Here are the rules for the 2020 Scoresheet playoffs. The concept for this year's playoffs is the same as in previous years - playing time in the playoffs is just based on how much a player played in the majors the last few weeks of the regualr season, and the stats a player puts up in those last few weeks are weighted more heavily. This year, the last three weeks of the season will be used for playing time limits and stat weighting. We usually use the last four weeks, but are reducing it because of the shorter season.The deadline for playoff lineups, and also the trade deadline, is Monday morning, September 7th, 2020.

1. PLAYOFF LINEUP: The 'playoff only' lineup form is now available on your league's webpage - the link to that playoff only lineup is shown on your regular lineup card. That link will be up through the morning of September 7th (Labor Day in the US) which is the deadline for playoff lineups. The playoff lineup form is separate from your regular lineup, meaning that it will not erase or change your regular lineup. If you do not turn in a special 'playoff only lineup', the lineup you have in effect for major league games for the week that begins September 7th will be used if your team makes the playoffs. You can continue to make make regular season lineup changes after Labor Day - new lineups will affect only that week's games, and if you make the playoffs, we will either use the 'playoff only' lineup, or revert back to your lineup from the week starting September 7th (if you haven't submitted a 'playoff only' lineup).

If you want to turn in a 'playoff only' lineup, it needs to be submitted by/before the first MLB game begins on September 7th. The reason for this early deadline is that we want to keep Scoresheet a game of predicting how players will do in upcoming major league games. We use stats from earlier in the season because after listening to owners' comments in past seasons, it seems most owners feel the team that has been better all year should have a better chance at winning the playoffs. However, by using September stats heavily, the element of 'prediction' still exists in Scoresheet Baseball. Please note that the trading deadline is also on Labor Day.

A 4-man pitching rotation is used in the playoffs. When sending in the 'playoff only' lineup, you will need to have just 4 starting pitchers listed. When you first access the 'playoff only' lineup form, there will be 5 starting pitchers shown, since the form pulls in an exact copy of your regular season lineup. Before sending in your playoff lineup, you must change it so that only 4 starting pitchers are listed to have the send button work. Once you submit the changes, the next time you open your 'playoff only' lineup form, it will have saved the latest playoff changes you made. (NOTE - your regular lineup card still needs a 5 man rotation for that regular card's send button to work. It is just the playoff only card that uses a 4 man rotation.)

2.PLAYING TIME LIMITS: In all playoff series, playing time limits are based on players' playing time in major league games from September 7th through the 27th (the final 3 weeks of the regular season). Please note that if you have a player who does not play at all in the majors during the last 3 weeks of the season, he will not play at all for your Scoresheet team in the playoffs! Hitters have up to 55% of their total major league plate appearances during the final 3 weeks of the MLB season available for use in each Scoresheet playoff series. Pitchers in the Scoresheet playoffs will be limited to pitching up to 60% as many innings in each series as they pitched in the majors during the final 3 weeks of the season. These limits do start over for each series.

All playoff series will be a best of 7 games. A pitcher can start at most two playoff games for your team during a 7-game series. You will always use at least 4 different starting pitchers in the playoffs. For a pitcher to start for you in the playoffs, he must start at least once in the majors the last 3 weeks of the season. For a pitcher to start twice for you in the playoffs, he must have at least 2 major league starts the final 3 weeks of the season.

If you need a pitcher pulled from the bullpen to start, then the regular Scoresheet procedures apply - the first pitcher listed in your bullpen that had at least one start in the last 3 weeks of the major league season will be used (ignoring the 'earliest inning to use as a reliever' and 'rank as a reliever' columns). If one of your top 4 listed starting pitchers does not get a start during the last 4 weeks of the major league season, we will drop him to the bullpen for the playoffs, with an earliest inning of 1, a hook of 3, and a reliever rank of 5 versus both left and right handed batters. Also, to pitch a complete game in the playoffs, a starter must have a complete game in the majors during the final 3 weeks of the season. NOTE: The pitchers you have who will start twice during a 7-game series will start Games 1, 2 and 3, respectively, in the order they are listed in your rotation. However, if a pitcher is eligible to start only once, he will start Game 4 even if he is listed as your number 1, 2 or 3 starter.

