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Let's talk about playoffs (in the minor leagues)

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How do playoff chances look for the different Brewers affiliates? Let's take a detailed look at all of them.

Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

The Brewers minor league affiliates are entering the final month of the season. Each of these teams are competing for their own playoff lives, even as the Brewers move players between the different levels. What are the different affiliates playing for this year? How do their playoffs work? Let's look at it league by league.

Nashville Sounds (Triple-A - Pacific Coast League)

Record 61-53
Last Day of Regular Season September 1
Position in Standings 1st in American Southern Division
If Season Ended Today Would be in playoffs as division champion.

Playoff Procedures

Participating Teams

  • Four division champions make the playoffs (no wild cards)
  • Ties are broken by tiebreaking rules (record head-to-head, then vs. division, finally vs. conference)
  • If two teams are tied after that, one-game playoff held to determine division champion.
Playoff Format
  • Each round is a 5-game series. Team without home-field advantage hosts first two games, then team with home-field advantage hosts last three.
  • Home-field advantage in each round of playoffs is done on a rotating basis. This year:
    • American South & Pacific North champions get home field advantage in first round.
    • American Champion gets home field advantage in second round.
  • League champion plays the champion from the International League in a 1-game national championship at a predetermined site.

Full details can be found here.

Current Bracket (if playoffs began today)

American Conference Championship
American Northern Champion: Iowa Cubs (CHC)
American Southern Champion: Nashville Sounds (MIL)

Game 1-2: Nashville @ Iowa
Game 3-5: Iowa @ Nashville

Pacific Conference Championship
Pacific Southern Champion: Las Vegas 51s (NYM)
Pacific Northern Champion: Sacramento River Cats (OAK)

Game 1-2: Sacramento @ Las Vegas
Game 3-5: Las Vegas @ Sacramento

League Championship Series
Pacific Conference Champion vs. American Conference Champion

Game 1-2: American @ Pacific
Game 3-5: Pacific @ American

Triple-A National Championship Game
PCL Champion vs. International League Champion

Current Situation

The Sounds are in good shape to make the PCL playoffs. They currently lead their division, but it is the closest division of the four in the league. Only 5 games separate first & last place within the division. The closest team is Memphis (Cardinals affiliate), who is 2 games behind the Sounds.

If the Sounds do make the playoffs, the rules would play in their favor for home field advantage. The PCL rules have home field advantage in the playoffs on a rotating schedule. Because of this, should the Sounds make the playoffs, they would have home field advantage throughout. However, in each round they would have to start on the road for two games (in a best of five series). It means they're only guaranteed one home game in each round, but any extended series would play more in their favor.

Huntsville Stars (Double-A - Southern League)

Record 65-47 Overall, 46-24 First Half, 19-23 Second Half
Last Day of Regular Season September 1
Position in Standings 1st Overall in North, 1st in First Half, 3rd in Second Half
If Season Ended Today Will be in playoffs as first half winner.

Playoff Procedures

Participating Teams

  • Four teams make the playoffs: The winner of each half of the season in each division. If a team wins both halves in their division, the second place team in the overall standings for the division makes the playoffs.
  • In the event of a two-way tie for division champion:
    • If the tie occurs in the first half, the champion is determined by the result of the first game the two teams play in the second half of the season.
    • If the tie occurs in the second half, a one-game playoff is held to determine the champion. Home team is determined by coin flip.
  • In the event of a three-way tie, it is first broken by head-to-head record, then record vs. division, then record in recent games. Tiebreakers are done until one team is eliminated, then revert to the two-team tiebreaker.
Playoff Format
  • Each playoff round is a best of 5 series.
  • In round 1, first half division winners host the first two games, and second half winners host the remaining three. If a team won both halves, they will host games 1, 2, 4, and 5. The second place team will host game 3.
  • Winners move on to championship series. Home-field advantage is decided on a rotating basis. This year, the North Division Champion hosts the first two games, and the South Division Champion hosts the remaining three.

Full details can be found here.

Current Bracket (if playoffs began today)

North Division Championship
First Half Winner: Huntsville Stars (MIL)
Second Half Winner: Birmingham Barons (CWS)

Game 1-2: Birmingham @ Huntsville
Game 3-5: Huntsville @ Birmingham

South Division Championship
First Half Winner: Mobile Bay Bears (ARI)
Second Half Winner: Jacksonville Suns (MIA)

Game 1-2: Jacksonville @ Mobile
Game 3-5: Mobile @ Jacksonville

League Championship
North Champion vs. South Champion

Game 1-2: South @ North
Game 3-5: North @ South

Current Situation

The Huntsville Stars don't have to worry about making the playoffs at this point. Because of their first half, they are in regardless of what happens the rest of the season. That doesn't mean there's anything to play for, though. As it stands, the second half champion would get home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. However, should Huntsville win the second half as well, they would get to host four of the five playoff games in round 1 (with only game 3 on the road). Otherwise, they would host the first two games in each round and travel for the last three.

