Brandon Hyde is respected by his peers, who twice have voted him The Sporting News’ Manager of the Year in the American League. For shocking the industry with an 83-win season in 2022 and by leading the Orioles to 101, a division title and the best record in the league in 2023.
That’s two ways to do it. Be the manager of a team that wasn’t expected to do anything or surprises again by taking the AL East and the top seed in the playoffs.
The BBWAA gave the award to Cleveland’s Terry Francona last year, and supporters pointed to the Guardians’ having the youngest roster and winning their division, while the Orioles missed the playoffs. I didn’t agree with it. The Orioles went from 110 losses to 79 and competed in a much tougher division. They contended until the final week.
Hyde is viewed as the favorite tonight. Analysts on MLB Network revealed the finalists last week and noted the lack of drama surrounding the winners, as if the first-place finishers were obvious.
Is that the case with AL manager?
The buzz surrounding the Rangers’ Bruce Bochy is loud. I'm guessing that many of you have heard it.
A big reason is a post on the former Twitter from ESPN’s Jeff Passan after the finalists show that later was deleted. Some fans pointed out that the names in each category weren’t all in alphabetical order and didn’t match the order on the MLB account. And that it also happened last year, as if it’s due to leaked results.
Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?
Shohei Ohtani was listed first in last week’s post as AL MVP and Ronald Acuña first as NL MVP. Gerrit Cole first for AL Cy Young and Blake Snell first for NL Cy Young. Gunnar Henderson first for AL Rookie and Corbin Carroll first for NL Rookie. Bochy first for AL Manager and Craig Counsell first for NL Manager.
The post got people talking, but it could mean nothing. I didn’t notice it last year.
Henderson and Carroll were announced last night as winners. Ohtaini, Acuña, Cole and Snell are expected to follow. Counsell might not be as obvious, but he’s got a strong case.
Hyde’s would appear to be impenetrable. Again, remember that ballots were submitted before the playoffs. Before the Rangers swept the Orioles in the Division Series and won their first World Series.
They were turned in after Texas stumbled down the stretch and failed to win the AL West with one of the largest payrolls in baseball.
Bochy is a Hall of Famer. He just needs to retire and wait for the call. He worked his magic again with the Rangers after winning three World Series with the Giants. Taking over a 94-loss team and making the playoffs. Players and media love him.
Meanwhile, FanGraphs projected the Orioles to go 80-82 this season. PECOTA had them 74-88. Regression from the 83-win season.
They won 101 games and their division. No team in the AL had a better record. The payroll was near the bottom. The most money spent on a free agent was $10 million for Kyle Gibson.
How is the BBWAA award even in doubt?
Another Hyde snub would make you wonder if he’d ever win it. Denied the previous year after the tremendous gains made with a team picked to finish last. Denied again after being only the second manager in franchise history to win 100 or more games. Blowing past Wild Card aspirations and planting the flag atop the division.
Would 102 wins seal the deal? Maybe 103. What else would he need to do?
This story will be updated later with the results.