Brian Snitker wins National League Manager of the Year
We know that Alex Cora fell just short in the American League Manager of the Year voting, finishing second to the now three-time winner of the award Bob Melvin. Before that was announced, the BBWAA announced the winner of their National League Manager of the Year award, and it was a bit of a surprise. That one went to the Braves’ Brian Snitker. Now, Snitker is not wholly undeserving of this honor. Atlanta had a fantastic season that led them to a division title. Snitker had to lean heavily on a whole lot of young players, somehow got a huge year out of Nick Markakis and got wins from a bullpen that lacked true top-flight talent. Many thought the Braves still had at least one more year left for their rebuild, and as we know a large part of this award comes down to surpassing expectations.
All of that being said, it seemed like a shoe-in to me that Craig Counsell would win for what he did with that Brewers roster this year. Now, he had a lot more perceived talent than the Braves, and Milwaukee was expected to contend this year. That certainly hurt, fair or not. Still for as much talent as he had on the offense, he got incredible production from a total lack of talent in the rotation — Wade Miley was basically an ace at times! — and he managed the hell out of the bullpen. With all of that, he led the Brewers to the National League’s best record, and that seemed like an easy call to make him the Manager of the Year. I also think Mike Shildt of the Cardinals had an interesting case after taking over midseason and turning things around.
Ultimately, though, I think the biggest takeaway is that we have no idea how to evaluate managers. This isn’t like the other awards where you can look at numbers and formulate a strong argument for whoever you want to win. There’s win totals, preseason predictions and...not much else for Manager of the Year. And, of course, preseason predictions are incredibly flawed. There’s no doubt managers are important and they certainly deserve this kind of recognition, but I’m not sure the current voting pool is qualified to make the decision.
You can see the full NL Manager of the Year voting here, including a first-place vote for Joe Maddon!