At this year's MLB All-Star Game, the A's, who have the sixth lowest payroll, have the most All-Stars of any team in the majors with six. Which led us to wonder, over the past decade, which teams have gotten the most amount of superstars for the least amount of money?
Just taking a team's collective payroll and dividing by their number of All-Stars doesn't quite get at this question, because every MLB team is guaranteed at least one All-Star. With that logic, the front office of the Astros could field of roster of 25 paraplegics, pay them the league minimum ($500,000 in 2014), send their best player to the All-Star game, and claim an All-Star for every $12.5 million ($500,000 per player x 25 man roster) the team spends on players.
To get around this, marginal payrolls and marginal All-Stars were tallied from the collective years of 2005-2014. The marginal payroll is the difference between a team's actual payroll and the bare minimum MLB teams were forced to pay each year. Marginal All-Stars are simply the All-Stars a team had minus the freebies they're given each year.
Measuring in this manner makes it harder for shitty teams to artificially appear to pay a low amount per All-Star by having incredibly low payrolls and banking off the "given" All-Star they get each year. Below is a table that ranks teams by how much they spent per additional All-Star.
Here, the Rangers come out on top, spending just $29.6 million for every All-Star they get. Though they've spent more money on players in the past few years, the Rangers have been around the middle of the road in player spending for much of the past ten years. Yet they accumulated 28 marginal All-Stars and made two World Series appearances.
The team the Rangers lost to in the 2011 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals, come in second on this list. While the Cardinals spent more than the Rangers, they climb the list by having a high amount of All-Stars. Only the Yankees and Red Sox produced more All-Stars since 2005, and both of those teams spent considerably more on players than the Cardinals.
While the Yankees have had the second most All-Stars, their high spending puts them in the middle, 17th, spending $66 million per additional All-Star. Although the Yankees have spent by far the most on players, they've gotten decent bang for their buck and spend less per marginal All-Star than other big market teams like the Angels and Dodgers.
Though the Moneyball approach has brought the low-payroll Athletics wins and playoff appearances, it hasn't brought the team a whole lot of additional All-Stars aside from this season. Which is why the Athletics actually rank two spots below the Yankees on spending per additional All-Star.
At the bottom of this list are teams with low payrolls and an abysmal amount of All-Stars. The Padres, Royals, and Nationals, have the worst dollar per All-Star rankings. They also were the three teams with the lowest amount of marginal All-Stars. A low payroll cannot overcome a team producing a marginal All-Star every other year or less on average.