The SBN baseball writers have voted on Manager of the Year for the National and American Leagues. The AL award goes to Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the NL award to Jim Tracy of the Colorado Rockies. Each blog was given two ballots for the awards that correspond with the league of the team it writes for. Votes were placed this year by myself and duck for the AL.
Whenever I'm asked about managers I'm never entirely sure the criteria on which I should judge them. I'm always capable of noticing the things I dislike about managers (especially Orioles managers), but it's harder to detect what makes a good manager, especially when the talent on the teams varies so greatly.
When smart people are asked about good managers, Mike Scioscia is usually near the top of the list. Scioscia, as has been noted by several people here, tends to get the best out of his teams. He effectively uses "small ball" and consistently runs fundamentally sound teams.
I didn't vote for him, though. Well, not for first place. I think that Mike Scioscia is a very good manager, don't get me wrong. But it's hard to determine how much of an affect a manager does or doesn't have on his team. The Angels are a well funded team with talented, high-paid players. I don't hold that against Mike Scioscia, certainly, but it does make his job easier. There's no way to know what he'd do with a different team, which is one of the things that makes choosing a MoY so tricky. My heart and head said to vote for a manager who took a team with less than optimal resources kept his team going strong throughout the year and got them to do things they didn't seem capable of. That's why my first place vote when to Rod Gardenhire.
On August 15th the Minnesota Twins were 56-60, in third place, and 6 games behind the first place Tigers. A good offense couldn't keep up with the ineffectiveness and injuries of the starting rotation, and it looked like 2009 wouldn't be the Twins year. But from August 15th to the end of the season the Twins buckled down and went 31-16, including a tie-breaking game against the Detroit Tigers the day before the Division Series started. What did Ron Gardenhire have to do with this? Who knows for sure. But the Twins didn't fade down the stretch and didn't lose their motivation, despite a rotation being filled with rookies, despite losing Justin Morneau on September 12th, when they were still 5.5 games out of first. Without Morneau, their 2nd best hitter, they'd lose just four more games over the final 21 games of the year.
Picking the best manager is hardly a science. The Twins weren't the most talented and they didn't have much luck, and Ron Gardenhire kept them going over 163 games and got them into the postseason. I think there's something to be said for that.
|1||Mike Scioscia||Los Angeles Angels||9||8||3||72|
|2||Ron Gardenhire||Minnesota Twins||9||5||1||61|
|3||Don Wakamatsu||Seattle Mariners||6||3||8||47|
|4||Joe Girardi||New York Yankees||2||4||2||24|
|5||Ron Washington||Texas Rangers||1||4||4||21|
|6||Terry Francona||Boston Red Sox||1||1||3||11|
|7||Jim Leyland||Detroit Tigers||-||2||4||10|
|8||Joe Maddon||Tampa Bay Rays||-||1||1||4|
|9||Ozzie Guillen||Chicago White Sox||-||-||1||1|
|10||Trey Hillman||Kansas City Royals||-||-||1||1|
My second place vote went to Mike Scioscia and my third place vote went to Jim Leyland (although I don't really know why I voted for Leyland). Strangely enough, duck voted exactly the same way. I didn't vote for the NL Manager of the year, but check out the results below the jump. And keep an eye out over the next few days for the SBN Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Cy Young.
|1||Jim Tracy||Colorado Rockies||24||1||2||125|
|2||Tony LaRussa||St. Louis Cardinals||3||7||10||46|
|3||Fredi Gonzalez||Florida Marlins||2||6||5||33|
|4||Joe Torre||Los Angeles Dodgers||-||9||2||29|
|5||Charlie Manuel||Philadelphia Phillies||-||3||5||14|
|6||Bruce Bochy||San Francisco Giants||1||1||1||9|
|7||Bobby Cox||Atlanta Braves||-||1||4||7|
|8||Bud Black||San Diego Padres||-||1||1||4|
|9||John Russell||Pittsburgh Pirates||-||1||-||3|