2012 American League and National League Manager of the Year Predictions

Tuesday November 13th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: While the baseball world has shifted the focus to the hot stove rumors, the main yearly awards are starting to be announced. This year, the manager of the year is very intriguing with several surprise teams making their mark on a memorable MLB season.
Here’s who should win and who will win in both leagues:

National League Manager of the Year Finalists: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Davey Johnson

Who Should Win: Davey Johnson

Johnson transformed the Nationals into a middle of the pack team to baseball’s best team record wise in the span of a year. That alone, is an impressive feat, but his case goes on.

In terms sticking to a game plan, you would be hard pressed to find a manager that’s better than Johnson in that regard. He and his general manager Mike Rizzo, created a plan to shut budding ace Stephen Strasburg down after roughly 180 innings, and they didn’t ditch their plan. Instead, they followed the strict guidelines in place and shut him down with no regrets, trusting the rest of the arms in their rotation to secure a playoff spot. Sure, Johnson dealt with the media asking about Strasburg every time he took the mound, but never did the manager hint anything else except for the fact that Strasburg’s season would end early.

A lot of managers wouldn’t have the guts to stick to such a risky plan. Think about it, the Nationals were in the midst of a tight playoff race and Strasburg’s expiration date loomed large. Seeing that winning large isn’t a guarantee, most managers would’ve thrown any plans in the trash to win at the moment. The Nationals still finished the season with the best record in baseball even with their ace on the shelf. That is a testament to Johnson’s ability to pull the right strings, and his precise decision-making.

While there were several bold stories around the baseball world in 2012, such as the A’s magical season or the Orioles’ turnaround, neither can match the Nationals turnaround from mediocre to the best. And Johnson is the main person to thank.

Who Will Win: Davey Johnson

Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker both boast more than worthy cases, but the Giants and Reds were both expected to compete before the season commenced. The Nationals, on the other hand, were projected to be in the development stage with a young starting rotation and a surplus of question marks regarding their lineup. Yet, neither of those two questions proved to be a concern throughout the season.

Barring a miracle, Johnson should take home the honor. If the playoffs were included in the vote, the strategic Bochy probably would have edged out Johnson. He managed his bullpen flawlessly, and pulled all the right strings in crucial moments. However, the playoffs are not a part of the vote, as all votes are due before the playoffs start.

As for Baker, he ultimately ended his chances of winning the award when he missed the final few weeks of the season due to a severe heart condition. Although, his work with a dominating Reds bullpen cannot be overlooked, but it still isn’t enough.

American League Manager of the Year Finalists: Bob Melvin, Buck Showalter, Robin Ventura

Who Should Win: Bob Melvin

Melvin’s job was much tougher than any of the other finalists. The A’s were stacked with rookies, specifically the rotation, yet Melvin veered his troops to a shocking AL West title. Realistically, simply making the playoffs through the wild card would’ve deemed Melvin king, but he pushed his team harder.

Melvin didn’t have much to work with from a pitching standpoint, and his job didn’t become any easier when injuries started to become a theme. Brandon McCarthy bounced on and off of the disabled list, while Brett Anderson didn’t return until the final few weeks of the season. This left Melvin with nothing but rookies, and it’s safe to say that he got the best out of them.

Melvin will most likely fall short to Showalter, but it’s pretty darn close.

Who Will Win: Buck Showalter

Showalter, like Melvin was a part of a dramatic turnaround. The Orioles hung around all season, putting the big bad Yankees on the brink in the AL East division a couple of times. Their stinginess earned them a spot in the AL Wild Card game which they won against the Rangers.

Showalter’s trademark in 2012 was his decisive approach to handling his bullpen. He seemed to bring in the right guys at the right times, and rarely did his decisions fail. He didn’t have too many weapons at his disposal, as his starting rotation was average, at best. But career years from Chris Davis and Adam Jones helped the manager thrive in 2012.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Jake Dal Porto is a Baseball Writer with MLB reports and a student from the Bay Area. Jake’s favorite sports moment was when the Giants won the World Series back in 2010. He loves to use sabermetrics in his work. He thinks they are the best way to show a player’s real success compared to the basic stats such as ERA, RBIs, and Wins. Jake also enjoys interacting and debating with his readers. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @TheJakeMan24

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About Jake Dal Porto

Jake Dal Porto is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score

Posted on November 13, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Jake, are you as time-challenged as this article would seem to indicate? On one hand, the headline suggests a prediction for 2013 Manager of the Year, which would be NEXT SEASON, not the one just passed, but, on the other hand, you wrote about the previous season in the future tense (“Showalter’s trademark in 2012 will be his canny approach to handling his bullpen.”). Precisely what year do you live in?

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