It is awards seats in for Major League Baseball! The NL Manager of the Year award is an interesting one. There are three very good candidates, but the writers at Overtime Heroics thought one guy stood out from the rest. For now, let’s take a look at the candidates.
Craig Counsell, Brewers
Despite losing NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich, Counsell’s Brewers still managed to make the playoffs after finishing 89-73. Not only did Counsell lose his best player, but his pitching staff also struggled. Counsell was forced to move pitchers around. He also lost key players Keston Huira, Mike Moustakas and Brandon Woodruff for significant portions of the year. They were also without all-star closer Corey Knebel for the whole season.
Despite all of this, Counsell led his Brewers to a 20-7 record in September to catapulate them above the Chicago Cubs and into the playoffs for the second consecutive season. A big part of that was their performance against NL Central teams. They had a 45-31 record against their division foes, and only had a losing record to the division-winning St. Louis Cardinals. Speaking of the Cardinals…
Mike Shildt, Cardinals
In his first full-season as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Shildt led them to another NL Central division title. It’s a drastic turnaround from the team, who last season missed the playoffs for the third consectutive season. That was first time that has happened to the Cardinals since the 1997-1999 seasons.
Shildt led his Cardinals to a 50-30 record from July-September to put his team in first place in the NL Central. They finished with a 91-71 record. Similar to the Brewers, the Cardinals had a strong record in the NL Central as they had a winning record against all of their division foes and a combined record of 46-30.
Brian Snitker, Braves
Snitker can become the first manager since Bobby Cox (2003-2004) to win this award for the second consecutive season. The Braves had high expectations entering the 2019 season. Snitker’s team delivered by going 97-65, finishing four games ahead of the eventual World Series Champion Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East division.
Despite the high expectations though, the NL East off-season headlines were dominated by high-profile additions that the Mets and Phillies made. Neither of those teams were in the playoffs at the year’s end. A big reason for that was the 46-30 record that the Braves put up against division foes. Snitker’s young core was a big reason for the division title and his development of them has been key for the franchise.
With just one vote separating Shildt and Counsell, Shildt was voted as the NL Manager of the Year from the Overtime Heroics staff. Shildt’s second half was second-to-none. The Cardinals surprised the Brewers and Cubs by taking the division, despite the franchise appearing to be heading downhill after the firing of Mike Matheny last season.
Author Twitter: @SentryCarney
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