3 Biggest Surprises from MLB Payroll vs Wins Comparison

Comparing MLB team payrolls versus wins includes some surprising results.
Comparing MLB team payrolls versus wins includes some surprising results. / Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's no secret that there's a huge discrepancy in payroll between the high-spending and low-spending teams in the MLB. Money can't buy wins, however, and there are plenty of teams that greatly over- or under-perform their payroll.

This graph, from Reddit user /u/fortune_auto compares teams' wins with their payroll from the 2020 MLB season.

u/fortune_auto, Reddit

Here are the three most shocking results on this graph.

3. New York Yankees

It's no surprise that the New York Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball, but it is surprising just how much of an island they're on. The only team that comes within even $25 million of the Yankees is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who also led the MLB in wins by a big margin. The Yanks, on the other hand, rank just 10th in wins, leaving them as clearly the most over-paid team in baseball.

2. Tampa Bay Rays

Again, it's not a surprise that the Tampa Bay Rays' payroll is tiny. But like the Yankees, they find themselves on an island on this graph. Sitting as close as the first-placed Dodgers as they are to anyone else in wins, they're clearly ahead of the pack on that front. Doing so while ranking in the bottom four in payroll, however, really leaves them separated by the pack in two dimensions.

1. Houston Astros

The 2020 season was not a good look for the Houston Astros while they played in the fallout of their cheating scandal. Finishing with a below-average win total after leading the MLB in wins in 2019 is not great. And falling so far while being one of just three teams with at payroll over $200 million is especially bad. There were 16 teams that won at least as many games as Houston in 2019, and 14 of them have smaller payrolls. In fact, two of the four teams with the lowest payrolls in the MLB finished with more wins than Houston.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.