September 30, 2022

MLB Playoff Format FAQs

Major League Baseball has unveiled a postseason format in 2022 that expands both the team pool and the Wild Card round.

Here are the answers to questions you might have about the format.

How many teams reach the playoffs?
Bracket-style playoffs involve 12 teams (six from each league) – an increase from 10 teams (five from each league) in the previous format. This includes the three division winners in each league and three Wild Card teams per league.

Does the Wild Card Game still exist?
No, the single-elimination Wild Card Game, which was used from 2012-19 and again in 21, has been replaced by a best-of-three Wild Card series.

How are the teams divided?
In each league, as follows:

The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will receive first-round byes and advance directly to the Division Series.

For the Wild Card Series, the #3 seed will face the #6 seed and the #4 seed will face the #5 seed.

What if a Wild Card winner from one division has a better record than a division winner from another?
It does not matter. The winner of the division has priority with regard to the classification.

What is the Wild Card series format?
Each game in the Wild Card Series will be played at the home park of the team with the highest seed (thus, seeds #3 and #4 will have home duties). Matches will be scheduled to take place within a three-day window so that division winners with byes won’t have to wait longer than is beneficial.

The winners of the Wild Card Series will advance to the Division Series and the losers will be eliminated from the playoffs.

Are teams reseeded after the Wild Card Series?
No. The #1 seed will face the winner of the Wild Card series between the #4/5 seeds, while the #2 seed will face the winner of the #3/6 series. This ensures that the No. 1 seed will not face another division winner in the round of the division series while preserving the bracket system.

Is the Division series still a best-of-five?
Yes. The only thing that has changed when it comes to the Division Series is how teams get there. It will remain a best-of-five in a 2-2-1 format, with home advantage going to the highest seed.

Are there any other changes in the playoffs?
No. The League Championship Series and World Series rounds remain the best of seven in a 2-3-2 format, as far as home advantage is concerned.

What if two (or more) teams vying for a division title or playoff spot have identical records at the end of the regular season?
Tie-breaker games (otherwise known as game 163) have been eliminated. All ties will be resolved mathematically, with the head-to-head record being the first tiebreaker. Here is a full explanation of the tie breaker system.

Which pennant winner gets home-court advantage in the World Series?
The home court for the World Series round goes to the team with the best regular season record, regardless of that team’s within-league playoff standing.

If both teams had identical regular season records, the tiebreaker format linked above (head-to-head record, then intra-division record, then inter-division record) applies.

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