The A's have gamed the system again, or taken another multidimensional leap ahead, or just figured out some subtle things before everybody else.

Once again.

This time, it's easy to miss except when you examine the A's roster in totality:

Of their current 25-man roster, only ace Sonny Gray and closer Sean Doolittle were drafted and developed by this supposed draft-and-develop franchise.

Everybody else was acquired as a discounted asset via trade, the waiver wire or another subtle transaction.

"Oh, you noticed?" general manager Billy Beane said with a chuckle when we spoke Wednesday evening. "What I can say is that we have a very disciplined approach to things. We have to be disciplined because of who we are ...

"I don't think there's any secret about how we approach it. If I put on my G.M. hat, I can say I'm definitely not clairvoyant on this stuff. This isn't some special magical power."

Not magic, that's understood.

But somehow, the A's acquired Josh Donaldson in the 2008 Rich Harden deal and picked up Brandon Moss and Jesse Chavez after they had washed through several organizations.

They also traded for Derek Norris (in the 2011 Gio Gonzalez deal), Jed Lowrie (in the 2013 Chris Carter swap) and Drew Pomeranz (in the 2013 Brett Anderson deal).

There's more, but I think you get the point.

That's how the A's built this deep and flexible team that has the best record in baseball and a bonanza run differential that laps the field.

With the fourth-lowest payroll, by the way.

We'll see if the A's can break through and finally win a World Series in the Beane era, but for now, this is the most well-rounded team they have had in a long time.

Beane obviously won't get into the specifics of how the A's identify intriguing players in other organizations, but he says they monitor every professional league and they know what they're looking for.

"We're just a jigsaw puzzle of strengths," Beane said. "We have a bunch of guys who have been in other organizations -- a guy like Brandon Moss who bounced around before we got him but who has a clear strength; he can really hit right-handed pitching.

"Or a guy like Norris, who can really hit left-handed pitching. Or (John) Jaso, who can really hit right-handed pitching.

"They're imperfect players, but they have specific tools we can identify and by using them creatively ... they really can be effective players."

There probably are only about 15 to 20 near-perfect players in baseball and to get them, you must either do it via the draft (Gray might qualify soon) or give up more talent and salary than the A's have to spend.

But if you can get a bunch of players in the nebulous next category (say, from 25 to 100) at low prices while other teams are paying their peers star prices or not acquiring them at all, you're way ahead of the game.

So far, with that massive run differential, the A's are way, way ahead through 47 games.

"If I speak as a G.M., I can say it's still a small sample size, right?" Beane joked.

"But (run differential is) a concrete metric to describe where you are as a club ...

"Certainly we're pleased with the performance so far. And it's indicative of the understanding that this is a very good club."

Beane and his lieutenants have flipped the dynamic: They have turned their budgetary limits into an advantage because there's no angle for them to hold onto established players.

They won't sit still because they can't sit still, and that makes them experts about not sitting still. Even now.

"We make no apologies for who we are and for the situation we have in terms of revenue and what we have to work with," Beane said.

"We have to take advantage of who we are, which means we have to take chances and do things that maybe don't fit the orthodoxy."

Of course, a new stadium -- in San Jose, Oakland or wherever -- would change some of that. But there is no sign that anything is imminent or five years from imminent.

"At some point, it will come," Beane said of a new ballpark and larger revenue streams. "I'm just not operating as if we know when it will be.

"The best part of baseball is when you deal with the present. I think there is something to be said about the present in sports -- there is an intrinsic value to a win on this day, and you lose something if you overlook that ...

"If we can get a new venue and we have a larger revenue stream, that'd be terrific. But I'm not going to bed every night thinking about it."

A few years ago, Beane seemed frustrated by the A's financial purgatory and joked that the next time they're pushed into a reset, somebody else could do it.

But with this team and these players -- and the conviction that the A's can keep targeting and acquiring new players at discount prices -- Beane seems enlivened by the whole process.

Which makes sense, since he and his lieutenants are the ones who moved it to the next level, again.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

BLOWING THEM AWAY
MLB leaders in run differential (runs scored vs. runs against):
Team RS RA DIFF.
A's 243 147 +96
Rockies 257 209 +48
Angels 227 183 +44
Tigers 207 165 +42
Giants 199 169 +30