SDP, PHI 1539.9 +38.8
2021 NL ATL, LAD 1587.1 AL HOU, BOS 1549.5 37.6
2007 AL BOS, CLE 1569.3 NL ARI, COL 1537.3 32.0
2019 AL HOU, NYY 1589.0 NL STL, WSN 1559.5 29.4
2008 AL TBR, BOS 1566.5 NL PHI, LAD 1537.3 29.2
2009 AL NYY, ANA 1575.7 NL LAD, PHI 1547.5 28.2
2018 AL BOS, HOU 1599.3 NL MIL, LAD 1571.6 27.7
2014 AL BAL, KCR 1554.6 NL STL, SFG 1530.0 24.7
2003 AL NYY, BOS 1560.6 NL CHC, FLA 1536.2 24.3
2011 AL TEX, DET 1558.6 NL MIL, STL 1534.5 24.1

Supply: Retrosheet

(Apparently, it simply edges out final 12 months, which featured elite Braves and Dodgers groups within the NL however a less-heralded run by the Boston Purple Sox to pull down the AL’s common.)

As a consequence, the ALCS winner needs to be closely favored within the Fall Basic, as our mannequin says there’s a 65 % probability the World Collection winner will come out of the AL. However that each one depends upon which league’s postseason narrative — chaos within the NL, or order within the AL — holds the higher hand by postseason’s finish.

Try our newest MLB predictions.


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