Who are the most efficient teams in Major League Baseball?
Forbes compared teams’ payrolls against their wins during the 2010 season.
The numbers showed that the San Diego Padres were the most efficient team this season winning 90 games with a $37.8 million payroll ($420K per win).
Nice stat, but a better measure would be to look at how the individual players players performed with respect to their salaries.
Luckily for us, Fangraphs.com has Wins Above Replacement (WAR) values for each team and has those values translated into dollar values. These values give us good idea of how the players performed (check this link for more on WAR values).
Let’s compare the WAR values to opening day payrolls and rank the teams based on “profit”…
A few notes on the above table…
- While the Padres led the league in Return on Investment (ROI), they were second to the Reds in “profit” (WAR values minus Payroll). The Mariners were posted the worst “profit” and ROI, with their players performing more than $20 million below their payroll.
- Of the eight teams with payrolls greater than $100 million, only two made the playoffs. The strongest payrolls fell within the $70-100 million range. Five of the eight playoff teams fall within this range.
- Five of the eight playoff teams fall within the top 10 of teams in ROI, and a sixth (Giants) just missed. The other two playoff teams fall in the bottom 10.
Simply outperforming a team’s payroll is not a guarantee to make the postseason. But as the table above shows, low-payroll teams that are efficient are more likely to make the playoffs than teams that just spend a lot of money.
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