MLB Team Payroll Efficiency

Congratulations to the Cubs for winning in all!

As the 2016 MLB season wraps, I have updated my visualization on team payrolls as related to wins and post season success (or lack thereof).  This analysis and viz specifically looks at how well teams manage total payroll spend.  In other words, how much bang (wins) does payroll yield for each team by year going back to 1990.  The key metric here is team payroll per win.  A fixed LoD expression is used to calculate an average team payroll by season.

The viz also facilitates views by team across seasons as well as by General Manager.

Although I really like viewing the data at the GM level, there are a couple caveats in the approach for newer executives in particular.  First, a new GM may have inherited one or more burdensome contracts that restrict his actions in the short term.  Second, a newer GM may have inherited a poor farm system and will require more time for the major league club to achieve success through the draft and player development.  Finally, the GM role has traditionally been closest to accountability for investing payroll.  The GM role, however, seems to have evolved in recent years with accomplished executives such as Billy Beane and Theo Epstein no longer in the GM role but clearly maintain oversight in team payroll decisions.

Team payroll in the viz is based on the opening day roster.  Admittedly, this does oversimplify things as payrolls change during the course of the season.  In particular, teams that are competitive tend to add payroll near the trade deadline.  Conversely, non-competitive teams tend to dump payroll up to to the trade deadline.  I’d love to come up with a better payroll number that takes mid-season moves into account for a more comprehensive view.

 Link to viz on Tableau Public:


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