Leading Candidates For MLB Manager Of The Year Awards
Paul Molitor Won Manager Of The Year in 2017 And Was Out Of the Dugout One Year Later
Most Candidates Have Led Their Teams To The Postseason
During a recent broadcast of the Colorado Rockies, the announcers expressed high praise for at least one element of the opposition. They declared that Mike Shilt, the manager of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, should be the favorite to win the Manager of the Year Award for the National League.
They are of course right, assuming the Cardinals hold on to the top spot in the Central Division. Actually, even if his team should happen to falter down the stretch, Shilt is still almost a shoe in to get the award.
St. Louis was expected to be in contention, but most pundits had the Chicago Cubs or the Milwaukee Brewers to be the favorites to win the Central. The Cardinals, therefore, could be considered a mild surprise, one of the few in the Senior Circuit standings this year.
A bigger surprise, and one that may earn its skipper the Manager of the Year Award, has been the play of the Washington Nationals. After losing former Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper as a highly-paid free agent,few expected much for the club.
Under the tutelage of second year manager Dave Martinez, the Nats are in line for the first Wild Card spot. To make the success even sweeter for Washington is the fact that they are ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, the team who ultimately signed Harper.
Slated for Manager of the Year Award in the American League are several likely candidates, including a first year skipper. Minnesota has been atop the Central division nearly all year, even though it is the managerial debut of Rocco Baldelli.
His main competitors for the Award would be Aaron Boone, the second year manager of the Yankees. Sure, New York was expected to contend, but most preseason polls listed the rival Boston Red Sox to repeat as World Series Champions or to at least win the Eastern division.
Even more remarkable about Boone's success is the fact that he had to achieve it without his stars. Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have both missed most of the season, as has rotation ace Luis Severino.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin, who earned the Award last year, could very well take it again. It is, however, quite rare to net the honor in successive seasons, even though Melvin has somehow gotten the small budget Athletics into the postseason.
Thousands of miles on the opposite coast is another manager who has overcome a small budget in a tough division, Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays. Like Melvin with Oakland, Cash has Tampa in position to take one of the Wild Card spots.
We will not know of course who ultimately is honored as the Manager of the Year until next month, but both leagues have several qualified candidates. Keep in mind, though, it is not all that unusual for the skipper who gets the Award to get the axe just a year or two later. The most recent case was Paul Molitor who, after earning the distinction in 2017, was out of the dugout the very next season.