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SWING THEORY
March 26, 2012
The new postseason setup, sleeper teams, future free agents and ballpark birthdays: everything you need to know for 2012—starting with a change in the balance of power
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March 26, 2012

Swing Theory

The new postseason setup, sleeper teams, future free agents and ballpark birthdays: everything you need to know for 2012—starting with a change in the balance of power

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NL

251 140

Home runs transferred this off-season (2011 totals)

1,002 667

RBIs transferred this off-season (2011 totals)

.546 .454

Interleague winning percentage, 2007--11

The New Magic Number

Beginning this season there will be two wild-card teams per league—they will face each other in a one-game playoff, with the winner advancing to the Division Series to face the division champ with the best record. The expanded postseason gives hope to teams that under the old system could only dream of playing in October—we're looking at you, Toronto and Washington. So how much easier will it be to call yourself a playoff team? Here's how postseason trends would have looked if the new system had been in place for the 16 full seasons played under the single wild-card setup (1996 through 2011). Past performance is no guarantee of future success—but playoff aspirants should aim for 89 wins.

Average wins by first wild-card winner

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