Tag Archives: Bob Melvin

The two Phillies skippers to win Manager of the Year may surprise you

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Ozark was the first, and is one of just two Phillies managers to ever take home Manager of the Year honors

 

On Tuesday evening the 2019 Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Awards for the National and American Leagues will be announced.

As with Monday’s announcement of the Rookies of the Year, honorees were first named on social media by the IBWAA for their organization. That will be followed by a televised announcement on MLB Network at 6:00 pm EST for the Manager of the Year as chosen by the BBWAA.

The voters from the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America handed their honors out to Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves in the National League and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins for the American League.

Finalists for this year’s BBWAA award in the National League are Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Shildt of the Saint Louis Cardinals, and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves.

My choice among these candidates would be Shildt. Prior to the season, most prognosticators had his Cardinals finishing behind the Brewers and Chicago Cubs. But the Cards won their first NL Central Division crown since 2015, turning last year’s worst defense in the NL into the league’s best.

While Shildt would be my pick among those finalists, he would not be my actual pick. I believe that Dave Martinez of the world champion Washington Nationals deserves the honor – and it has little to do with his club winning the first World Series in franchise history.

The Nationals were a dozen games below the .500 mark and sitting in fourth place in the NL East Division as May wound towards a close. Rather than throw in the towel, Martinez kept his team positive and focused. The Nats had the best record in the National League from that point to the end of the season.

Over in the American League, the finalists are Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees, Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins.

A great case can be made for any of these men, as well as Oakland A’s skipper Bob Melvin. But my choice would be Baldelli. While the Twins were considered a possible playoff team entering the season, few saw them winning 101 games and capturing the AL Central crown in nearly wire-to-wire fashion.

The first recognized honors in this category were The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award, established in 1936. From that year through 1985, one winner for all of Major League Baseball was announced. Since 1986, The Sporting News has handed out honors in both the American and National Leagues.

The  Baseball Writers Association of America began honoring a Manager of the Year for both leagues with the 1983 season. Each member of a 30-member committee of the BBWAA submits a ballot listing a first, second, and third place finisher among the managers of each league. The manager with the highest score in each league wins the award.

Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa have won the BBWAA award four times, more than any other manager in history. Jim Leyland is the only skipper to be named Manager of the Year four times by The Sporting News.

The Phillies new manager Joe Girardi is the only person to be named as the BBWAA Manager of the Year while piloting a losing club. Girardi took those honors for keeping the 2006 Florida Marlins in the Wildcard playoff hunt until the season’s final weeks, despite working with the game’s lowest payroll.

Yesterday, I wrote about the four players who won the Rookie of the Year Award as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Today, we’ll look at the history of the club in Manager of the Year Award voting.

It’s not much of a history, mind you. Only one manager of the club has ever taken the award as handed out by the BBWAA. And that manager was not either of the men who guided the Phillies to World Series glory. He was also honored in the same year by The Sporting News, which has named just one other Phillies manager as a winner of their award.

As I said earlier, the BBWAA award did not begin until 1983, so Dallas Green obviously would not have a plaque on his shelf for that 1980 championship. That year, The Sporting News chose to honor Bill Virdon of the Houston Astros, whose team the Phillies defeated in the NLCS, as their NL Manager of the Year.

And after guiding the Phillies to a second consecutive NL East crown and the 2008 World Series championship, Charlie Manuel finished as the runner-up to Lou Piniella of the Chicago Cubs in that year’s BBWAA voting.

Manuel would lead the Phillies to five consecutive NL East crowns, but never was awarded the Manager of the Year by the BBWAA or The Sporting News. Not even in 2007, when an underdog Phillies team rallied from seven games back on September 12 to capture their first division title in 14 years.

Manuel finished second to Bob Melvin of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 BBWAA voting. With his team established as favorites, ‘Uncle Charlie’ would finish just 6th in 2009, 5th in 2010, and 4th in 2011. That last was after guiding the Phillies to a 102-win season, the most regular season victories in franchise history.

Despite leading the “Whiz Kids” to a surprise National League pennant in 1950, manager Eddie Sawyer was passed over by The Sporting News in favor of Detroit Tigers skipper Red Rolfe, whose club had finished as the American League runners-up to the New York Yankees that year.

Paul Owens guided the Phillies “Wheeze Kids” to a 1983 NL pennant, but The Sporting News honors that year went to Tony La Russa, who had led the Chicago White Sox to a 99-win season and the AL West Division title in his first year as manager. In their first season giving out an award that year, the BBWAA handed the honors to the manager of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda.

A decade later, Jim Fregosi skippered the ‘Macho Row’ Phillies to a stunning NL East crown in a wire-to-wire performance, then on to a National League pennant. But Fregosi finished a close runner-up to Dusty Baker of the San Francisco Giants, whose club had won 103 games but finished as runners-up in the NL West. The Sporting News gave their award to Bobby Cox of the NL West champion Atlanta Braves.

So, which Phillies managers have been recognized as the Manager of the Year?

