Major League Baseball's 10 Most Brilliantly Run Franchises

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Major League Baseball's 10 Most Brilliantly Run Franchises
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Brian Cashman's work as the Yankees' GM has been overshadowed by the team's enormous payroll.

The best major league organizations are defined by wins, division titles and championships. But there’s also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that enables a franchise to have the resources to field a competitive baseball team on a year-to-year basis.

Customers are the lifeblood to any business, and baseball is no different. More baseball fans coming through the turnstiles to take in the ballpark experience means more revenue that can be reinvested throughout the organization.

Reinvesting wisely, whether it be in the payroll, the draft, amateur free-agent signings or marketing the product, is the key to sustaining the long-term success that each team strives for.

While winning a World Series is the ultimate goal, only one team ends the season with that honor. Thus, most teams have a more realistic and business-minded goal of putting a competitive team on the field every year that at least has a chance to win it all.

So, despite their World Series championships in 1997 and 2003, the Marlins do not fit that definition. After very likely suffering through another poor season in 2013, 15 of their 19 non-championship seasons during the club’s existence would be losing ones.

On the other hand, the clubs ranked as the top 10 most brilliantly run franchises in baseball are rarely on the list of teams that are ruled out of playoff contention by media and fans before the season even starts.

I’ve assigned points to each of the 30 teams based on seven categories.

  1. Wins per payroll dollars  
  2. Division ranking (extra points assigned for playoff appearances and World Series titles)
  3. Farm system ranking, according to Baseball Prospectus
  4. Number of top 101 prospects, according to Baseball Prospectus (2013 only)
  5. Attendance
  6. Number of homegrown players on each 40-man roster, according to
  7. Player acquisitions (this one is based on my opinion)

The categories are based on information dating back to 2008, although they’re weighted heavier over the last two or three seasons.

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