Minnesota Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli won the Baseball Writers Association of America American League Manager of the Year.
Baldelli totaled 106 pints receiving 13 first place votes, 13 second place votes, and 2 third place votes.
Aaron Boone finished with 96 points garnering 13 first place votes, 9 second place votes, and 4 third place votes.
Kevin Cash finished third with 33 points receiving three first place votes, three second place votes, and 9 third place votes.
In his first year as Twins’ Manager, Baldelli led his team to 101 victories in winning the American League Central Division, an increase of 23 games from 2018.
The Yankees won 103 games en route to winning the American League East by seven games. Usually, when a Manager wins 100 games in the season prior as the Yankees did, his candidacy for Manager of the Year the following season is diminished because the expectations to win was already present. In the case of Boone and the Yankees, overcoming the injuries of impact players was an underlying theme from Spring Training on and this obviously impressed the voters.
The Tampa Bay Rays entered 2019 with high expectations after winning 90 games in 2018. They opened the season with the lowest payroll in the league at 64.2MM and along the way to 96-wins and a Wild Card berth had to use a club record 33 pitchers and 57 players.
Tampa Bay opened the year with 17 players on the roster with less than two years of service time. Their bullpen entered the season with 11 career saves in total. Emilio Pagan who ended up leading the team in saves (20) opened the season with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.
A total of 24 Rays spent 30 stints on the injured list totaling 1085 games lost, included among those were 644 games from those on the Opening Day roster. Only three players from the Opening Day roster, Tommy Pham, Charlie Morton, and Tommy Pham, avoided the injured list during the season.
Despite the low payroll, the lack of experience, the constant shuffling of the roster due to injury the Tampa Bay Rays improved from 90 to 96 wins in perhaps the toughest Division in baseball and earned the second Wild Card spot.
Despite all the roadblocks to success, Kevin Cash was only able to receive a total of three first place votes?
It isn’t hard to understand Rocco Baldelli receiving the votes he did, after all the Twins did increase their win total by 23 games. But it’s a real head scratcher to look up at 33 points and a third place finish for Kevin Cash.
Maybe if the Rays would have performed better head to head versus New York the vote would have flipped? Barring winning the American League East, I’m not sure there is much more Cash and company could have done in 2019 to impress the voters.