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Baseball: What's in a payroll?

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We are about six weeks into the 2013 Major League Baseball season. But I've been hit hard with major writer's block every time I've tried to write something about this season.

Last week I started writing a piece about how I think the Texas Rangers and the St Louis Cardinals will end up in a rematch of the 2011 World Series, but I couldn't put onto paper why I feel this will been the end result of the 2013 season.

Then the other day, as I was trying to catch up on all things baseball, I started thinking: "I wonder what the payroll difference is between the top teams from each division."

Here are some of the things I discovered.

  •  The Yankees and the Orioles lead the AL East (as of May 15). The Yankees have a player in Derek Jeter who is injured and makes more than the entire Houston Astros team. The Yankees' payroll is approximately $229 million, whereas the Orioles payroll is $91.8 million.
  •  As of May 15 the Yankees had 25 wins to Baltimore's 23. That means the Yankees were paying $2.2 million per victory while the Orioles were paying $960,000 per win.
  •  The Yankees have more money sitting on the 60-day disabled list in just three players (Jeter, Rodriguez, and Texeira) than the entire payrolls of the Astros and Marlins combined.
  • The Dodgers, who made a splash this winter by spending more money than a government stimulus package are comfortably in first place... Oops! I mean last place in the NL West.
  • If it weren't for the Astros moving to the AL West, the Angels would be locked in to last place in the AL West. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have already earned a combined $10.25 million so far this year and have combined for a staggering .228 batting average.
  • Both Chicago teams have a payroll above $100 million and both are basement dwelling in their divisions.
  • Teams with the top 10 payrolls have a combined winning percentage of .514. Teams 11-20 have a combined winning percentage of .519 and teams 21-30 have a winning percentage of .466.
  • Four of the division leaders (Yankees, Rangers, Giants, Tigers) are in the top 10 payrolls, while two are in the middle of the pack (Cardinals and Braves). Where it gets interesting is that of the 2nd place teams in each division, four are in the middle of the payroll spectrum (Reds, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Orioles), and the other two (Athletics and Indians) are in the bottom third of payrolls.
About the Author
Steve spends his time here at The Peorian analyzing data and networking to develop solutions to bridge the gap between…no wait, that’s what he does as a career. He’s here at The Peorian to write about other things. And in order to facilitate these efforts, we have banned him from using any forms of the words “data”, “engineering” and “antidisestablishmentarianism”. The latter should be for obvious reasons. I mean, really, how could anyone be FOR the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in 19th-century Britain?