Last Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan published a story regarding his latest information pertaining to the restart of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. One of the ideas that appeared in the story was a league-wide tournament, one that Passan opined could look a lot like the FIFA World Cup.
“Give us 60 days,” one official said, “and we could run an amazing tournament.”MLB source via Jeff Passan of ESPN
To Passan’s credit, it’s an entertaining idea, but I don’t see what purpose the regular season would have served under his premise, which you can read more about here.
So I went a different route and created a league-wide tournament, with seeding based on regular season performance in 2020, rewarding teams for their play during what in all likelihood will be close to a 100 game season.
For the purpose of this exercise, I used Fangraphs’ 2020 projections to determine the seeding for the opening round. Before we go any further, take a look at the bracket below.
As you can see, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros earned first-round byes as a reward for having the best (hypothetical) record during the 2020 season. In addition to having the first round off, both are guaranteed a second-round meeting with a team on the bottom half of the league at home, or as the “home team” depending on whether this season ends up being played at a combination of neutral sites, or at each team’s respective ballpark.
The remaining teams were seeded out 3-30, based on regular season records.
Round 1 is single elimination, before teams get into a best-of-three series in the second round and quarter-finals. The semi-finals are a best-of-five, and the World Series is your traditional best-of-seven format.
This format would call for the eventual champion to play a maximum of 19 games from start to finish (18 if the eventual champion ends up being one of the top two seeds who earned a bye into the second round). The traditional MLB playoff format calls for the eventual champion playing a maximum possible 20 games if they originate in the Wild Card round, and 19 otherwise, making this format one that can be played in roughly the same time-frame as the current traditional MLB Postseason format.
Here’s how home field advantage (regardless of venue) would work throughout;
Round 1 – higher seed designated the home team.
Round 2 – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G3.
Quarter-finals – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G3.
Semi-finals – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G2, G5.
World Series – higher seed designated the home team for G1, G2, G6, G7.
In nearly every scenario that arises, the universal DH rule has been a part of it, so we’ll be using that for this tournament. Those National League teams are really gonna be at a disadvantage now, what will they do with those free outs they’re used to giving away?
White Sox Takedown the Top-Seeded Dodgers in Round 2
Game 1: White Sox 11, Dodgers 7
A Monster performance by former Dodger Yasmani Grandal helped propel the White Sox to a game one win over the Dodgers, as the all-star backstop hit a pair of home runs and drove in five in the victory.
Carson Fulmer tossed three strong innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen earning the win, and Dennis Santana took the loss in relief of Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers.
Jose Abreu homered and drove in three, and Luis Robert tripled and doubled in the offensive onslaught for the Sox.
Game 2: Dodgers 6, White Sox 3
A two-run home run in the first inning gave the White Sox an early lead in game two, but the Dodgers struck for two in the third inning, and three more in the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead against White Sox starter Gio Gonzalez.
Tim Anderson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 5-3, where it would remain until Kenley Jansen closed the door in the ninth to even the series up at one game-a-piece heading back to Los Angeles.
Game 3: White Sox 5, Dodgers 3
In the deciding game three, the White Sox trailed the Dodgers 2-0 heading into the top of the seventh.
A two-run Triple by Nomar Mazara tied the ballgame, before Jose Abreu gave the White Sox a 4-2 lead with a two-run double. The White Sox would score one more to make it 5-2, and the bullpen held the Dodgers at bay en route to an upset victory in the second round against the top-seeded Dodgers.
Carlos Rodon earned the victory despite allowing two runs on eight hits and five walks, and the White Sox will take on the Cleveland Indians in the quarter-finals of the TCD MLB Tournament.
Complete Round 2 Results
- (1) Dodgers vs. (17) White Sox
- G1: White Sox 11, Dodgers 7
- G1: Dodgers 6, White Sox 3
- G3: White Sox 5, Dodgers 2
- (9) Indians vs. (25) Royals
- G1: Indians 11, Royals 2
- G2: Indians 15, Royals 6
- (5) Twins vs. (12) Red Sox
- G1: Twins 4, Red Sox 3
- G2: Twins 4, Red Sox 3
- (4) Rays vs. (13) Padres
- G1: Rays 4, Padres 3 (F/11)
- G2: Padres 3, Rays 1
- G3: Rays 4, Padres 3
- (3) Yankees vs. (19) Phillies
- G1: Yankees 11, Phillies 3
- G2: Yankees 6, Phillies 5
- (6) Nationals vs. (11) Cubs
- G1: Nationals 5, Cubs 4
- G2: Nationals 9, Cubs 1
- (7) Braves vs. (10) Mets
- G1: Mets 4, Braves 3
- G2: Mets 3, Braves 0
- (2) Astros vs. (18) Cardinals
- G1: Astros 8, Cardinals 1
- G2: Astros 4, Cardinals 0
Here’s a look at the tournament bracket heading into the quarter-finals round: