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Bob Melvin gets my vote for AL Manager of Year
November 5, 2012 - Andy Heintz
No one came into the season predicting the Oakland Athletics or Baltimore Orioles would be in the postseason come October. It was a nice story in June and it became reality in August and carried over into the playoffs.
The Chicago White Sox had a brand new manager and wasn't expected to contend with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
All three of these teams overachieved compared to where most thought they would finish. It is for that reason that I have placed all three managers from these teams in my AL Managers of the Year rankings.
3. Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox finished second in the division, yes. But the division was not supposed to come down to the final two weeks of the season. The Tiger had superior talent and a much better pitching staff, but Ventura got the most out of his guys for the duration of the season. They just didn't have enough in the end to claim a playoff spot.
Chris Sale was arguably the best pitcher in the AL for most of the year and Adam Dunn bounced back under Ventura's watch. He also turned around Kevin Youkilis' season after Boston essentially gave up on him.
2. Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles in the playoffs? In the American League East? No way, many thought. Showalter would have none of that. The roster was littered with several young and talented prospects but no one thought the run to the postseason would come into play this season.
Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Chris Davis and Manny Machado are four of the better young prospects in the game today, but a casual baseball fan did not know their name before this year because they just didn't stand out. Machado obviously was called up this year so it was hard to get noticed, but Jones and Weiters were supposed to be "there" for a few years now.
Showalter gave his roster the belief that they could compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in that daunting division. He told them they could win playoff games.
All those things happened this season, and if it wasn't for a brilliant late run by the Oakland Athletics, Showatler would be getting rewarded for his superior managerial job.
1. Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
If you could name more than five players on the A's roster coming into the season, you would be one of a very short list to do so.
The Athletics won the AL West over the reigning two-time AL champion Texas Rangers with guys like Jarrod Parker, Tommy Millone and Bartolo Colon on the starting staff. He also had a guy named Ryan Cook as his closer and position players like Jonny Gomes, Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes leading the way offensively.
What the Athletics did this season was special and nearly winning a playoff series was even more special. There are not many other managers in the history of baseball that have done a better job with so little than Melvin. I expect him to run away with this award when it is announced later this week.
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