Skip to content

How to win the Manager of the Year Award: prove the pundits wrong

Nov 13, 2012, 4:02 PM EDT

Buck Showalter Getty Getty Images

I wrote this when Bud Black won the Manager of the Year Award in 2010, and Aaron touched on some of the same themes earlier today. I think it remains the most that can be said about the Manager of the Year Award:

As I’ve said in the past, no one has ever set forth a good measurement for what makes a Manager of the Year, so it usually ends up with a “who did the most with the least” analysis.  Bud Black likely won on that basis.  But really, it was probably more of a perceived least — perceived by the voters — than an actual least. Everyone picked the Padres to finish in last place this year.  They didn’t, and a lot of it had to do with a roster that turned out to be better than a lot of people expected.  Should Black be rewarded because of the so-called experts’ low expectations? In practice he was, but I’m not sure it should always work that way. If the expectations were a bit different, we could easily portray the Padres’ season as one that was great but got derailed by an ugly ten-game losing streak late in the year which ended up costing them the division.  Has a manager whose team fit that description ever won Manager of the Year before?

None of which is to slight Black.  He did do a fine job, and is by all accounts a fine manager.  But I can’t help but think that the Manager of the Year Award, generically speaking, tells us a lot more about the writers who vote on it than the managers themselves.

Still feels that way.  I’ll give a little more credit to Buck Showalter’s case because I tend to think that managers have more control over bullpen management than anything else and the clear strength of the Orioles throughout the year was both the deployment of and the performance by their bullpen. But really, Showalter could have managed the hell out of that pen just like he did and the O’s could have missed the playoffs or even not contended after July if there were a couple of key injuries and bad bounces and we’d probably not be talking about him as a favorite.

All of the guys who are finalists for Manager of the Year had fine years and did little if anything to hurt their team. Which, one only need look around a bit to see, may be just as important as bullpen management. But there’s no escaping the fact that several of the candidates for Manager of the Year — Showalter, Davey Johnson and Bob Melvin most notably — have to thank low pre-season expectations for their candidacy just as much as anything measurable — and that’s the key point I’m trying to make here, the dearth of measurable things — we can point to for their status as finalists.

Most us didn’t think the O’s or A’s would escape the cellar.  Most of us expected the Nats to be plucky, but thought of them as a 2013 or 2014 contender, not the choice to have baseball’s best record in 2012.  That, more than anything else, is why those guys are really in the conversation and, I believe anyway, two of those three guys will win the Manager of the Year Award tonight.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Young will not be the Rangers’ next manager

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT

    michael young getty Getty Images

    Michael Young spoke with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels about replacing Ron Washington, but the recently-retired 37-year-old has decided against pursuing the position so that he can focus on his family.

  2. Video: Andrelton Simmons makes stellar diving catch

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:49 PM EDT

    andrelton simmons getty Getty Images

    heck out Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons pull off this stellar diving grab Tuesday night against the Pirates …

  3. Angel Pagan to undergo back surgery, out three months

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    angel pagan getty Getty Images

    Whatever playoff run the Giants have in them this season will have to be without center fielder Angel Pagan.

  4. Denard Span makes diving catch, leaves game with injury

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    denard span getty Getty Images

    Nationals center fielder Denard Span made a nice diving catch to rob Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker of a hit, but it may prove costly because he exited the game with an injury in the next half-inning.

  5. Bud Selig presents Derek Jeter with the 15th Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    derek jeter trophy getty Getty Images

    You can watch here as Bud Selig presents the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award to retiring shortstop Derek Jeter on Tuesday evening in the Yankee Stadium press room …

  6. Jurickson Profar shut down for 2-3 months with renewed discomfort in his right shoulder

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    jurickson profar getty Getty Images

    Jurickson Profar’s nightmarish 2014 continues, as Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports that he will be shut down for the next 2-3 months due to renewed discomfort in his right shoulder.

  7. Cubs demote Edwin Jackson to the bullpen

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT

    Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

    Chicago owes him $11 million in 2015 and $11 million in 2016.

  8. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will return in 2015

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    john gibbons getty Getty Images

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays will bring back manager John Gibbons for the 2015 season.

  9. Chris Tillman will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Orioles

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT

    Chris Tillman AP AP

    Tillman has topped 200 innings for the second straight season, posting a 3.26 ERA that bests last year’s 3.71 mark despite a sizable drop in strikeouts.

  10. Mike Minor diagnosed with shoulder inflammation

    Sep 23, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Mike Minor Mike Minor

    David Hale will start in Minor’s place Thursday against the Pirates.

  11. Juan Lagares won’t return to play again this season

    Sep 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    Lagares finishes his sophomore season hitting .283 with four homers and a .706 OPS in 115 games, which along with spectacular defense makes him one of the 10 most valuable all-around center fielders in baseball according to Wins Above Replacement.

  12. Jonathan Papelbon’s suspension is over

    Sep 23, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Papelbon Crotch AP

    And he’s the Phillies’ closer again

  13. Do you want to see Derek Jeter’s highlights done with minifigures? Tough, you’re gonna.

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 4.05.22 PM

    Every day brings us another bit of weird Derek Jeter weirdness and excess. Why should today be any different?

  14. Jason Heyward rejoins the Braves’ lineup after thumb injury

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

    Jason Heyward AP

    Out since last Wednesday when he was hit on the left thumb by a pitch, Jason Heyward is back in the Braves’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Pirates.

  15. Carlos Carrasco criticized the Indians defense last night. Then he apologized.

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.11.41 PM AP

    Not that he didn’t have a point in the criticisms to begin with.

  16. Mets will skip Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom’s final turn in the rotation

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    jacob degrom getty Getty Images

    Last week deGrom tied the MLB record by striking out the first eight batters he faced against the Marlins and overall since mid-June he has a 1.90 ERA in 15 starts.

  17. The Mets are holding a conference call this afternoon

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT

    mets logo

    Probably to announce Sandy Alderson’s contract extension.

  18. J.J. Hardy likes playing for the Orioles, but “whatever happens, happens” in free agency

    Sep 23, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    JJ Hardy Getty Getty Images

    J.J. Hardy is on the verge of a big payday, but will it be from the Orioles?

Featured video

Why is Wren out and Gonzalez is not?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2679)
  2. J. Heyward (2129)
  3. J. Hamilton (2091)
  4. M. Trout (1990)
  5. S. Pearce (1973)
  1. J. Ellsbury (1923)
  2. D. Ortiz (1919)
  3. D. Jeter (1912)
  4. A. Pagan (1875)
  5. C. Kershaw (1868)