Their teams’ victories were surprising, but their personal wins were long expected.
The Braves’ Brian Snitker and the A’s Bob Melvin Wednesday were named managers of the year for the National and American League after leading their respective squads to unexpected finishes. Snitker was able to upend the disappointing Nationals and Mets, who were never much of a threat in the NL East, and beat out the Phillies.
Melvin, in an even greater coup, took the lowest Opening Day payroll in baseball, a slew of injured starting pitchers, and created a 97-win team that ascended to one of the wild-card spots before losing to the Yankees. His additions to the concept of an opener — starting a game with a reliever, and then shifting to a starter — or bullpening (a fully bullpen game) — has already shifted the concept of how experts and fans view the game.
“We were a little taken aback when we lost so many guys,” said Melvin, who lost nine starting pitchers to injury before the end of August. “After that, I think it was a badge of honor . . . It’s next man up.”
Melvin got 18 first-place votes, and 121 total points, and the Red Sox’s Alex Cora earned seven first-place votes and 79 points. The Rays’ Kevin Cash was third with 57 points.
Snitker received 17 first-place votes, nine second-place and three thirds for 116 points. The Brewers’ Craig Counsell was second (99 points), and the Rockies’ Bud Black third (41 points).