Who won the 2022 MLB American and National League Manager of the Year?
The Baseball Writers Association of America have unveiled their choice for awarding the 2022 Manager of the Year in both the American and National leagues
Over the past two decades, the role of the manager in Major League Baseball has been reduced, often to no more than a low-level functionary. Front offices were not content to make administrative decisions and appointed analytics departments to mandate the direction of play, and often the personnel to be used, riding roughshod over the manager’s position.
But even in this post-apocalyptic version of baseball, there are still skippers who manage to bring the occasional spark into the game. Ever-diminishing numbers of clubs are even willing still to defer to the experience and credentials of a select few managers.
It is to honor these few, these happy few, that the nearly anachronistic Manager of the Year Award still exists.
How and, more importantly when, does voting take place?
It would seem to be a formality in light of the World Series to simply name the opposing managers as Managers of the Year, right? I mean they did, after all, make it to the World Series. But this isn’t how it works.
The voting for Manager of the Year is done, not by players or other managers, but by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Crucially, the voting is concluded at the end of the regular season.
Each voting member submits three names: a first, second, and third place, with five points awarded for a first place vote, three for a second, and one for a third. The manager with the highest points total wins the award.
Terry Francona, Cleveland Guardians
The Cleveland Guardians skipper, Francona is a three-time recipient, having brought home the plaque in 2013 and 2016. Winning the AL Central division over the highly-touted Chicago White Sox, the Guardians managed a 92-70 season that saw them finish first for the 11th time in their history.
“The best part about this is it gives me the opportunity to brag about the people I work with, the coaches and the baseball ops guys and certainly our players,” says Francona. “Everybody talks about culture and things like that. I really believe we live it out every day, and for that I’m really proud.”
Francona received 17 first-place votes and 112 points, setting him head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. His nearest competitor was Baltimore’s Brandon Hyde on 79 points and nine first place votes. The eventual World Series winner, Houston’s Dusty Baker was only given three first place votes and totaled 31 points.
Coming back from health issues that saw the last two seasons cut short, Francona had to guide a team with the youngest roster in baseball and one of the lowest payrolls through a highly competitive minefield. Relying on small-ball tactics and solid pitching, Francona took his youthful club to the top of the division, showing that he still has his finest managerial days in front of him.
“It doesn’t matter your age; it matters how much you want to compete and how much you’re willing to put a team first, ahead of your own personal circumstances. For younger guys still trying to find their footing in our league, that’s pretty amazing that they were able to always put our team first.”
Buck Showalter, New York Mets
The New York Mets have now had a manager win this award for the first time ever, when Buck Showalter was named National League MOY. While it is uncharted waters for the Mets, it is something of business as usual for Showalter. The veteran skipper has now picked up his fourth award, joining Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox as the only managers to do that. What is more, Showalter won it with the Yankees in 1994, the Rangers in 2004, the Orioles in 2014, and becomes now the only person to win it with four different clubs.
“What a great moment for our organization and coaching staff and ownership and front office, scouts, player development,” said Showalter. “The recognition of our organization means a lot to everybody. Very humbling, very honored.”
The Mets have been in dire straits for some years now, and with a new owner and tons of cash splashed out, they needed to win immediately. Buck was brought in and gave them their first playoff berth in six years after they clinched the NL Wild Card spot. With 26 more wins than last season, the Mets finished on 101 wins, second ever in franchise history.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, though, as the Mets watched the Braves chew through a 10.5 game lead to take the division at the last minute, and both teams were ultimately stunned by a resurgent Philadelphia Phillies side. But with the mess that the Mets were in last year, Showalter’s job was to right the ship.
“I just think I tried to calm the seas a little bit and understand they were pretty good,” says Showalter. “They had done some things to attack our weakness before I got here. And to realize that we’re kind of self-inflicting a lot of things. If we could get out of our own way, we could have some fun. I think our guys really bought into holding themselves to a high standard.”