The 2015 Major League Baseball Manager of the Year selection for both the National and American Leagues, will be a hard one to call. Below are my choices for each league:
- Terry Collins, New York Mets
- Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
- Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
- Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers
Of these five managers, my top two candidates are Collins and Maddon as they both have taken young teams and defied expectations. I give the edge to Collins, due to New York’s surge to the top of the National League East, thanks to the starting pitching trio of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia. The play of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, whom the team acquired at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Cespedes‘ offensive production (.283 batting average, 17 home runs and 42 runs batted in with the Mets) has energized a team that had struggled offensively prior to his arrival.
- A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
- John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays
- Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers
- Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins
- Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Of these five managers, I have a top three. John Gibbons returned to the Blue Jays this season after having previously managed the team from 2004-2008 and being in the midst of a 22-year playoff drought, having not made a playoff appearance since winning the World Series in 1993. The emergence of Josh Donaldson as an MVP candidate helped solidify the middle of the Toronto lineup which featured Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. In my opinion, the front-runner is Hinch, which inherited an Astros team which was coming off a 70-92 2014 campaign and not much was expected of a relatively inexperienced team, which had not tasted the postseason since 2005 when they represented the National League in the World Series. Banister is the wildcard, though. In his first year in Arlington, Banister’s team had gone from 9 1/2 games out of first place in May to overtake the American League West from an upstart Houston Astros team with about two weeks left in the regular season. In this case this decision is too difficult to call right now.