AL Manager of the Year: Maddon, Melvin, or Showalter?
When most people think about MLB awards, they gravitate to the MVP or the Cy Young. However, as great as individual players are, managers have a big impact on the game overall as well.
This year in the American League, there are three managers in particular that have made tremendous impacts on their teams and the entire league: Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics and Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles. I think that they are the top three candidates for manager of the year in the AL, but which one will win?
The Arguments for Maddon:
1. No Longoria: He is Tampa Bay’s biggest offensive threat, and he has only played in 44 of the Rays’ 131 games this season. Managing without your superstar is never easy.
2. One step ahead: In watching every Rays game this season, I have noticed Maddon’s touch in a lot of areas. Specifically, his defensive alignment, especially against divisional foes, has saved a number of runs in very tight games.
3. Keeps it loose: Maddon is renowned for being a “player’s manager,” and his loose style has definitely helped the team’s mindset.
The Arguments for Melvin:
1. Top-heavy Division: Let’s all be honest; no one gave the A’s a chance in a division with the Rangers and Angels. However, coming into Friday, they are only four games back of Texas and four and a half games ahead of LA in the division.
2. Lack of Roster Flexibility: The A’s do not have the makeup of many other high payroll teams in the AL. They are 29th in MLB in payroll, and Melvin has had to do a lot with a little.
3. Early Hole: On June 1, Oakland was eight games under .500 and was riding a nine-game losing streak. Melvin has led a charge that has them 16 games over .500 and tied for the Wild Card lead.
The Arguments for Showalter:
1. Divisional Competition: Showalter has instilled an attitude of respecting all opponents but fearing none of them. It is this foundational attitude that has kept them in a playoff hunt that no one saw coming.
2. Fundamentalist: His fundamentalist nature has helped build three franchises to greatness (Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers), and he is well on his way to doing it for a fourth time. Hopefully, the O’s give him a long enough lease to where he can stick around to reap the fruits of his labor.
3. Knack for the Clutch: The O’s are 24-6 in one-run games this season, and they have had a myriad of walk-off highlights. Showalter’s calmness and decision making has allowed them to stay in many of these tight games.
My Pick: Bob Melvin
I think that the A’s and the Rays are the frontrunners to take the two Wild Card spots. Yet, if the Orioles make it, Showalter will surely deserve the honor of Manager of the Year. However, if my Wild Card predictions are on point, I think Melvin will and should get the nod over Maddon because of the A’s inferior roster.
Tweet to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC with your pick for the American League Manager of the Year Award.