Payroll Disparity and the MLB Playoffs: The Wild Card Games

mlb-playoffsOn Tuesday, Everybody Hates Cleveland published an article where I talked about payrolls in Major League Baseball and how it translates into wins and playoff appearances.

I pointed out how seven of the 10 teams in this year’s playoffs were in the Top 15 in MLB payrolls, and how the three teams in the bottom half were all Wild Card teams.

Now that the WC playoff games are finished (I hate referring to them as playoffs.) I want to go back and take a look at the information from that article and how it looks now that the real playoffs are about to start.

In the American League game, it was the Oakland A’s (25th highest payroll overall) versus the Kansas City Royals (19th). Relatively even.

In the National League game there was a greater disparity. The San Francisco Giants (7th overall) took on the Pittsburgh Pirates (27th, lowest of all playoff teams).

How did those games turn out?

Well, the two teams with similar payrolls played a tight, extra-inning affair, not decided until the 14th inning. The team with the lower payroll – Oakland – lost.

The two teams with the great payroll disparity played, and the result was ugly. The Giants beat the Pirates 8-0. The team with the lower payroll lost.

Close in payroll, close game. Opposite in payroll, huge blowout.

So the two lowest payrolls lost and now nobody left is out of the Top 20, with the Royals at 19.

So here are our match-ups:

American League

Detroit Tigers (5th) v Baltimore Orioles (15th)

Los Angeles Angels (6th) v Kansas City Royals (19th)

National League

St. Louis Cardinals (13th) v Los Angeles Dodgers (1st)

Washington Nationals (9th) v San Francisco Giants (7th)

imagesLet’s see how this plays out. Will the bigger payrolls win their series? In the American League, there’s a payroll gap in either series, but in the National League, the Nationals – Giants series is very close.

Let me also say that while, in the original article, I did point out the payroll advantage, I also said that games had to be played. It’s no guarantee that spending equals success. As you can see, four of the Top 10 teams in payroll didn’t even make the playoffs.

The same is true of these series. No way do I think that everything will be decided based on spending. Spending doesn’t account for injuries and down seasons. No matter what a team spends, they still must then execute. As your mother probably told you, money isn’t everything.

But I do think this is an interesting thing to watch. Okay, interesting for me, but I love numbers. I’ll check back in after every round with a short little summary like this one.

Also, if you read that article, you will understand when I say, “Go Dodgers, Giants, Angels, and….” Well, by the theory of that article, I should be pulling for the Tigers, but it’s not going to happen. Go Orioles!

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One thought on “Payroll Disparity and the MLB Playoffs: The Wild Card Games

  1. Pingback: Payroll Disparity and the MLB Playoffs: The Division Series | Everybody Hates Cleveland

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