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July 16, 2015 13:18 ET

BMO Private Bank Issues Annual Moneyball All-Star Break Report

Report examines relationship between payroll and performance in Major League Baseball

TORONTO, ONTARIO and CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwired - July 16, 2015) - Having reached the unofficial half-way mark of the 2015 season, BMO Private Bank today released its annual financial analysis of which Major League Baseball teams are hitting it out of the park, and which are striking out.

"In a sport without salary caps or league parity, unlike football, baseball is sports' closest thing to a free market," said Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Private Bank. "It stands to reason that 'large market' teams, which can afford the most talented players, should win the most games. The results are always surprising and that's why we study it."

Mr. Ablin's Moneyball All-Star Break report examines whether money can buy a winning team. Here are his top and bottom performers of the 2015 season so far, based on payroll and performance:

American League:

The Top:

  • Kansas City Royals - Last year's AL champs are at it again. The team is delivering a winning percentage over .600 even though, based on our model, they were expected to win roughly half their games given their $133 million payroll.
  • Minnesota Twins - The front office ponied up $23 million in additional salaries this year; given their $108 million payroll, our model predicted the Twins would be a 45-44 at this point of the year. After limping out of the starting gate with a 1-6 record, the Twins bounced back, arriving at midseason 49-40. Minnesota paid up for talent and it appears to be working.
  • Houston Astros - Houston are the best team in the American League, and they don't have a single "superstar." In fact, the Astros have the second-lowest payroll in all of baseball at just over $69 million. Bravo.

The Bottom:

  • Oakland Athletics - The Athletics, a perennial Moneyball darling, is on the losing end this year. At 41-50, the As are four wins behind what our model predicted and 15 wins below where they were last year - despite increasing their coffers by $2 million this year.
  • Seattle Mariners - For a great football town, Seattle plays host to a continually disappointing baseball team. The Mariners are 39-46 and they're falling about four games below what our payroll model predicted.
  • Boston Red Sox - Boston's 42-47 belies their $187 million payroll; our model predicted 45 wins. The team is on pace to score fewer runs than they did last year. Clearly the team is leaking oil, and money.

To view the chart, please visit the following link:

National League:

The Top:

  • St. Louis Cardinals - At 51-27, the Cardinals own the best record in baseball and are sitting high atop the NL Central division. The keys to the Redbird's success are their pitching and their ability to harvest their farm system.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates are delivering another strong showing this year. This time around their payroll is more than $10 million higher. At 53-35, the Pirates are standouts even though they trail the Cardinals by 2.5 games. Our model predicted Pittsburgh to be at 42-46, given their $88 million payroll. This low budget team is forced to compete with St. Louis ($120mm), Chicago ($119mm) and Milwaukee ($105mm).
  • Chicago Cubs - The Cubs are spending money this year and General Manager Theo Epstein is getting results. The Northsiders upped their payroll by a whopping $30 million and they've acquired some talent. At 47-40, the Cubs hold their best all-star break record since 2008, representing only the second year the team has been over .500 since 2009.

The Bottom:

  • Philadelphia Phillies - At 29-62, the club is the only team in MLB not to have 30 wins under their belt. Our model predicted Philadelphia would have had 45 wins at this point; ouch. Even though they cut their payroll by more than $40 million, the Phillies still spend $135 million on talent.
  • Milwaukee Brewers - Going into the midseason break, the Brewers stood at 38-51, a record worthy of last place in the NL Central division. While Milwaukee has played better baseball recently, the season is shaping up to be a washout.
  • Colorado Rockies - Sitting with a record of 39-49, the Rockies are in last place in the NL West and hold one of the worst winning percentages in all of baseball. At $102 million, the Rockies are spending $6 million more than last year's disappointing season.

To view the chart, please visit the following link:

About BMO Private Bank, a Part of BMO Financial Group

BMO Private Bank offers a comprehensive range of wealth management services that include investment advisory, trust, banking and financial planning to meet the financial needs of high net worth clients. Through integrated teams of experienced financial professionals, BMO Private Bank helps its clients realize their financial and lifestyle goals with solutions that are custom tailored and delivered with the highest level of personalized service.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

Contact Information

  • For any media inquiries and/or
    for a full copy of the report, please contact:
    Tracy Truong
    (416) 867-3996