The Milwaukee Brewers is one of the most cost-efficient teams in the major leagues, according to a Forbes contributor.
Each of the Brew Crew's 96 wins cost $890,597; the team was 22 percent more efficient than the league median, wrote Patrick Rishe. His criteria for a cost-efficient team: lowest payroll costs per win and a winning season (87 wins or more).
Tampa Bay was the most cost-efficient team, spending $451,138 per win. Next came Arizona, at $570,637 per win. The Brewers came third. Rounding out the top five were Texas ($961,451 per win) and Atlanta ($977,558 per win).
Tampa Bay and Arizona were the clear standouts on cost-per-win, Rishe wrote. Tampa Bay's Devil Rays were 60 percent more efficient than the league median, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were 50 percent more efficient. The Brewers' 22 percent was third.
The Brewers' biggest rival, the Chicago Cubs, landed a spot on the other end of the spectrum—highest payroll costs per win and a non-winning season of 81 or fewer wins.
The Cubs paid $1.76 million for each of its 71 wins, making them the second-least-efficient team in the league for cost. The Minnesota Twins were worse, at $1.79 million for each of its 63 wins. The other three teams in the list of the five least cost-efficient teams were the White Sox ($1.62 million per win), the NY Mets ($1.54 million per win) and the Seattle Mariners ($1.29 million per win).
The economy of baseball is getting extra attention right now, with the movie Moneyball doing well in theaters. The movie—about the 2002 Oakland Athletics, and general manager Billy Beane's attempt to build a low-cost winning team on stats rather than scouts—is about the balance of money, success and statistics in baseball.
It will be interesting to see what the Brewers do in the off-season. Prince Fielder's standing ovation during the last regular season game at Miller Park was likely fans' best chance to say farewell to a favorite player whose cost will become too high for the Brew Crew to keep.
Talking with my husband the other night—playing armchair general manager and following Moneyball logic—he said if the Brewers put three average hitters in the lineup, replacing star hitter Prince Fielder and the flagging Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt the team shouldn't see a decline in its ability to compete.
According to ESPN's 2011 regular season statistics, here's how those Brewers stacked up: Fielder's batting average in the regular season was .299. His on base percentage was .415. McGehee's average was .223, with an OBP of .280. Betancourt's average was .252, and his OBP was .271.