The playing time limits are set up so that even if your players do some resting on the bench in the majors in September, they should still be able to play close to full-time for you in the Scoresheet playoffs. However, since playing time in the playoffs is based on how much they play in the major league during those last 3 weeks, a player who does not play at all in the majors in the last 3 weeks of the season will not play at all for you in the Scoresheet playoffs! This rule specifically helps to prevent a team from trading for an injured player who is not going to play again this year; and being able to use his earlier season stats for the playoffs. This assumes that a team that is not headed for the playoffs would have no use for an injured player, and would therefore give him up for almost nothing in return. We don't want a team to become unfairly strengthened for the playoffs by trading very little for such a player, and then being able to use him.

3. PLAYER PERFORMANCE: How a player performs in the playoffs will be based 50% on how he does in the majors during the last 3 weeks of the season; the other 50% is based on how he performed in the majors before September 7th (assuming he was a full-time player all year). For those who love precise numbers, the exact way we figure out what stats a player uses for the playoffs is as follows:

Scoresheet multiplies a player's major league stats for the three week's worth of games beginning on Labor Day by 2.1, then adds in his stats from the 6 1/2 week's worth of games played before the 7th. Thus, if he played the same amount of time per week in the majors for the whole year, a player's major league stats after Labor Day would count for 50%, and the stats before Labor Day would count 50%. If he plays more per week in the majors in the last 3 weeks of the MLB season than he did earlier in the year, his stats for the last 3 weeks would count for more than 50%; and if he plays less in the last 3 weeks, his stats would count less than 50%.

All stats are based on a player's major league performance, NOT his Scoresheet numbers.

Our usual rule is that games played in the majors after the regularly scheduled final day (September 27th this year), such as tie-breaking games or make up games, do *NOT* count in our Scoresheet playoffs, either for playing time limits or for stats used. We plan on *not* counting those games this year either. However, if something bizarre happens such as MLB having all teams plays games after the 27th then we will adjust that rule as needed. Sadly, we have learned this year that flexibility is often needed.

4. PLAYOFF MATCHUPS: In two and three division leagues that follow standard Scoresheet rules, the division winners, plus one wild card, make the playoffs:

  • 2-division leagues (10 teams): the division winner with the best record gets a bye, while the division winner with the worse record plays the wild card team in Round 1 of the playoffs.
  • 3-division leagues (12 teams): the division winner with the best record faces the playoff team with the worst record (even if that is a wild card from the same division), while the teams with the 2nd- and 3rd-best records face off in the other matchup.
  • private leagues: playoff configuration is sent out with draft results, and also is shown each week on league webpage (above the season schedule). Please let us know if the configuration shown is not correct!

TIES: If 2 or more teams are tied at the end of the season, but the tie only matters for playoff seeding, then we'll use head to head records to break the tie, and if those are tied we'll go to overall run differential. If two or more teams are tied and a playoff berth is at stake then a 7 game playoff will be played to break the tie. That tie-breaking series will use the same rules as our normal playoff series, and will be played (and results included) with the normal playoff results sent out next week. If there are 3 teams tied for one playoff berth the team with the best head to head record among the three teams will get a bye while the other two teams play a best of 7 series, and then the winner of that series will play another best of 7 series against the team that had the bye. If three teams are tied for two wild card berths the #1 seed according to head to head records among those three teams gets one of the berths (with run differential being used if head to head is tied), and the other two teams play a 7 game series to determine who gets the second playoff spot.
SPECIAL NOTE: The first thing the program does is figure the division winners. So, if three teams are tied, with two of them tied for a division crown,while the third is from a different division but tied with those two teams for the wild card, first the program figures who wins the division (by playing a 7 game series if the one who does not win the division is not guaranteed a wild card spot.) Then, after figuring out who wins the division,the program would play a series between the non-division winner and the team from the other division that is tied for the wild card.