How Do MLB Wild Card Teams Perform in the Playoffs?

How Do MLB Wild Card Teams Perform in the Playoffs?
By Cecil Peters
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Toronto Blue Jays have secured their spot in the 2022 MLB Playoffs as a Wild Card Team. They lost the divisional race to the New York Yankees, who held the lead from the start of the season and never let it go. 

The two teams were close to even on the odds board at most Ontario sportsbooks to open the season, but New York piled up wins early and often, forcing the Blue Jays to chase a Wild Card berth, which they clinched on the afternoon of Sept. 29.

MLB Wild Card Teams Since 2012

% of Teams That Lost in Divisional Round % of Teams That Made The World Series # of World Series Titles
50% 16.7%2
* — Statistics are from 2012 to 2021 postseason, excluding 2020 due to change of playoff bracket

 
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New Format in 2022

There have been changes to the Wild Card format this year, with the one game Wild Card play-in game between two teams being replaced by a full Wild Card round involving three teams in each league. 

This round also includes the division winner with the worst record in each league, while the other two division winners receive byes to the divisional round of playoffs. 

The old format, in play since 2012, has delivered two World Series Championships for Wild Card teams over 18 years, with 16.7% of teams making the World Series as a wild card in that timeframe. 

This year, with more wild card teams in the mix and a chance for two wild card teams to advance to the divisional round, those numbers could get even higher, music to the ears of Blue Jays fans monitoring the best Ontario betting apps.

The best examples of wild card success in the playoffs since 2012 come from the 2014 San Francisco Giants and 2019 Washington Nationals, both of whom won the World Series despite entering the playoffs as a Wild Card. In fact, in 2014 both teams in the World Series came in as Wild Cards.

 
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Hope For Toronto

The Blue Jays have had an excellent season thus far. Not enough to come close to the Yankees,  but enough to clearly be a playoff team, leading the Wild Card standings at this time.

Likely the favorite and likely to have home field advantage in their opening round matchup, Toronto has solid odds to find themselves in the divisional series. They might even have a chance to take down the Yankees and exact revenge for losing the regular season division title. Over at BetMGM Ontario sportsbook, the Jays are +600 to win the American League Championship Series.

Leading the way for Toronto has been a stellar offense. Entering the season they were expected to be one of the best offensive teams in baseball and while they haven’t hit as many home runs as expected they still rank eighth in the MLB with 190.

Where they have been exceptional has been in batting average, leading the league with a .260 average at the moment. 

Their whole lineup has produced, with seven players ranking top 70 in the league with a batting average of at least .257. Five players have more than 20 home runs, led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s 30. 

Bo Bichette has had perhaps the most well rounded season offensively, ranking high in batting average, home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases. It is a strong, deep attack that will need to peak for a playoff run.

As always with the Blue Jays, pitching depth is a concern. But Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman are strong options at the top of the rotation and closer Jordan Romano has been one of the best in all of baseball. It is an area they will need to overcome, but they have the offense to do so.

The 2014 Giants and 2019 Nationals have set the blueprint for these Blue Jays, and with the expanded wild card setup Toronto has secured its spot in the playoffs early. If they can get to the divisional round, the Blue Jays have a great chance to make it three World Series titles for wild card teams since 2012 and to be the first to do it in this new wild card era in the MLB.

Over at Caesars Ontario Sportsbook, the Blue Jays are +1600 to win the World Series, behind only the Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, Mets and Braves.

 
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Contributors

Cecil Peters
Senior Betting Analyst

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for OntarioBets.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports teams in Canada, with a focus on Toronto's favorite players and teams including the Raptors, Blue Jays & Maple Leafs.