Friday, June 26, 2009

MLB Parity and Trades

Recently USA Today published a story on the problem that competitive balance has on the ability for teams to trade players in Major League Baseball. This may be true, but the thing that I am want to look at here is the following question: Is competitive balance in baseball - on June 26th - any different that the level of competitive balance - on June 26th - since 2002?

So, I got the MLB standings as of June 26th from and calculated the Noll-Scully measure of competitive balance in both the American League and the National League. Here is a beautifully insightful piece on the Noll-Scully measure of competitive balance - see pages 3 and 4. Then again, I am somewhat biased here.

Here are the measures of competitive balance in the American League and the National League as of June 26th since 2002.

AL Noll-Scully CB
NL Noll-Scully CB
6/26/2002 1.785
6/26/2002 1.365
6/26/2003 2.151
6/26/2003 1.343
6/26/2004 1.200
6/26/2004 1.382
6/26/2005 1.574
6/26/2005 1.275
6/26/2006 1.574
6/26/2006 1.280
6/26/2007 1.352
6/26/2007 1.170
6/26/2008 1.185
6/26/2008 1.170
6/26/2009 0.998
6/26/2009 1.268

Notice that competitive balance has been declining in the American League over the last seven years, and this year competitive balance - as measured by Noll-Scully - is the lowest in the American League. Also notice that competitive balance is not really that much different from one year to another in the National League. So can trades be affected by the overall level of competitive balance? I think it is possible. Is competitive balance much different this year than in the recent past? Maybe in the American League, but definitely not in the National League. Let's see what happens by the trade deadline.

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