Many fans overlook the value of a good manager.
You can look to teams like the Mets and the Marlins that have had turmoil with their managers and see why it is important to have someone who can take control of the clubhouse. There have been a few managers that have stood out this year.
The candidates include Padres manager Bud Black, Reds manager Dusty Baker, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Braves manager Bobby Cox who will likely get some votes based on his lifetime achievements.
With baseball awards soon to be released, let's take a look at the candidates based on 10 key components.
1) Bud Black: 90 wins in 2010 vs. 75 wins in 2009—15-win improvement
2) Dusty Baker: 91 wins in 2010 vs. 77 wins in 2009—14-win improvement
3) Bruce Bochy: 92 wins in 2010 vs. 87 wins in 2009—five-win improvement
4) Bobby Cox: 91 wins in 2010 vs. 86 wins in 2009—five-win improvement
Both Black and Baker did a great job improving their teams from last year. Bochy obviously deserves some extra credit for leading the Giants to a World Series victory.
1) Bud Black: 90 wins in 2010 vs. 74 expected wins, +16 wins
2) Bruce Bochy: 92 wins in 2010 vs. 81 expected wins, +11 wins
3) Dusty Baker: 91 wins in 2010 vs. 82 expected wins, +9 wins
4) Bobby Cox: 91 wins in 2010 vs. 85 expected wins, +6 wins
All of these expected win totals were taken from PECTOA preseason projections. It is clear that every one of these managers had their teams exceed their expectations. Black did a great job leading the surprising Padres to 16 more wins than they were projected to have.
Not much was expected from the Padres offensively, who were led by Adrian Gonzalez. Their next best players were Miguel Tejada and Chase Headley, who underperformed this year. The Padres had a young and inexperienced pitching staff, but did have veteran leadership from John Garland. Mat Latos and Clayton Richard both put up very good years.
A few of the Giants better players arrived after the start of the season. Buster Posey was stuck in the minors behind Bengie Molina. Cody Ross and Jose Guillen were also late-season additions . There was obviously a lot of talent on the Giants pitching staff with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez. The addition of Madison Bumgarner was an added bonus to this staff.
The Reds had a lot of great talents. They were led by MVP candidate Joey Votto. Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen all were expected to play a big part in the offense. The Reds had a strong pitching staff, and welcomed the surprise of Mike Leake starting the year in the majors. The Reds missed Edison Volquez for a good portion of the season.
In addition to Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus and Brian McCann, the Braves had super-prospect Jason Heyward on their roster this season. The pitching staff was led by Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe. Jair Jurrjens injuries hurt the rotation during the year.
All of the managers had a lot of talent to work with on their rosters. They did a good job of getting the most they could out of the players they had.
A special thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the team's payroll information.
Bud Black was given the least to work with out of any manager on this list. The Padres had a $37,799,300 payroll this year. The fact that he was able to manage the Padres to 90 wins with such a small payroll is remarkable.
Dusty Baker was given a team with a $76,151,500 payroll. While this is not small by any means, it is much less than some of the big spenders in the National League. Baker did a great job of managing the Reds to a playoff appearance this year.
The Braves' payroll has dropped significantly over the past few years, but it was still $83,890,334 this year. Bobby Cox did a good job of having the Braves compete for the NL East title while seeing the team spend less on players this season.
Bruce Bochy and the San Francisco Giants had the biggest payroll to work with out of any of the teams and managers on this list. The Giants spent $96,277,833 in part due to Barry Zito's massive contract. The Giants were fighting for a playoff spot for most of the season and ended up getting one. They won the World Series this year, so it can definitely be said that every dollar was well spent.
The Braves had numerous veterans in the locker room. Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus are guys that young players could look up to. Having Tim Hudson on the pitching staff is certainly helpful as well. Cox had many veterans who could help him out.
The Padres were led by the veteran leadership of Miguel Tejada, David Eckstein and Matt Stairs. They could provide insight to other players in the locker room. The Padres did not have a pitcher that others could look to for help.
Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo provided a veteran presence in the Reds locker room. Arthur Rhodes has been around the big leagues since 1991 and certainly was able to provide advice when it was needed.
The Giants were lucky to have Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Freddy Sanchez and Aaron Rowand as leaders in their locker room. This was able to take a lot of pressure off of manager Bruce Bochy.
The Giants had to deal with injuries suffered by Mark DeRosa and Edgar Renteria. Renteria was sent to the 15-day DL twice, while DeRosa spent time on the 60-day DL.
The Braves lost time from Jair Jurrjens, Yunel Escobar, Jason Heyward, Kris Medlen, Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus and Martin Prado as a result of injuries this year. Losing Jones for the season was a big hit for the Braves as he was not only a good player, but also a leader on the field.
The Padres lost both Kyle Blanks and Chris Young for most of the year. They also had Scott Hairston, Will Venable, Matt Stairs, Mat Latos and David Eckstein spend time on the disabled list this year.
Edison Volquez spent the first part of the year on the DL for the Reds. They also lost time from Chris Dickerson, Homer Bailey, Aaron Harang, Ramon Hernandez, Orlando Cabrera and Mike Leake as a result of injuries.
Dusty Baker and Bud Black both did great jobs of motivating their teams to success this season. Both of their teams entered the season with low expectations. They made sure that their teams were able to exceed those expectations.
Bruce Bochy motivated his team when it appeared that they might not make the playoffs. He got the Giants to overcome the Padres in the last month of the season and make the playoffs.
Bobby Cox has always been known for his fiery attitude. There is no doubt that he was able to motivate his players to success this season.
Dusty Baker did a great job with lineup management this season. He had to deal with Drew Stubbs' struggles and he was able to work the team through it.
Bruce Bochy had to work late season additions such as Cody Ross and Jose Guillen into the Giants' lineup. He did a great job with this. Bochy also did a great job of giving Buster Posey playing time once he was called up.
Bobby Cox had to find a way to replace Chipper Jones after he got hurt. He was able to use Brooks Conrad who had moderate success.
Bud Black did not have many issues to deal with. The Padres' lineup was fairly consistent. Seven players played over 100 games for the Padres this year with Chris Denorfia playing 99 games and Yorvit Torrealba playing 95.
Each manager did a very good job of managing their pitching staffs. This is part of what allowed them to have so much success during the season.
The Padres' pitching staff had the second best ERA in the NL (3.41). They also had five different members of their bullpen have sub-2.00 ERAs.
The Braves followed the Padres with the third best ERA in the NL (3.57). None of their relievers that pitched in more than 56 games (there were five of them) had an ERA above 3.00.
The Giants had the best ERA in the NL (3.36). However, the Giants had some pitchers, such as Todd Wellemeyer, Barry Zito and Guillermo Mota, who struggled this season.
With a 4.02 ERA, the Reds' pitching staff posted the eighth-best number in the NL. There were members of both the rotation and the bullpen that struggled. However, manager Dusty Baker did a great job of handling Aroldis Chapman.
Each of the NL Manager of the Year candidates have had to demonstrate their resiliency. There have been times in the year when each of their teams appeared to be down and out.
Some managers did a better job getting their teams to the playoffs than others. Bruce Bochy, Bobby Cox and Dusty Baker all led their teams to the playoffs. Bud Black was able to keep the Padres in a playoff race that no one expected them to be in.
Black is very deserving of this award. He led the Padres, a team that no one expected to have a shot at the playoffs, to miss out on the playoffs only on the final day of the regular season.
He kept the Padres in contention from day one until the last day of the season. He did so with a very young and inexperienced pitching staff as well.
Bobby Cox will garner some votes this year for his lifetime achievement and Bruce Bochy will get some votes for the amount of success that the Giants had this year.
However, neither of them did enough this year to win the award over Black.