Diamond: The A’s are the most 2018 team in baseball

From Jared Diamond at the Wall Street Journal on August 14, 2018:

The magic happening here this summer, in this dilapidated old stadium nestled in the heart of the East Bay, appears hard to believe. Despite modest spring-training expectations from oddsmakers and analysts, the Oakland Athletics have emerged as baseball’s biggest surprise, surging into an American League wild-card spot with about six weeks remaining in the regular season.

Few predicted this sort of performance from the A’s, especially considering how they started. They woke up on the morning of June 16 with a record under .500 and trailing the Seattle Mariners by 11 games. Statistics websites calculated their chances of reaching the playoffs at around 3%. Then they exploded, finishing the month with a 12-2 stretch, and they haven’t looked back.

Maybe none of this should come as a surprise by now. The A’s have spent nearly two decades under “Moneyball” architect Billy Beane toppling the giants of the sport, even while spending more than $1.5 billion less in payroll than some of their big-market opponents. They have qualified for the postseason eight times since 2000, better than all but five teams over that span, a group including blue bloods like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Read the full article (subscription required): https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-most-2018-team-in-baseball-the-as-1534258241

Originally published: August 14, 2018. Last Updated: August 14, 2018.