Shildt is NL Manager of the Year finalist

Cards skipper led club to first NL Central title since 2015

November 5th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- The job Mike Shildt did in guiding St. Louis to its first division title since 2015 has earned the Cardinals’ manager a top-three finish in the National League Manager of the Year Award race.

Shildt will learn exactly how high he’ll finish on Nov. 12, when the winners from both leagues will be unveiled during a 5 p.m. CT special on MLB Network. On Monday, he was named one of three finalists, along with Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell and Atlanta’s Brian Snitker.

Ballots from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America were due prior to the start of the postseason, which means the Cardinals’ run to the National League Championship Series did not factor into voters’ decisions.

But the team’s ascension back to the top of the NL Central likely did, as well as how well the Cardinals cleaned up loose fundamentals in Shildt’s first full season as manager. His club was the first in Major League history to go from worst (133) to first (66) in errors from one season to the next, and the Cardinals finished fifth in MLB with a defensive efficiency of .717.

The club also corrected its baserunning deficiencies and registered its best stolen base percentage (80) in franchise history.

But numbers, including the club’s 91-71 season record, don’t fully encapsulate the impact Shildt had after taking over for Mike Matheny last season. Players have praised his communication skills, and the Cardinals have been pleased with his willingness to evolve as the game does. He deftly managed the team through a season in which injuries and ineffectiveness by several expected contributors forced the club to fill unexpected holes. 

After arriving at the All-Star break as a third-place team with a .500 record, the Cardinals finished 20 games over .500 in the second half and never fell out of the division’s top spot once they claimed it on Aug. 23.

Shildt is vying to join Whitey Herzog (1985) and Tony La Russa (2002) as the only skippers in club history to win the NL Manager of the Year Award, which has been given out annually since 1983.

Finalists for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP Awards were also revealed on Monday. The Cardinals did not place a top-three finisher for any of those awards.