This award should probably be better titled: "Manager Of A Team That Wasn't Very Good The Previous Year But Got A Lot Better Award," because generally, that's who it goes to -- a manager whose team either outperforms expectations or improves by a dozen or more games and makes the postseason.
That's the case for the Beltway Cities managers, Buck Showalter of the Orioles and of the Nationals, this year's selections of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America for Manager of the Year. Did those teams do better because of great managing? Or were they just great teams with the manager along for the ride? Here's the rest of the IBWAA details:
AL Manager of the Year
NL Manager of the Year
Showalter received 98 first-place votes and 605 points. Scioscia managed 17 first-place votes and 281 points, while being named on 103 ballots. Yost received 30 first-place votes, 261 points, and was named on 81 ballots.
Williams received 61 first-place votes and 414 points. Hurdle garnered 40 first-place votes and 330 points. Bochy received 23 first-place votes and 226 points.
AL: Showalter, Brad Ausmus, Lloyd McClendon
NL: Williams, Don Mattingly, Hurdle
I tried to stay somewhat away from the "guy who managed a team to the playoffs after a mediocre year" meme; I thought the job Ausmus did keeping the Tigers focused and winning was worth a vote, as was the job McClendon did getting the Mariners off the mat to contend, even though they didn't make it. Mattingly did a similar job, I thought, keeping the Dodgers together and winning a division title after they trailed the Giants by 10½ games early in the year.
Truth be told, Joe Girardi might have deserved a third-place vote here. The 2014 Yankees didn't really have any business even sniffing the playoffs; they had a negative run differential (for the second straight season; they are the first team in major-league history to do that and have a winning record in both years) and outperformed their Pythagorean projection by seven games, which is a very large number. And yet, they were in wild-card contention until the season's final week. That was a good managing job.
Will Joe Maddon be a candidate for this award in the N.L. next year? We can only hope.
The BBWAA Manager of the Year awards will be announced on a live MLB Network show beginning at 5 p.m. CT today; feel free to use this post to comment on that. I'd expect the BBWAA awards to match the IBWAA selections.