In Major League Baseball, money is still not everything. At least not yet.
Over the course of the 2021 season, the ratio between the number of games an MLB team won and their payroll on opening day was a relatively modest 40 percent.
Four of the 10 teams with the highest payrolls qualified for the postseason, as did five middle-class teams and one – the Tampa Bay Rays – from the bottom 10.
Money isn’t everything in MLB
The Rays won 100 games despite an opening day payroll of $ 66.75 million that only finished 26th out of 30 teams.
Over the past ten years, the ratio between team wages and profits has averaged just under 40 percent, although it fluctuated quite a lot from season to season.
The relationship peaked at 62.2 percent in 2016 and 2017. During the 2020 season, which was shortened by Covid, it reached a decade low of only 16 percent.
In 2019, the comparable value was 41.1 percent, so that the calculation for 2021 represents something of a return to a historical norm.
The strength of the relationship between team expenses and victories is determined using a mathematical formula called regression analysis. In civil terms, regression analysis is a tool that finds causal relationships between two sets of data, such as: B. Payroll and Profits, can roughly derive.
Obviously, the conclusion is only broad – many factors can affect team performance – and should only be understood that way.
In 2021, the top two paid teams – the Dodgers ($ 247 million) and the Yankees ($ 198 million) – both qualified for the post-season game. The third highest and fourth highest, however – the Mets ($ 195 million) and Phillies ($ 191 million) didn’t.
The Astros (fifth at $ 188 million) and Red Sox (eighth at $ 180 million) also made it to the top 10 payrolls. But the Nationals, Angels, Padres, and Twins all finished under .500, despite having spent a total of $ 696 million.
Among the top 10 teams with the lowest spending, the Oakland Athletics (23rd place with $ 84 million) and Mariners (25th place with $ 73 million) joined the Rays over .500.
That’s not to say that money is not a factor in winning. The four teams that lost 100 games in 2021 – the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Orioles, and Pirates – were all among the 11 lowest-paid teams.
Perhaps strangely enough, the 10 middle-class salary teams – the Cardinals, Giants, Cubs, Blue Jays, Braves, White Sox, Reds, Rockies, Brewers, and Diamondbacks – outperformed their wealthier cousins a little. These middle-class teams averaged 84.4 wins, with almost one winning more than the top 10 paid teams (83.8 wins).
The top 10 lowest paid MLB teams averaged only 74.7 wins in 2021.