From SABR President Vince Gennaro at Diamond Dollars on July 21, 2012:
I’ve loved the wild card from its inception in 1995 and I love the addition of a 2nd wild card even more. The new playoff format rationalizes the postseason for MLB—it provides appropriate playoff advantages and disadvantages based on regular season performance. Coupled with a schedule that has more uniformity (beginning in 2013) for teams competing in the same division, it’s a better system. Under the old format (1995-2011), it’s fair to say a postseason berth was a 1-in-8 lottery ticket to a world championship. (In fact, of the 34 wild card teams, 5 have won the World Series).
In the new two wild card system, the teams with the best regular season will have a decided advantage. Since the two wild cards in each league will meet for a one-and-done play-in game, this cuts the probability in half that a wild card team will reach the final eight teams. The wild cards are disadvantaged even further by needing to use their ace starter for the all important play-in game, leaving the wild card winner to potentially face a #1 seed, with one (pitching) arm tied behind their back. For example, imagine a wild card winning Angels club having to start their 2, 3, 4, 1 against the Yankees 1, 2, 3, 4. Not only is it a decided disadvantage for the wild card entrants, but also a boost for the #1 seed in each league.
At this point I don’t know enough about how the new format will play out to have the conviction to place odds on each seed, but the old “1-in-8″ could range from a 15% to 20% chance for teams in each league with the best regular season record, to a 5% chance for the 2nd wild card qualifier. That’s a big shift from the former egalitarian playoff format.
Read the full article here: http://vincegennaro.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/2nd-wild-card-and-impact-on-the-trade-deadline/
Originally published: July 24, 2012. Last Updated: July 24, 2012.