Wednesday, April 6, 2022

MLB Preview

OK, so here's what you need to know:

1.  Under the leadership of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, they're going to have the designated hitter in both leagues, they're going to have 12 teams in the playoffs, and they're going to keep the ghost runner (one writer referred to it has the "Manfred Man") in extra innings.  Undoubtedly all of these events will contribute to an ongoing decline in the popularity of MLB.

2.  With so many teams getting into the playoffs, teams are approaching the regular season differently.  Some teams are definitely tanking.  This year, based on Vegas's over-under totals for wins, the following teams appear to fall into this category:

National League:
Cincinnati (74.5)
Colorado (68.5)
Pittsburgh (65.5)
Washington (71.5)

American League:
Baltimore (62.5)
Kansas City (74.5)
Oakland (68.5)

You also have a small number of teams that appear to be strong bets to make the expanded playoffs:

National League:
Atlanta (91.5)
Los Angeles (98.5)

American League:
Chicago (91.5)
Houston (91.5)
New York (91.5)
Toronto (92.5)

That leaves the rest of MLB.  In the National League, that's nine other teams competing for four other playoffs spots.  In the American League, you have eight other teams competing for two spots.

Now the trade deadline is set for August 2.  By that point, almost every team will know whether it has a good chance to make the playoffs, or whether it will probably be eliminated.  In the last few days before the weekend, you can expect a lot of trades between the contending teams and the losing teams.  Then the contending teams, now bolstered by new talent have two months to get their team ready and get into the playoffs.  The remaining teams -- now shorn of talent and basically focused on getting draft picks -- will stagger down the stretch.

Two teams in each league will have a bye into the Divisional Series, while the other eight will battle to get into that series.  Those wild card playoffs will only be best two out of three games, so you can expect some fluky results in those games.

The eight survivors will then go through the usual playoffs.  Recent history suggests that it's better to be hot down the stretch than to be solid throughout the year.  In 2019, the Nats got off to a terrible start, but got hot in the second half of the season and scraped a wild card bid.  Once in the playoffs, the Nats rolled past the Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros to win the whole thing.  Similarly, last year the Braves were very mediocre until they picked up a bunch of new players in mid-season.  The Braves were only 88-73 in the regular season, but they were unstoppable in the playoffs -- hammering the Brewers, Dodgers, and Astros, even though all of those teams had been more impressive during the regular season.

So what you've got to hope for, if your a fan, is that your team is still in contention in late July, that your team makes the right moves at the trade deadline, and that your team is both hot (and very lucky) in October.

I think this whole approach will lead to outcome that will seem somewhat odd or random to MLB fans, and will generally lead to less fervent fan interest.  But that's what MLB wants.  Manfred and the owners fought really, really hard to get this new system, and we'll see how it works out for them.


  1. Rest in peace, Ray Fosse. Before Oakland's game at Philadelphia tonight, "A's Cast" is replaying an old interview Fosse did with Larry Bowa. This is wonderful. Bowa really likes what he sees out of Boston's rookie shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra.

  2. Now Rickey Henderson is doing bumpers on "A's Cast!"

  3. Everybody should get to love their team's radio guy, and I love Ken Korach.

  4. Harry Kalas's son sang the national anthem before tonight's game.

  5. Phillies lead on Kyle Schwarber's solo home run in his first Philadelphia at-bat, in the bottom of the first.

  6. Ten rookies are on Oakland's roster of 28 players (for now).

  7. Teams cut to 26 players on May 1. This is a one-year thing because of the condensed spring training.

  8. Am I going to get to listen to all of the A's broadcasts for free this season? That's what these A's Cast commercials seem to be saying. This would be great--I just heard a commercial for redwood lumber!

  9. Well, I broke about 45 minutes for dinner, and I don't know what the score is, but the Phillies are on their eighth batter of whatever bottom half of the inning that we're in. This concludes my coverage of MLB22 for now.

  10. OK, I'm going to resume my coverage of MLB22 to note that Bobby Shantz is still alive! They just reported this on "A's Cast." He's 96! My dad was exactly one week younger than Bobby Shantz, who is the last living person to have played for both the Philadelphia and Kansas City A's. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies lead the Oakland A's, 6-1.

    I think I will plan to resume #Greencollar coverage of MLB22 if the A's tie this game or get back to .500 on the season.