Expanding Major League Baseball – 3

A while back I mused on what major league baseball might look if two teams were added. One in each league, to make it four divisions with four teams in each league. I picked Portland for the AL team, and Montreal for the NL. The playoffs would be between the division winners – no “wild cards”.

As we are heading into the thick of the pennant races, I asked myself, “What would the standings and pennant races look like in my four team – four division system?”

Obviously, there’s no way to know what the actual won-lost records would be for the teams. I decided to take the records for the real teams as of the start of play today (August 27, 2019), and assume that Portland and Montreal would have .500 records. That makes it easy to minimize their effect on the other team’s records.

Here’s what the hypothetical standings would be:

AL EAST W L PCT GB
New York 86 47 .647
Boston 70 62 .530 15.5
Toronto 53 80 .398 33
Baltimore 43 88 .328 42
AL CENTRAL
W L PCT GB
Minnesota 79 51 .608
Cleveland 76 55 .580 3.5
Chicago 60 70 .462 19
Detroit 39 89 .305 39
AL SOUTH W L PCT GB
Houston 85 47 .644
Tampa Bay 76 56 .576 9
Texas 64 68 .485 21
Kansas City 46 86 .348 39
AL WEST W L PCT GB
Oakland 75 55 .577
Portland 66 66 .500 9
Anaheim 63 70 .474 13.5
Seattle 56 76 .424 20

Tampa Bay doesn’t benefit much from being in the new “South” division, but Oakland is surely glad to be in a different one from the Astros. In trading the “wild card” race for a new division, we lose one “pennant” race. The AL Central is still up for grabs, but there’s no fight to see which teams get to face off in the wild card game.

NL EAST W L PCT GB
Philadelphia 68 62 .523
New York 67 63 .515 1
Montreal 66 66 .500 3
Pittsburgh 55 76 .420 13.5
NL CENTRAL
W L PCT GB
St. Louis 72 58 .554
Chicago 69 61 .531 3
Milwaukee 67 64 .511 5.5
Colorado 59 73 .447 14
NL SOUTH W L PCT GB
Atlanta 80 53 .602
Washington 73 57 .562 5.5
Cincinnati 61 69 .470 16.5
Miami 47 83 .362 31.5
NL WEST W L PCT GB
Los Angeles 86 47 .647
Arizona 66 66 .500 19.5
San Francisco 65 66 .496 20
San Diego 61 69 .469 23.5

In the National League, in exchange for giving up the “wild card” race, we have another divisional race. Only the Dodgers are running away with theirs.

Overall, there aren’t really any surprises. Maybe I’ll come back to this after the season – or even go back and look at past seasons – to see if my divisional alignment picked the four teams in each league that made the real playoffs (I don’t count the “wild card” game as being part of the playoffs).

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