Yesterday over at Grantland, my friend Jonah Keri detailed the latter, and essentially attributed the A's success to two things: platooning, and acquiring good (baseball) middle-aged hitters on the cheap. And of course Jonah's right. Platooning at first base and in left field last season helped a lot, and so did picking up Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes; this season, Jed Lowrie's been fantastic (while Chris Young and John Jaso have not).
In a sense, what the A's have pulled off is an updated version of Moneyball, seeking out players with certain skill sets at a certain age who could be had cheap and provide big bang for the buck. Close your eyes and you could see Brad Pitt pointing to Jonah Hill as they snagged the new versions of David Justice, Jeremy Giambi, and Scott Hatteberg, only younger, more talented, without the likes of Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon leaving at the same time, and with Jonah Hill now working for the Mets.
Well, sure. What I would love to know is how the process has changed the since the original Moneyball. Even with the original edition, the strength of the club was its young pitching. In the years since, the A's traded Nelson Cruz, Andre Ethier, and Carlos Gonzalez ... while receiving (as things turned out) very little in return.
Just a run of terrible luck? Maybe. Or are they now somehow smarter about hitters?
Answer that question, throw in some chair-throwing, and you've got a screenplay to start writing.
For more about those powerful A's, please visit SB Nation's Athletics Nation.