Manager of the Year Winners: Mike Shildt and Rocco Baldelli
Mike Shildt Wins National League Manager of the Year
In a shocking turn of events, Mike Shildt has been named the National League Manager of the Year. The St. Louis Cardinals manager won the award with 95 points. The Cardinals finished the first half of the season with a record of 44-44. Then the Cardinals had a dominant July and August that was able to allow them surge past the Chicago Cubs in September to win their first division title since 2015. The Cardinals finished the season with a record of 91-71. This comes in part to the team being able to win fifty of their eighty-one home games at Busch Stadium
After missing the playoffs three years in a row, Mike Shildt lead the Cardinals back to the postseason in 2019. This comes largely in part to the Cardinals finishing second in the National League for ERA. The pitching staff as a whole posted an ERA of 3.80 including starter Jack Flaherty and reliever Giovanny Gallegos having an ERA below 2.80 this season. In addition, the Cardinals lead the National League in stolen bases this season with 116. Also the Cardinals lead the National League in saves with 52, two more than their rivals the Milwaukee Brewers.
Shildt has done an effective job of replacing Mike Matheny as the Cardinals manager. Under Shildt, many fans were surprised to see the Cardinals make the playoffs. After a competitive five-game series with the Atlanta Braves, the Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series. Unfortunately, the Washington Nationals pitching was too much for the Cardinals as they failed to produce many runs in the short four-game series.
With a dominant pitching rotation and an exciting young core of hitters, the Cardinals look to remain competitive in 2020. With a chance of defending the division title, they have to ensure they can fend off the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs yet again.
Craig Counsell Falls Short
Despite the Milwaukee Brewers finishing just two wins away from the National League Central Division title, Craig Counsell was unable to win National League Manager of the year. Counsell was vital in rallying the Brewers into the postseason as the team finished the regular season with a 20-7 record in September. As this was the second year in a row that Counsell was nominated, he has failed to win yet again. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm in 2020.
Brian Snitker Dethroned
Despite winning National League Manager of the Year in 2018, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker failed to win again, even though this is the best season for the Atlanta Braves since 2003. The 97 win Atlanta Braves shockingly did not lead the National League in any statistic this season. Had they managed to win Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series at home, it’s possible that the Braves could have beaten their rivals in the Washington Nationals. Snitker and the Braves are poised to be competitive yet again in 2020, as the team hopes to win their third straight division title.
Rocco Baldelli Wins
Rocco Baldelli exceeded expectations in his first season as manager of the Minnesota Twins. He led the team to their first division title since 2010 as the Twins won 101 games. Despite failing to win a game during the postseason, the Twins can build on the successes of 2019 have an even better season in 2020.
During the 2019 season, the Twins finished in the Top 4 in the American League in Runs Scored, Hits, Doubles, Batting Average, Slugging Percentage and Total Bases to name a few. Not to mention the Twins breaking the record by most Home Runs ever hit by a team in a season with 307. While the offensive power is an asset, the Twins have a lot to improve defensively for the 2020 season.
After firing manager Paul Molitor after the 2018 season, it’s safe to say that the Minnesota Twins are confident in Baldelli moving forward. It’s likely that the Twins head back to the postseason in 2020; meaning that the playoff experience in 2019 can move the team forward.
Aaron Boone Loses
In his second year as manager of the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone led his team to their first division title since 2012. Despite losing many players to injury, the New York Yankees managed to promote a “Next Man Up” mentality and show the importance of their depth. Assuming that key players are healthy, the savages hope to build on the momentum from the 2019 campaign. After nice surprise seasons from Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees appear to have a stronger core than once thought. While the World Series remains the goal, the Yankees will be fixated on defeating the Houston Astros in 2020.
Kevin Cash Loses
Despite having one of the best seasons in Tampa Bay Rays history, Kevin Cash did not win the American League Manager of the Year. Although this might not have been the result Rays fans may have hoped for, they can take pride in knowing that this team remained competitive with contenders despite having such a low payroll. The Rays took advantage of players such as Eric Sogard and Travis d’Arnaud in order to get the best value out of them. As the one responsible to motivate his players, Cash shows that he is among the best managers in the game. Cash understands his players and under him, will make sure the Rays are competitive for a long time