Blog Entry

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

Posted on: September 9, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 8:07 pm

By Matt Snyder

During the week, Eye on Baseball has been profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. We close the week with the NL Manager of the Year

View contenders for the: AL MVP | NL MVP | AL Cy Young | NL Cy Young | AL Rookie of the Year | NL Rookie of the Year | AL Manager of the Year

As opposed to most of the other awards we've discussed this week, this one likely has little drama. Whether you agree or not, it seems rather obvious -- based upon how most BBWAA voters cast their ballots in any given season -- that Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks is going to win the NL Manager of the Year. There are some other very solid candidates, but it's been well established that a manager leading a division champion who most people expected to come in last place is an absolute shoo-in for the honor. Clint Hurdle was all set to challenge Gibson, but the Pirates fell apart in August. Terry Collins has also done a great job to have the Mets hovering around .500 considering all the issues they're dealing with. Still, he's not in contention for this award. Here is Gibson's case, along with three others who have an outside shot.

Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
Record through 9/8: 83-61
2010 D-Backs record: 65-97

If you didn't think the Diamondbacks were going to finish last in the NL West before the season, you were likely predicting a fourth-place finish or fooling yourself. Instead, they've obliterated all expectations and Gibson's demeanor has set the tone for the turnaround of his upstart ballclub. Behind MVP candidate Justin Upton, Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy and a host of other difference-makers -- including a revamped bullpen -- the D-Backs are now the biggest surprise team in baseball for the 2011 season. Assuming there's no colossal meltdown that sees the D-Backs miss the playoffs -- they entered Friday with a 7 1/2 game lead and less than three weeks to play -- this award is as good as Gibby's.

Also in the Mix (listed alphabetically)

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves
Record through 9/8: 84-60
2010 Braves record: 91-71

His ballclub is performing mostly to expectations -- probably a tick higher -- but replacing a legend (Bobby Cox) is no insignificant task. Gonzalez has also had to juggle the lineup often due to key injuries and some underperformance. Plus, the development of so many young players -- save for Jason Heyward, who is one of the guys underperforming -- has to look good on Gonzalez.

Charlie Manuel, Phillies
Record through 9/8: 92-48
2010 Phillies record: 97-65

It's too bad that expectations virtually eliminate some managers from contention on this award -- more on that coming next week, by the way -- because Manuel definitely deserves a shot at this thing. He has his Phillies on pace to win 105 games, which would break the franchise record by four. Yes, he has a stacked starting pitching staff and a very good lineup, but there have been injury issues all season, many to All-Star caliber players. Yet it has never knocked the Phillies off course. That has to be a testament to Manuel. April 26 was the only day all season the Phils weren't in first, and they were a half-game out. But since the Phillies were picked by almost everyone to win the NL East, Manuel won't win the award.

Ron Roenicke, Brewers
Record though 9/8: 85-60
2010 Brewers record: 77-85

If not for the D-Backs' incredible turnaround, Roenicke would be on his way to winning this award. Yes, the Brewers did push all their proverbial chips to the center of the table this season, in acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to bulk up the pitching staff and possibly make one last run with Prince Fielder anchoring the lineup -- if they're unable to retain him via free agency after the season. So, yes, the Brewers have talent, but Roenicke has been a solid leader for this group. They weathered an 0-4 start and then a seven-game losing streak had them at 13-19. They played well for much of the rest of the way, but still were involved in a wide-open, four-team race at 54-49 in late July. Since then, the Brewers are 31-11 and have opened up a menacing eight-game lead in the NL Central. They're on pace for the most Brewers wins in a season since 1982 -- when Harvey's Wallbangers made the World Series. And Roenicke is a first-year manager, so that should earn him a few more bonus points. Expect him to finish second, which is only due to bad timing.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:20 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 7:16 pm

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

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Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: September 13, 2011 10:38 pm

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

Gibby was an memoriable ball player. Hitting monster home runs in World Series. Kirk Gibson is passing along, his passion for the game, as manager of the Arizona D-backs. I have always hoped that Gibby would become a manager in the big leagues, because watching him play many years in Detroit and than coaching the Tigers, I knew that he would success, teaching his love for the game. I am happy for Gibby and he deserves to be named the N.L. Manager of the Year.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: September 11, 2011 12:44 pm

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

This is such a dumb award. It always goes to a division winner who didnt win it the year before.

Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: September 11, 2011 11:42 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

It has to be Kirk Gibson but Ron Roenicke should be in the running and it isn't a blowout.  Roenicke has more guns but has done well and they are a team that could make a stink in the post season.  I think the Brewers have a good shot to make a run in the playoffs and the D-backs don't but either coach is worth of this award. 

Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:40 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

Even as a Phillies fan, gotta give it to Kirk Gibson. That D-Backs Team on paper had 75-80 wins tops when the season started. They have overachieved and that's a testament to Kirk. 

Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:30 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

The Phillies aren't on pace for 105 wins. That would mean they went 11-9 in the last twenty games. Much more likely is that the Phillies will go 13-7 or 14-6 over the last twenty games.

Since: Jun 4, 2010
Posted on: September 11, 2011 2:10 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

i can see why us phillie fans want charlie to win it but i mean gibson deff deserves this one this year.. were a powerhouse but the dbacks have had virtually nothing besides upton. there whole infield changed sence the beggining of the year and they had emergences of kennedy n jj.  not to mention the giants may not be hitting but still have thee best pitching staff and the rockies with cargo and tulo.. its a nice divison to watch but gibson to a bunch of nobodys and put a will to win in them after i think i could be wrong 4 seasons in 3 place or below

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: September 11, 2011 12:14 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

I think it's fairly obvious I'm generalizing...and as a generalization about Philly fans, it's spot-on. That said, to clear things up, there are certainly some wonderful people living in Philadelphia and some objective, normal fans. Feel better? Thanks for the unnecessary tirade though.

Since: May 28, 2011
Posted on: September 11, 2011 12:02 am

Gibson easy frontrunner for NL Manager of Year

I am a Brewer fan, but I must say it has to go to Gibson.

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