Moneyball takes a large chunk out of the formula, deletes some and rearranges other parts of it. It follows the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, Billy Beane, and takes a look at the sport of baseball rather than the season-winning game.
Beane (Brad Pitt) is still grieving from a close loss in the previous season. To add insult to injury, he has to play against teams who have several times his budget and strip him of three pivotal players. He knows his little coin can't buy big talent, and understands the difference needs to be found off the field.
Unfortunately his present management team uses dinosaur-recruiting philosophies, judging players by their idiosyncrasies and if their girlfriends are ugly.
During a meeting with a rival club he comes across Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Brand is a pudgy Yale graduate who uses his degree in economics to reduce a player's on-field performance to a single number, and his modern perspective appeals to Beane's yearning for a fresh approach to the changing game.
The two use maths and science to create a team of misfits who have been labelled too old, injured or funny looking. The media, the public and even their colleagues swiftly claim the team is dead; heightening the very real risk that Beane could not only lose his job, but his career in the industry.