FanPost

Ranking the NL Postseason by Payroll

In an earlier discussion, I took a look at the correlation between TV Market Size and MLB Club Payroll. An interesting question came up in the comments section. The question was this - Does payroll matter in regards to wins? I changed the question slightly to this - Do high payroll teams have more postseason appearances?

As a reminder, I am using the End-of-Year payrolls as the sorting value. This number can vary significantly from Opening Day payrolls as teams make trades for the final push. I have data from the Biz of Baseball going back to 1999, so it is a good reflection of modern baseball.

There is too much data to examine properly in one post, so I am starting with the National League.

To make it into the postseason a team only needs to have a better record than the other teams in its division. Because of that, I only compared the division winner’s payroll to other teams in the division.

To gain the wild card, a team must have a better record than all other teams in the league (except for the division winners). So, I sorted the wildcard teams by their payroll rank in the league after excluding the division winners.

In the charts below, you will see three items: the year, the team that won the division, and that team’s payroll rank. To measure the division winners, I sorted them by their payroll rank within their division. A division winner with a "1" means it also had the highest team payroll in the division. To further labor the point, a "2" means the second-highest payroll, and a "3" means the third-highest payroll.

NL EAST

Year

Payroll Rank

Team

1999

1

Braves

2000

1

Braves

2001

1

Braves

2002

2

Braves

2003

2

Braves

2004

3

Braves

2005

3

Braves

2006

1

Mets

2007

2

Phillies

2008

2

Phillies

2009

2

Phillies

2010

1

Phillies

2011

1

Phillies

NL CENTRAL

Year

Payroll Rank

Team

1999

1

Astros

2000

1

Cardinals

2001

3

Astros

2002

1

Cardinals

2003

2

Cubs

2004

2

Cardinals

2005

1

Cardinals

2006

3

Cardinals

2007

1

Cubs

2008

1

Cubs

2009

3

Cardinals

2010

5

Reds

2011

3

Brewers

NL WEST

Year

Payroll Rank

Team

1999

2

Diamondbacks

2000

5

Giants

2001

2

Diamondbacks

2002

1

Diamondbacks

2003

2

Giants

2004

1

Dodgers

2005

3

Padres

2006

3

Padres

2007

3

Diamondbacks

2008

1

Dodgers

2009

1

Dodgers

2010

2

Giants

2011

4

Diamondbacks

For this last chart, I list the wild card winners and their rank within all non-division-winners in their league.

NL WILD CARD

Year

Payroll Rank

Team

1999

2

Mets

2000

2

Mets

2001

3

Cardinals

2002

5

Giants

2003

10

Marlins

2004

5

Astros

2005

6

Astros

2006

2

Dodgers

2007

10

Rockies

2008

5

Brewers

2009

6

Rockies

2010

7

Braves

2011

4

Cardinals

By my count, the teams with the highest payroll won their division an impressive 41% of the time. Throw in the second-highest payroll, and the figure climbs to 69%.

Wildcards seem to be the great equalizer, at least in the National League. No top spenders made the cut, and the #2 spender was only successful in 3 tries out of 13. There also appears to be a "lightning in a bottle" effect with the 2003 Marlins and 2007 Rockies.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker