Major League Baseball handed out two more awards on Tuesday. This time the awards were not for players but managers.
Terry Francona once again proved during 2016 that he could get the best out of his players during tough situations. He guided the Cleveland Indians to the American League Central title and the AL Pennant.
At the same time, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts showed that a rookie manager could overcome injuries to a record number of players and win the National League West.
Because of what they accomplished, Francona and Roberts were named as AL and NL Manager of the Year respectively by the Baseball Writers Association.
Francona was given 22 of the 30 first place votes. Finishing second behind Francona was Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, while Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter finished third.
Roberts earned 16 of the 30 first place votes, with Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon finishing second and Washington Nationals skipper Dusty Baker coming in third.
The vote does not include play during the postseason, so the play of the Indians during the World Series and Francona’s management of the bullpen during the playoffs did not even factor in.
Instead, the Cleveland skipper won due to successfully navigating the team through a season where he lost Michael Brantley his best player on offense, then two starting pitchers, all to injury.
However, the Indians and Francona were not hurt by the injuries as he kept a steady hand on the team and guided them to 94 wins during the regular season, which were the second most in the AL.
For the NL, Roberts did not break a curse of 108 years or win over 100 regular season games, but he overcame injuries that set new records as the Dodgers roster was decimated.
The Dodgers won their fourth consecutive NL West title. This was the toughest as ace Clayton Kershaw missed most of the summer with a back injury and a record number of 28 players were placed on the disabled list during the regular season.
For most managers, patching together a lineup that would having just a winning record would be tough with so many injuries but Roberts guided his players during the summer overcoming a deficit of 9 games with most of that coming while Kershaw was on the DL.
Roberts changed pitchers more than any other manager in baseball this past season, which proved the moves he made, worked.