MLB 2022 Postseason Format: Details & Predictions

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Los Angeles Dodgers' Joey Gallo, left, third base coach Dino Ebel, Cody Bellinger and first base coach Clayton McCullough (86) celebrate after the Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game in San Francisco, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Aug 12, 2022, 12:26 PM
  • As of 2022, the MLB postseason format has been expanded to include 12 teams.
  • The winner of each of the six divisions will advance to the playoffs.
  • Three Wild Card teams from each league will also advance.

MLB World Series odds are on everyone’s mind as we quickly approach the end of the regular season, with fans looking toward October and the baseball playoffs

The new collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLBPA brought many changes, not the least of which was expanding the postseason schedule to include 12 teams instead of the previous 10. 

Under the new agreement, the two division-winning teams in each league with the best regular-season records will advance to the playoffs as the top two seeds, and each receives a bye in the first round (the Wild Card Series). 

The third division-winning team of each league will advance to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in each league. Regardless of division, the three teams in each league with the next highest regular-season records will advance as seeds No. 4 to 6.

MLB Postseason Format – 12 Advancing Teams

Seed No. 1 — AL/NL division winner with best record
Seed No. 2 — AL/NL division winner with second-best record
Seed No. 3 — AL/NL division winner with third-best record
Seed No. 4 — AL/NL non division-winner with best record
Seed No. 5 — AL/NL non division-winner with second-best record
Seed No. 6 — AL/NL non division-winner with third-best record

In the first round of the playoffs (Wild Card Series), the No. 3 seed of each league will host their respective No. 6 seed in all games of a best-of-three series, and the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed for the same. Seeds No. 1 and No. 2 will each get a bye from this round, automatically progressing to the Division Series.

In the second round (Division Series), the No. 1 seed of each league will play the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series, and the No. 2 seed will play the winner of the No. 3 vs. No. 6 series. The Division Series consists of five games.

From there, the winners of those two series will compete in the best-of-seven Championship Series, with the winner of each league advancing to the World Series (also best-of-seven).

Why Have the MLB Playoffs Been Expanded?

The new format will replace the single Wild Card game with a best-of-three series and include a sixth team from each league — it’s definitely going to be bigger and more exciting. 

Expanding the format to six teams from each league adds more importance to division rankings throughout the regular season. Since the top two winning teams will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs and the bottom four will play a best-of-three series, it is no longer about just getting to the postseason. Where your team ranks matters more than ever before.

It also expands the competition to the entire league, rather than just winning a division. Even if a team ranks first in their division, that doesn’t mean they will secure a bye.

The new format also guarantees that the No. 1 seed from each league will not face another division winner until the third round, at the earliest.

MLB Playoff Predictions

I predict the standings will remain pretty accurate to where they currently sit, though I do think a few divisions will see some movement. 

I think the Houston Astros and New York Yankees will be the top two seeds in the AL, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets will be the top two seeds in the NL. Under the new format, these four teams would receive a bye in the first round, automatically advancing to the Division Series.

In the AL, I think the remaining four teams to advance will be the Cleveland Guardians, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, and Seattle Mariners. If this is the case, the first-round Wild Card Series would see the Guardians host the Mariners and the Blue Jays host the Rays.

In the NL, the third division winner will likely be the St. Louis Cardinals, with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Philadelphia Phillies progressing as Wild Cards. The Cardinals would host the Phillies, and the Braves would host the Padres.

It is only early August, and a lot can still happen. Multiple teams are only one or two wins away from taking over a Wild Card spot, so matchups could change very easily. Either way, it’s guaranteed to be an exciting ride.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.