Braves' Brian Snitker, Athletics' Bob Melvin win 2018 Manager of the Year honors
Both skippers led surprising runs to the postseason
Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves and Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics won MLB's 2018 Manager of the Year Awards on Tuesday night. In the National League, Snitker beat out Milwaukee's Craig Counsell and Colorado's Bud Black. Meanwhile, Melvin won the American League hardware over Boston's Alex Cora and Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash.
For Melvin, this is his third Manager of the Year Award. The 57-year-old had previously won it with the 2007 Diamondbacks and the 2012 Athletics. He's the eighth manager in history to win the award three times. Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa are the only managers to win it four times. Dusty Baker, Jim Leyland, Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella and Buck Showalter also have three Manager of the Year Awards apiece.
One of the running tropes with the Manager of the Year Award is that it goes to the skipper of the year's most surprising team. Melvin's win qualifies. Few expected the Athletics to be as competitive as they were, winning 97 games and the second wild card spot. They did that despite going into the season with baseball's lowest payroll at approximately $67 million.
Snitker, 63, is a Braves lifer who first joined the organization as a player in the late 1970s. He didn't get his first big league coaching job until 2016, when he took over as the team's interim manager. Between the end of his playing career and the start of his MLB managerial career, Snitker filled a variety of coaching roles with the Braves, both in the big leagues and in the minors.
It's fair to say Snitker's was a most unexpected win. He entered the season appearing to be little more than a placeholder for the Braves next manager. Yet Snitker, in a variety of ways, did more than babysit. He made the gig his own by winning 90 games and leading the Braves to a surprising NL East title. Snitker doesn't receive high marks for his tactical chops, but he's well-liked in the clubhouse and that tends to be more important. Chalk this up as a nice story.
Melvin garnered 18 first-place votes, while Cora had seven and Cash received five. Snitker scored 17 first-place votes, edging Counsell, who had 13. The full results of the NL vote can be found here. All told, 11 of the 30 big league managers received at least one Manager of the Year vote.
Manager of the Year was the second award announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America this week with Cy Young and MVP honors yet to come. We're keeping tabs on all of the major 2018 MLB hardware.
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