Brevard County Manatees (Class A Advanced - Florida State League)

Record 55-48 Overall, 36-30 in First Half, 19-18 in Second Half
Last Day of Regular Season August 31
Position in Standings 2nd Overall in North, 3rd in First Half, 2nd in Second Half
If Season Ended Today Would miss playoffs by 4.5 games.

Playoff Procedures

Participating Teams

  • Four teams make the playoffs: The winner of each half of the season in each division. If a team wins both halves in their division, the second place team in the overall standings for the division makes the playoffs.
  • In the event of a tie, the teams in the tie go through tiebreakers in the following order: Winning percentage, head-to-head record, division record, runs scored, runs scored head-to-head, runs scored in division, one game playoff.

Playoff Format

  • Round 1 is a best of three series between the division winners of each half. First half winner decides if they want to host game 1 or games 2 & 3 (decision must be made by August 1).
  • Championshp series is a best of five series in a 2-3 format. Home-field advantage is determined on a rotating basis. This year, the North Division Champion gets home-field advantage.

Full details can be found here.

Current Bracket (if playoffs began today)

North Division Championship
First Half Winner: Dunedin Blue Jays (TOR)
Second Half Winner: Daytona Cubs (CHC)

3-Game Series, Dunedin decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3.

South Division Championship
First Half Winner: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN)
Second Half Winner: Palm Beach Cardinals (STL)

3-Game Series, Fort Myers decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

League Championship
South Division Champion vs. North Division Champion

Game 1-2: North @ South
Game 3-5: South @ North

Current Situation

The Manatees are in some trouble right now. Despite being one of the better teams in their division, they have work to do if they want to make the playoffs. Their only chances to make the playoffs are to either win the second half of the season, or have the first half champion win the second half and finish second overall. Unfortunately, the first half champion is even farther back in the standings, so that's not a likely scenario. If the Manatees want to make the playoffs, they need to make up 4.5 games in under a month. They have 31 games left, which is plenty of time to do it.

Wisconsin Timber Ratters (Class A - Midwest League)

Record 59-50 Overall, 36-33 in First Half, 23-17 in Second Half
Last Day of Regular Season September 1
Position in Standings 2nd Overall in West, 4th in First Half, 2nd in Second Half
If Season Ended Today Would make playoffs as West Second Half Wild Card.

Playoff Procedures

Participating Teams

  • Eight teams participate in the playoffs.
  • First Half Participants
    • Division Champions
    • Second place team in each division (Wild Card team)
  • Second Half Participants
    • Division Champions
    • Second place team in each division (Wild Card team)
    • In case of previous qualifiers
      • If first place team already qualified, second place team qualifies as the Division Champion
      • If second place team already qualified, third place team qualifies as a Wild Card
      • If third place team already qualified, fourth place team qualifies as a Wild Card

Playoff Format

  • Division Round - Best of 3 Series. First-half participant in each series decides to either host game 1 or games 2 & 3.
    • Series 1: East First-Half Champion vs. Second-Half Wild Card
    • Series 2: East First-Half Wild Card vs. Second-Half Champion
    • Series 3: West First-Half Champion vs. Second-Half Wild Card
    • Series 4: West First-Half Wild Card vs. Second-Half Champion
  • Division Championship - Best of 3 Series. Team with better overall record decides to host game 1 or games 2 &3.
    • Series 5: Series 1 winner vs. Series 2 winner
    • Series 6: Series 3 winner vs. Series 4 winner
  • League Championship - Best of 5 Series, 2-3 Format. Home field advantage rotates year to year. East Division champion has home-field advantage this year.

Full details can be found here.