The first was Danny Ozark, who The Sporting News named as their winner after he guided the Phillies to the first of three consecutive National League East Division titles in the 1976 season.

It would then be a quarter-century until a second Phillies skipper was so honored. For leading the club to a second place finish in the NL East in 2001, Larry Bowa won the Manager of the Year Award from both The Sporting News and the BBWAA.

That’s it, Ozark and Bowa, the only two men to ever be named as the Manager of the Year with the Phillies. The hope now is that Girardi can put a second career Manager of the Year award in his trophy case and on his resume’ as soon as next year at this time.

 

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MLB awards: my 2018 IBWAA ballot

IBWAA 2018 MLB awards ballot time
Back in 2009 the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) was originally, and perhaps fittingly, founded on Independence Day “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the organization home site.
At the end of each regular season, each member in good standing receives an awards ballot and is tasked with voting for a top 10 for Most Valuable Player of the National and American Leagues.
We are also tasked with voting in each league for a top five in the Cy Young Award, as well as a top three in each of three further categories: top manager, top reliever, and Rookie of the Year.
This will be the fourth year that I’ve had a vote in the IBWAA annual awards balloting. As with each of the last three years, I’m now publicly releasing my ballot. As always, I’m sure that you would choose differently. I would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Please feel free to leave a comment below this piece with your own selections.
The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its awards in mid-November. Our editorial director here at Phillies Nation, Tim Kelly, released his own ballot just yesterday which included some of the reasoning behind his selections.
I’m not going to defend my choices, just simply presenting my ballot for your edification. However, I will let you in on this: I don’t vote for pitchers for Most Valuable Player. I’ve heard, appreciate, and respect all arguments to the contrary. I respectfully disagree with them all.
For me, a player who takes the field every single day to hit and field his position is always going to be more valuable than one who plays every five days. Also, there is a stand-alone award for the best pitcher that is not available to position players.
Also, my MVP votes are always going to be prejudiced towards players whose teams actually win something. Win your division, or at the very least capture a Wildcard playoff berth.
I don’t care if you hit 70 home runs for a last place team. They could have finished in last without your contribution. This is Most “Valuable”, not Most “Outstanding” Player. MLB gives out the Hank Aaron Award to the top hitter in each league. The MVP needs something more to win it on my ballot, and one thing they need is to have helped their team win.
So now it’s time to reveal my own ballot. I’ll first show my top choice to actually win the award, and then the entire ballot for each category.

First-year skipper Snitker guided the Braves to their first NL East crown in five years. (Photo: Bbqsauce13)
NL Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
  1. Snitker
  2. Bud Black
  3. Craig Counsell
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
  1. Melvin
  2. Kevin Cash
  3. Joey Cora
NL Top Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Hader
  2. Wade Davis
  3. Kenley Jansen


Diaz (R) was baseball’s top reliever by a wide margin in the 2018 season. (Photo: Keith Allison)
AL Top Relief Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
  1. Diaz
  2. Blake Treinen
  3. Craig Kimbrel
NL Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
  1. Acuna
  2. Juan Soto
  3. Jack Flaherty
AL Rookie of the Year: Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
  1. Andujar
  2. Joey Wendle
  3. Shohei Ohtani

Nola is a worthy NL Cy Young Award candidate and received this vote.
NL Cy Young Award: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
  1. Nola
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Kyle Freeland
  5. Jameson Taillon
AL Cy Young Award: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
  1. Snell
  2. Chris Sale
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Justin Verlander
  5. Trevor Bauer

Bregman broke out to help the champion Astros remain a top contender. (Photo: Udeezy)
NL Most Valuable Player: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Yelich
  2. Javier Baez
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Matt Carpenter
  5. Lorenzo Cain
  6. Nolan Arenado
  7. Justin Turner
  8. Paul Goldschmidt
  9. Trevor Story
  10. Anthony Rendon
AL Most Valuable Player: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
  1. Bregman
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Mookie Betts
  4. Matt Chapman
  5. Jose Ramirez
  6. J.D. Martinez
  7. Aaron Judge
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Whit Merrifield
  10. Didi Gregorius
Originally published by Phillies Nation as “Matt Veasey’s 2018 IBWAA awards ballot

MLB Mid-August 2014 Power Ranking

Bearded closer Sean Doolittle and the A’s remain on top

The Oakland A’s were on top of the first Power Rankings back in June, slipped just a notch to 2nd in July behind Kansas City, and were tied at the top with the Angels on August 1st. Here in the middle of August, they move back on top of the rankings all by themselves.

In addition to being on top of these rankings, they are also baseball’s top team by record. Their win-loss mark of 73-48 comes out to a .603 win percentage, the best in baseball, and they hold a 2-game lead in the A.L. West. Meanwhile, three other teams: Baltimore, Washington, and the LA Dodgers, have all taken charge in their respective divisional races and will be tough to catch. But the other 3 divisional races remain up for grabs. The NL Wildcard race has 4 teams within 4 games, and the AL Wildcard has 3 teams within 4 games.

