Manager of the Year is kind of a tricky award to analyze. Often, it goes to a man who managed a team to the postseason -- no matter whether that manager had a huge effect on his team or not.
In this case, the 2015 Manager of the Year award won by Joe Maddon of the Cubs Tuesday from the Baseball Writers Association of America is absolutely a credit to a man who had a significant impact on not only the players on the field, but in helping change the culture of an entire organization.
Maddon received 18 first-place votes. It's his third manager of the year award. He's the seventh manager to win more than once, the seventh to win in both leagues, and the fourth Cubs manager of the year (Lou Piniella in 2008, Don Zimmer in 1989 and Jim Frey in 1984 are the others).
It's not just the off-field things such as magicians, onesie road trips and zoo animals in the clubhouse, either. It's Maddon's willingness to do things outside the box, to try players at positions they might not have played much, to get every single man on his team to buy into what he's doing, that is Maddon's genius. Some managers are afraid, I think, to upset their players by moving them around or benching them if needed. Maddon's benching of Starlin Castro, for example, not only didn't upset Castro, but when he was returned to the lineup he produced his best play of the year.
There are many examples of this sort of thing that Maddon did over the course of the year. The bottom line is, I think, that Maddon is expert at getting the best out of his players, to get them performing at their peak value. The Cubs are fortunate to have had him dropped in their laps at the time he was, and they'll have him for at least four more years.
The BBWAA's A.L. Manager of the Year is Jeff Banister of the Rangers.
Again, I present the voting results of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (of which I am a member). The IBWAA winners matched the BBWAA winners.
Maddon received 111 first-place votes (62.71%) and 700 points while being named on 170 of 177 ballots (94.44%). Others receiving first-place votes include Terry Collins (39), Mike Matheny (17) and Clint Hurdle (6).
Banister received 60 first-place votes (34.09%) and 440 points while being named on 124 of 176 ballots (70.45%). Others receiving first-place votes include A.J. Hinch (43), John Gibbons (33), Ned Yost (17) and Paul Molitor (13).
My IBWAA ballot:
N.L.: Maddon, Terry Collins, Mike Matheny A.L.: Joe Girardi, Paul Molitor, Jeff Banister
The Cubs could make it three-for-three Wednesday, if Jake Arrieta can take home the Cy Young Award.