Things are going to be very different as we kick off the 2022 MLB season, especially when it comes to the playoffs.
Many things have amended with the implementation of the new collective bargaining agreement that MLB and MLBPA ratified on Thursday, March 10. One of the biggest changes we will see in the coming months is that of the playoff format.
Here’s everything you need to know about MLB’s playoff formats – what they’ve looked like over the years and what they’ll look like in 2022:
What can we expect the 2022 playoff format to look like?
The 2022 playoff format will feature 12 teams, rather than 10 teams.
In the 12-team format, there will be six playoff teams per league: the three division winners and three wildcards. They will be classified as follows:
1 seed: best overall record
2nd seed: Second best record among division winners
3rd seed: record for third best division winner
4-6 seeds: Top three records among non-division winners (in order of record)
The top two seeds will earn a bye into the divisional round.
How will the 2022 playoff format be different from previous years?
Unlike previous years, there will be one additional playoff team per league that will compete in the playoffs. Additionally, there will be no playoffs to determine the playoff teams for the 2022 season.
In the wildcard round, the No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed for a three-game series. Likewise, the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed.
Then the winners will advance to the divisional round, where there is no reseeding. The No. 1 seed hosts the 4-5 series winner and the No. 2 hosts the 3-6 series winner.
How has the playoff format changed throughout history?
Playoff formats started with just four teams, and now we’ve reached 12.
Well actually, before 1969, when only the World Series existed, two teams faced each other in the playoffs. Then, from 1969 until 1993, four teams began making the playoffs: the winners of the four divisions played in the LCS, with the winners advancing to the World Series.
Beginning in 1995, eight teams made the playoffs. Each league had three division winners and a wild card lead in the divisional round, followed by the LCS and World Series. This lasted until 2011.
In 2012, 10 teams started making the playoffs, including six division winners and four wild card winners. One game embodied a league knockout game before the Divisional Series. This format lasted until 2019. It resurfaced in 2021.
In 2020, an unprecedented 16 teams, eight per league, made the playoffs.