| As Discussed on Episode 6 of “Touch ‘Em All: A Baseball Analytics Podcast” |
| Written by Caleb Whittemore | Published January 12th, 2019 |
If you have ever read, or seen the movie “Moneyball”, the story of the low budget Oakland Athletics path to success, you understand the importance of teams being smart with the money they have, regardless of how much that is. This is done by understanding what is truly important when signing players: wins. In order to be successful financially, teams must both understand what creates wins in order to not overpay players that don’t affect winning to that level, and also scout and develop young players who will affect winning baseball while under cheap team control.
I set out to determine what teams were best economically. I had this idea when discussing the Red Sox 2018 season. They were undoubtedly successful this season, but if they had an average payroll, they never would have been able to withstand the mistakes in the past and still been able to afford key contributors like J.D. Martinez and Chris Sale. I wanted to find a way to quantify the economic success of each MLB front office and their ability to use the resources given to them. So, I created dollars per win.
In order to generate dollars per win, first both playoff and regular season wins are combined. Then, after discussing this with some colleagues, I decided there needed to be some sort of reward for teams good enough to get into the playoffs and win there and penalties for teams that were not good enough. In order to weigh this correctly, teams have an extra ¼ win added for every game above 90 wins (the playoff threshold), and an extra ¼ win subtracted for every game below 90 wins. So, the Red Sox, who won 119 total games, were given credit for 126.25 wins, and Orioles who only won 47 games, were only given credit for 36.25 wins. I refer to this idea from here on out as “Win Points”. Finally, I divided the team’s total salary by their total win points in order to describe how economically efficient each team is being.