If owners get their way, 2020 will have a shorter scheduled and the Colorado Rockies may benefit most from it.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Monday that the MLB owners will likely want a shorter schedule for the 2020 season than the 114-game proposal that the MLB Players Association proposed on Sunday. That shortened schedule may feature as little as a 50 or 60-game schedule and if it were to happen, the Colorado Rockies may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of it.
Back in March when the shutdown started, Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs did some projections on an 81-game, 110-game schedule, and 140-game schedule with his ZiPs program. As the number of games lessened, the Colorado Rockies would be one of the highest teams in playoff percentage probability increase. In a 50 or 60-game schedule, this would likely increase even more.
But even if you don’t look at projections and look at actual numbers from recent seasons, the Rockies would look very different in a 50 or 60-game season, as would many other teams.
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The 2019 Rockies finished the season with a 71-91 record but in the first 50 games, the Rockies were 23-27. Obviously, that’s not a great number but right after, they went on a big winning streak as at the 60 game mark, they were 31-29. Had the season ended then, the Rockies likely would have been in the playoffs if they are expanded and they likely will be since both the owners and MLBPA both want it.
In 2018, the Rockies finished with a record of 91-72 but after 50 games, they were 26-24 after 50 games and 31-29 after 60 games so, as the season went on, they actually got better. In 2017, the Rockies finished the season with a record of 85-77 but after 50 games, they were 32-18 and 37-23 after 60 games. That record after 60 games was the second-best record in the NL and the third-best in baseball.
For other teams, the biggest example that you likely know of is last year’s World Champions: the Washington Nationals. They were 19-31 after 50 games, which was the second-worst record in the NL only to the Miami Marlins. Obviously, they turned it around after that.
For the Rockies, though, one of their biggest issues in 2019 was the number of injuries, particularly in the last two months of the season. With an expanded roster and a significant reduction in games, the chance of that is more unlikely.
Even if it is a shortened 50 or 60-game schedule, hopefully, we will have some baseball soon. Stay tuned to our coverage as more should develop on the return of baseball in the coming days.