POWER RANKING – AUGUST 15TH

1. OAKLAND ATHLETICS
The A’s have been consistently at or near the top of the Power Rankings since the summer began. GM Billy Beane has assembled an excellent all-around team that can beat you in many ways, and manager Bob Melvin and his staff keep them focused and enthused. The A’s are baseball’s #2 offensive team overall, have the 5th-rated defense, and rank 10th in pitching. Those numbers are full season numbers. With the pre-trade deadline pickups of ace-caliber starting pitchers Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija, they made themselves clear favorites for a deep post-season run.

2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
When I ranked the Royals at the top back on July 1st, there were many who scoffed. After all, KC has not been to the playoffs since their lone World Series victory way back in 1985, nearly three decades ago. But most everyone around the game has recognized the young talent they were accumulating over the last few years. It is all finally coming together. This past week, they took over the A.L. Central lead from recent perennial winners Detroit. They are for real, featuring what is by far the #1 defense in the entire game. The Royals also have the 6th-rated pitching staff. Their offense is just 11th, and they could use an impact bat, which might have to come from someone already on the roster stepping forward down the stretch.

3. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
The Halos are obviously one of baseball’s best teams. Unfortunately for them, they play in the same division as the very best team in the game. The Angels have battled Oakland most of the year, and just two weeks ago the two teams were tied at the top of the Power Rankings. Since then, the A’s have opened a 2-game cushion on their division rivals. The Angels remain comfortably in charge of a playoff berth, holding the A.L.’s top Wildcard spot by 5 full games. They own the game’s #1 offense, and have baseball’s 6th-ranked defensive unit. It’s their 12th ranked pitching staff that is holding them back a bit. As I mentioned previously, they could use another proven, veteran starting pitcher. In any event, they look like a post-season shoo-in at this point, and we might finally see the game’s most exciting young player, their 23-year old superstar Mike Trout, take home the MVP Award.

4. TAMPA BAY RAYS
This may be a case of a team cashing in a major trade chip, pitcher David Price, just a bit too soon. The Rays were awful at the start of the season, falling below the .500 mark on April 23rd and bottoming out at 31-48 by June 24th, at which point they were a season-high 13 games out in the division and the “for sale” signs were clearly up. Funny thing happened after that, they began to win, and win regularly. They have now won 6 of their last 8, with the only two losses coming via opponents walk-offs. They are just a game under .500 after going 29-12 over the last month and a half, and are just 6 out in the Wildcard race. In short, had they kept Price, they might have a shot. They are the only team in MLB besides the A’s to rank in the Top 10 on Offense (5), Pitching (7), and Defense (10) and cannot be counted out.

5. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
The Nats have taken charge in the N.L. East over the last couple of months. Rising from below .500 and not even being spoken of in the first Power Rankings on June 1st, Washington now owns a 7-game lead in the loss column on 2nd place Atlanta. They are the N.L.’s hottest team, and it’s best all-around club. The Nats rank 9th in baseball on offense, and those numbers have been rising. They are just 14th in defense, held back there by injuries during the first half to Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper, and here in the 2nd half to Ryan Zimmerman. But they possess the game’s 1st overall pitching staff. Pitching wins in the post-season, and their enviable starting rotation depth should keep them as N.L. favorites right on into the post-season.

6. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Bonus Commentary: Buck Showalter is a miracle worker. With the loss of catcher and team leader Matt Wieters in the first half, and now of Manny Machado for at least a couple of weeks, that will have to continue. But the O’s are starting to open up a big lead in the A.L. East, now up to 7 1/2 games.

6. BOSTON RED SOX
Bonus Commentary: Some find it amusing that in what has been an awful follow-up to last year’s World Series win, the Bosox have consistently been a Top 10 team in the Power Rankings. The numbers don’t lie, folks. This team is better than their record. Don’t be surprised if they quickly turn it around in 2015.

8. SEATTLE MARINERS

9. ATLANTA BRAVES

10. LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Best of the Rest:
Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Saint Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants

My Call:
Some of these races are clearing up. The A’s may pull away with their starting pitching acquisitions, previously their only weakness. The Beltway pair of the Orioles and Nats are already pulling away in the respective league’s East division races. Everything is too early to call, but right now, I see the Washington Nationals as the best bets to actually win their division in the National League, and with Oakland as at least a clear playoff team in the American League. Hopefully in two weeks, on Labor Day, I may be able to call something formally.

Phillies: 
For my fellow fans of the Fightin’ Phils, things in our neck of the woods are even worse statistically than they have looked on the field and in the standings, if that is possible. The Phillies are the worst team in the National League, the 2nd worst ahead of only Houston in all of baseball. And the Astros have far and away a better farm system. Out of 30 teams in MLB, the Phils are 24th in Pitching, 25th in Defense, and 28th in Offense. They have no strengths, they are old and/or under-achieving, and they don’t have a lot of impact-level talent coming from the Minors. This will not be an easy fix, especially with the current General Manager steering the ship.