It is MLB 2020 Awards Week, and we continue with the Manager of the Year announcements that will be made tomorrow. We have our ideas of who should win, of course, which may be different than who actually does win the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
Here we go with our picks!
2020 AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash
Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays), Charlie Montoyo (Toronto Blue Jays) and Rick Renteria (Chicago White Sox) are the finalists for the AL Manager of the Year Award. So, this is our small group to select from, sadly.
Let us first say it’s a joke that Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin wasn’t even a finalist for this award, as the A’s won the AL West despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Evidently, people just take Moneyball and Melvin for granted now, and that’s pathetic.
Second, what Renteria did in Chicago was very impressive, as the White Sox hadn’t made the postseason since 2008, and he led them to a near-division crown in the AL Central with one of the lower payrolls, as well. Why the White Sox chose to change managers after the postseason is a mystery.
That all being said, there’s no way Cash shouldn’t win this award: With the third-lowest payroll, the Rays won the most games in the league. That alone means he should win the award, but Tampa Bay also outperformed its Pythagorean projection by four wins—which is all on the manager, in terms of game decisions. That was the second-best mark in the majors (see below).
Cash was unfairly criticized in Game 6 of the World Series, of course, because he did everything right just to get the Rays to where they were in the first place.
2020 NL Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly
Don Mattingly (Miami Marlins), David Ross (Chicago Cubs) and Jayce Tingler (San Diego Padres) are the finalists for the NL Manager of the Year Award. Again, this is our limited group to select from for this award.
To start, Ross has no business being a finalist here, as the Cubs spent the third-most money in baseball and still only won 34 games—less than small-payroll teams from the South Side of the Windy City, Oakland, and Tampa.
Mattingly took the fourth-lowest payroll team to the postseason, for just the third time in the franchise’s 28-year history, and he also posted the best Pythagorean project margin in all of baseball, too: plus-5. That says a lot about one of the most underrated managers in the game right now.
San Diego was No. 11 in payroll, and while it was an accomplishment getting the Padres to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, Tingler actually underperformed by a game on the Pythagorean projection. That’s not good when you have much costlier talent to play with on your roster.
We do think Atlanta Braves skipper Brian Snitker deserved a nomination here, for taking a mid-payroll team (No. 16 overall) to a third-straight NL East title, while also matching Pythagorean projections. He was definitely a better candidate for this award than Ross—and maybe Tingler, too.
In the end, Mattingly—like Cash—gets our nod for doing the most with the least. That is great managing in our book, always.
Stay tuned for more 2020 MLB awards analysis this week!