Current Bracket (if playoffs began today)

Series 1 - East Division Round
East First Half Champion: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET)
East Second Half Wild Card: Lake County Captains (CLE)

3-Game Series, West Michigan decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 2 - East Division Round
East First Half Wild Card: South Bend Silver Hawks (ARI)
East Second Half Champion: Dayton Dragons (CIN)

3-Game Series, South Bend decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 3 - West Division Round
West First Half Champion: Kane County Cougars (CHC)
West Second Half Wild Card: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL)

3-Game Series, Kane County decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 4 - West Division Round
West Fist Half Wild Card: Burlington Bees (LAA)
West Second Half Champion: Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN)

3-Game Series, Burlington decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 5 - East Division Championship
Series 1 winner vs. Series 2 winner

3-Game Series, team with higher overall record decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 6 - West Division Championship
Series 3 winner vs. Series 4 winner

3-Game Series, team with higher overall record decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

Series 7 - League Championship
East Division Champion vs. West Division Champion

Game 1-2: East @ West
Game 3-5: West @ East

Current Situation

The Timber Rattlers benefit from the most team-friendly playoff format of all the Brewers affiliates. While they are tied for second right now, they have a two-game lead over the fourth place teams. Plus, the team they are tied with is the first half champion. As a result, if the season ended today, they would make the playoffs. As long as they finish in the top two of the second half, or the top three if the first half champion is one of those three, they will be in the playoffs.

Helena Brewers (Rookie - Pioneer League)

Record 16-29 Overall, 13-25 in First Half, 3-4 in Second Half
Last Day of Regular Season September 4
Position in Standings 4th Overall in North, 4th in First Half, 3rd in Second Half
If Season Ended Today Would not make the playoffs.

Playoff Procedures

Playoff rules here are a bit confusing, but it appears to be similar to many of the other leagues.

Four teams make the playoffs: The winner of each half of the season in each division. If a team wins both halves in their division, the second place team in the overall standings for the division makes the playoffs.

Current Bracket (if playoffs began today)

North Division Championship
First Half Winner: Great Falls Voyagers (CHW)
Second Half Winner: Billings Mustangs (CIN)

3-Game Series, Great Falls decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3.

South Division Championship
First Half Winner: Orem Owlz (LAA)
Second Half Winner: Grand Junction Rockies (COL)

3-Game Series, Orem decides to host Game 1 or Game 2 & 3

League Championship
South Division Champion vs. North Division Champion

Full details can be found here.

Current Situation

It's not looking good for the Helena Brewers in any way. They are falling behind in the second half standings and are already far behind in the overall standings. If they can pull it together, the second-half champion spot is still available and within reach. They will need to play well the rest of the way to get that spot.

AZL Brewers (Rookie - Arizona League)

Record 15-18 Overall, 14-14 in First Half, 1-4 in Second Half
Last Day of Regular Season August 28
Position in Standings 2nd Overall in Central, 2nd in First Half, 4th in Second Half
If Season Ended Today Would make playoffs as Central Wild Card

Playoff Procedures

  • Six teams make the playoffs: Champions of each half of the season in each of the three divisions. If a team wins both half of the season, the second place team in the overall standings for the division makes it as a wild card.
  • Top two teams by overall record get first-round byes.
  • Playoffs are single elimination.

Curren Bracket (if playoffs began today)

*Note: The league details don't specify how the seeding works out, so this assumes it is done by overall record.

#1 Seed: AZL Indians (23-10)
#2 Seed: AZL Angels (23-11)
#3 Seed: AZL Rangers (20-13)
#4 Seed: AZL Mariners (18-15)
#5 Seed: AZL Giants (17-15)
#6 Seed: AZL Brewers (15-18)

Game 1: AZL Mariners vs. AZL Giants
Game 2: AZL Rangers vs. AZL Brewers
Game 3: AZL Indians vs. Game 1 Winner
Game 4: AZL Angels vs. Game 2 Winner
Game 5: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner

Current Situation

The Brewers affiliate hasn't had the best start to the second half of the season. Plus, the Indians affiliate (winner of the first half) already has a 3+ game built up in the second half. This could work to the Brewers advantage, though. If the Indians hold on in the second half of the season, the second-place team in the overall standings would make it, and that is currently the Brewers. If they can hold on to that spot, they will make the playoffs.

DSL Brewers (Rookie - Dominican Summer League)

Record 22-31
Last Day of Regular Season August 23
Position in Standings 4th in San Pedro de Macoris Division
If Season Ended Today Would not be in playoffs.

Current Situation

Unfortunately, the Dominican Summer League does not post their playoff procedures, so I can't provide a rundown of those here. However, it's safe to say that the Brewers affiliate will not be participating. They do provide elimination numbers, and the Brewers are at 7 in the overall standings and in the wild card. They are 13 games back of the division lead and the wild card. They probably won't be playoff bound.