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October 06, 2011 17:34 ET

The Play-Off Pay-Off: BMO's Jack Ablin Plays 'Moneyball' with Major League Baseball

As the Pennant Race Heats Up, Report Shows Big-League Cash Doesn't Mean Success in Modern Era

TORONTO, ONTARIO and CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2011) -

Attention Sports and Business Editors -

With the baseball's post-season in full swing, Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, Harris Private Bank, today released an economic analysis of Major League Baseball's winners and losers.

"While money has historically bought success in baseball, recent trends linking payrolls to winning percentages have weakened," said Ablin. "This reflects varying skill in team management; it's certainly easy to win games with a massive payroll, but it does not guarantee success."

Following the buzz of baseball bestseller and just-released film Moneyball, Ablin's big-league winners and losers are broken down in the context of costs (payroll) and benefits (wins). Ablin's winners and losers of the 2011 season are as follows:

National League Winner

Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks put together 94 wins during the regular season with a scant $53 million (US) payroll. The D-Backs clinched their first NL West title in four years; a remarkable turnaround after losing 97 games in 2010.

National League Loser

Houston Astros – With a .346 winning percentage, or should we say a .654 losing percentage, the Astros dropped 106 games this season. The team finished 40 games behind the division-winner Brewers. To be fair, the team is in the process of being sold, although prospective buyer Jim Crane may want to reconsider his purchase price. The only good news here is that the Astros' poor showing deflects attention away from the lackluster Cubs.

American League Winner

Texas Rangers - The Rangers closed the year with a .593 winning percentage in a highly-competitive league. The team was able to attain the second highest winning percentage and wrap up their division for under $100 million. The team's highly paid players delivered.

American League Loser

Minnesota Twins – The Twins posted the worst record in the league and came within one game of losing 100 games for the season. Remarkably, the Twins posted a $112 million payroll. The team was plagued with health issues and a weak bullpen. Given their recent successes, including six division titles in the last decade, we're willing to cut management a little slack.

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