MLB: Up-and-Coming Managers Who Could Lead Their Clubs to the Playoffs
It seems like every year at least one manager brings his team to the playoffs out of nowhere. Buck Showalter in particular looks to do that this year, though in his case he's been around and knows how to get it done.
For new managers, it's far more surprising if they are able to work with a team so well so quickly. Who saw Kirk Gibson and the Arizona Diamondbacks making a run last year?
It will happen again this year, and it can happen over the next couple years as well. Here are a few relatively new, up-and-coming managers who can get it done.
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In just his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Don Mattingly has led the team to the top of the NL West, and at this point not making the playoffs would be a major disappointment.
He is someone who should have gotten a managing opportunity before he did, and now that he's gotten it he hasn't held back. Despite injuries to Matt Kemp and others, he has kept the Dodgers strong, and they should be a force for many years.
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After Ozzie Guillen left the Chicago White Sox and Robin Ventura was appointed as manager, it felt like the White Sox would be an afterthought this year.
Instead, the White Sox are in first place, and despite the fact that they should have petered out a while ago, they have remained strong behind Ventura's leadership, and unless Baltimore makes the playoffs, he could win manager of the year.
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Fredi Gonzalez has been a manager since 2007, and he is certainly the most senior member of the list. Taking over for Bobby Cox sets the bar extremely high, and on top of that he has a very young team to manage.
The Braves nearly made the playoffs last year and are in the hunt again this year. If it wasn't for a myriad of injuries to the pitching staff, they would likely be right with Washington for the NL's best record thanks in part to Gonzalez.
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Kirk Gibson had a dream run with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, and after making the playoffs once already, it's easy to think he could do so again.
Watching Gibson in managerial interviews gives me the sense that he knows the game well enough to be a great manager, and even though this year has not gone well due to setbacks from many players, the core is strong enough that they could contend again in 2013.
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The last two on the list seem much further away than the other four from a playoff run, but they could certainly still pull it off. The first is Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
Sveum is in his first year as manager, and while the Cubs aren't going much yet, they are clearly on the right track. In two more years, then should have little trouble making the playoffs, as long as everyone remains healthy. Having Theo Epstein higher up certainly helps as well.
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Farrell's induction on the list is obviously the most surprising. The Blue Jays look like they'll be last this year after being decimated by injuries, so how could he lead the team to the playoffs?
Well, if Buck Showalter can lead the Orioles out of the cellar, then Farrell can certainly lead a better team to the playoffs. Factor in that the Blue Jays should not be as decimated by injuries next year and it's not as shocking as it sounds.