Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yost, Matheny were Top Managers in '14

At the conclusion of every season, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) are asked to submit their ballots for the top awards across baseball. Each of these awards is named in honor of a player that epitomized the role in Major League Baseball. Over the course of the next week, I will release my ballots for each award and I will post the official announcements from the BBA with the combined votes of all member blogs.

Here is the list of awards that will be announced in the coming days:
  • Connie Mack Award (Top Manager) released today
  • Willie Mays Award (Top Rookie)
  • Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)
  • Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)
  • Stan Musial Award (Top Player)
Connie Mack Award for Top Manager
American League
1. Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals (89-73, AL Wild Card)
The Kansas City Royals have made the playoffs once in my lifetime before this season. With Yost at the helm, playoff baseball will be back in Kansas City. At the beginning of the season, there weren't many that picked two teams from getting out of the AL Central. Not only did Yost have his club in position for the Wild Card, his team entered the last weekend with a shot to overtake the Tigers for the AL Central crown.

2. Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles (96-66, AL East Champions)
Showalter helped the Orioles to walk through the American League East in the second half. Many thought Tampa Bay or Boston would be back near the top but it was Baltimore that won the division with a double digit lead in the wins column. Their run differential of over 100 was more than triple their closest AL East competitor. It's the second time in three seasons the Orioles are bound for the postseason.

3. Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels (98-64, AL West Champions)
After a couple of disappointing seasons in a row, the Angels are back in the postseason. Scioscia led his club to the best record in the American League and the road to the World Series will go through Southern California. The third spot on my ballot was a close race between Scioscia and Lloyd McClendon but the Mariners fell flat at the end of the season when they needed to win the most.

National League
1. Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals (90-72, NL Central Champions)
The NL Central was supposed to be won by the Brewers but they fell apart. Matheny and the Cardinals seized the opportunity and held off the Pirates for the division crown. The Pirates might be everyone's darlings again but I don't think Hurdle will win the award two years in a row. St. Louis had to overcome some adversity to win their division title and I think that's enough to give Matheny the award.

2.  Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates (88-74, NL Wild Card)
It can be tough to win in Pittsburgh and it is quite the feat for Hurdle to guide the Pirates' ship into the postseason in two consecutive years. They made things interesting down the stretch for the Cardinals but they couldn't hunt them down and they had to settle for second best in the NL Central for the second year in a row. Winning is back in Pittsburgh and that's fun to say.

3. Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68, NL West Champions)
The Dodgers finished behind the Nationals for the best record in baseball but Mattingly seems to do a better job than Matt Williams in Washington. The NL East fell apart behind the Nationals while the Dodgers had to hold off San Francisco for the division title. There are a lot of personalities in the Dodger clubhouse that Mattingly has to keep in check so he gets the final spot on my ballot.

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