The MLB only has 10 teams who make the playoffs (but really only 8), quite a bit less than 12 (NFL), and 16 (NHL, NBA) in other leagues. I would really love it if the playoffs expanded even more like the NHL, but I know that won't happen for a very long time. It just must be really frustrating for some teams to go 5-10 years without making the playoffs simply because there isn't enough room.
So I thought it would be interesting to see the MLB standings as if it was the NHL (although next year the playoffs are a bit different for hockey). Here they are (with pts as well instead of GB):
1. *Boston Red Sox 102 GP, 122 pts
2. *Oakland Athletics 101 GP, 118 pts
3. *Detroit Tigers 99 GP, 110 pts
4. Tampa Bay Rays 101 GP, 118 pts
5. Baltimore Orioles 101 GP, 114 pts
6. Texas Rangers 100 GP, 110 pts
7. New York Yankees 100 GP, 106 pts
8. Cleveland Indians 101 GP, 106 pts
9. Seattle Mariners 101 GP, 96 pts
10. Los Angeles Angels 99 GP, 94 pts
11. Kansas City Royals 97 GP, 92 pts
12. Toronto Blue Jays 99 GP, 90 pts
13. Minnesota Twins 98 GP, 86 pts
14. Chicago White Sox 97 GP, 78 pts
15. Houston Astros 100 GP, 68 pts
In the NHL format, the division winners take the first three seeds, so even though Tampa and Baltimore are better than Detroit, they are a lower seed. This is really interesting, because a team like the Indians who have an outside shot at the post-season, are in 8th place quite comfortably in this format. Even the Yankees who I don't think have enough offensive power to make the playoffs, could easily make the top 8 in the 16-team playoffs. All 8 of those teams are solid overall, and it seems pretty fair for any one of those teams to make the post-season.
1. *St Louis Cardinals 97 GP, 120 pts
2. *Atlanta Braves 100 GP, 112 pts
3. *Los Angeles Dodgers 99 GP, 104 pts
4. Pittsburgh Pirates 98 GP, 118 pts
5. Cincinnati Reds 101 GP, 114 pts
6. Arizona Diamondbacks 100 GP, 104 pts
7. Philadelphia Phillies 100 GP, 98 pts
8. Washington Nationals 100 GP, 96 pts
9. Colorado Rockies 101 GP, 96 pts
10. San Francisco Giants 100 GP, 92 pts
11. San Diego Padres 101 GP, 90 pts
12. New York Mets 96 GP, 88 pts
13. Chicago Cubs 98 GP, 88 pts
14. Milwaukee Brewers 99 GP, 82 pts
15. Miami Marlins 98 GP, 74 pts
The problem with this proposition, is the NL. There's only 6 teams above .500, leaving the Phillies and Nationals to make the playoffs, with records of 49-51 and 48-52. The Phillies are not that good of a team. The Nationals should be good, but that doesn't mean they deserve a spot. I never really realized this, but the NL this year has been very bad. Besides St Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and I guess Atlanta, I have been fairly unimpressed with everyone else. Many of these teams are flawed. I can understand why the MLB wants to make the playoffs exclusive, so they would avoid these situations.
The point of this post wasn't to convince the MLB to change formats, but I thought it was cool to see that while some teams have little hope now (PHI, WSH, CLE, etc.), many of those teams would actually have a shot at the World Series with 16 teams.
I'm sure Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Kansas City fans would've been ecstatic if more playoff teams were introduced earlier...I feel bad sometimes for their long droughts.