See: S_ATTws : Phase 1
Here is Phase 2 of my statistic comparing a team’s payroll to their attendance, and adjusted by winning percentage. New for this version is the method in which teams from different eras are set to an equal standard. For Phase 1, the salary and attendance numbers were taken as a fraction of the league total, which led to skewed results. In this version, the ratios are determined by standard deviations away from the mean. Also a set starting value of 10 was used to adjust for the additions and subtractions caused by the formula. Without further ado, I present to you Phase 2.
Above are the top 25 teams ranked by S_ATTsd from 1990 to 2010. The 1994 strike-shortened Montreal Expos top the list. This is an extremely interesting team to look at. The early 90’s were one of the most dominant periods in baseball history for the Expos. Fan interest was high, and the team was on the verge of emerging as one of baseball’s best. However, no team was hurt worse by the strike than the Expos. The loss in revenue from ticket sales, TV and radio contracts, as well as the almost certain playoff games left the Expos franchise with little financial freedom. The team was forced to send away centerpieces Larry Walker, John Wetteland, Ken Hill, and Marquis Grissom due to the potential revenue lost by the strike. A decade later, the team relocated to Washington D.C.
Also at the top of the list are Billy Beane’s famous Moneyball Oakland Athletics, the record setting 2001 Seattle Mariners, and the 2008 “new look” Tampa Bay Rays. With the exception of the Mariners, these teams were able to win a ton of games with a limited payroll, and bringing out a good amount of fans. The Mariners are an example of the ideal goal of my statistic. This isn’t just a list of teams who win while not spending, it shows teams who spend well. The 2001 Seattle Mariners team spent a ton; They had the league’s 11th highest payroll, which made up 3.81% of the league total. However, the Mariners set the Major League record for wins that year, finishing at 116-46. This legendary Mariners squad, as well as the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals are examples of teams who spent a lot, but did so wisely.
The bottom 25 is about what you would expect. Here, teams are listed who lost a lot of games and spend a fortune in order to do so. Some of these teams spent over $100 mil in payroll, just to finish the season nowhere close to the playoff hunt. The 2003 Tigers have a Z-Score of 4.238. To put that in perspective, CERN needed 5-sigma level confidence to confirm the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. The 2003 Tigers vary from the mean by 4.238 sigma. That team was almost confirmed to be awful on a high-speed particle physics level. That’s not good.
The above plot shows the distribution of S_ATTsd values. They appear to be normally distributed with a slight skew to the right. This skew means that it is more common for teams to spend efficiently than inefficiently. However, the long right tail shows that there have been cases of teams with unnaturally high S_ATTsd values.
I’ve uploaded my spreadsheet in the downloads section.