Oakland A's clinch playoffs despite MLB's lowest opening day payroll

The Oakland Athletics, baseball’s “Moneyball” pioneers, on Monday became the first MLB team on record to clinch a playoff berth despite having the lowest payroll in the league on opening day.

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The A’s opened the 2018 season with a total payroll of just $66 million, according to Baseball Prospectus. By comparison, the Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants, the teams with the sport’s highest payrolls, each exceeded $200 million on the balance sheet. The majority of baseball’s 30 teams had a payroll of $100 million or more.

"We've had some younger players mature and become, for me, stars," A’s manager Bob Melvin said Monday.

The A’s are guaranteed at least an appearance in the American League wild card round after the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the New York Yankees on Monday night. Oakland currently sits in second place in the AL West with a 95-62 record.

Oakland has won more games this season than any team with the lowest opening day payroll in MLB in the last 30 years, surpassing the 1990 Chicago White Sox, ESPN reported.

A’s General Manager Billy Beane was an early adopter of the use of analytics to aid in roster construction. Beane’s tactics, dubbed “Moneyball,” later became a feature film starring Brad Pitt.