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When the season began, nobody gave Cleveland a shot to come close to a .500 record. As we look at the standings today, the Indians are at 76-77 and in second place in the AL Central.
What Manny Acta has done this season with the talent on that roster is nothing short of spectacular. Although they currently sit one game below .500 and are out of the playoff picture, Cleveland fans can rest easy knowing that they have a solid core of young everyday players.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Matt LaPorta are all on their way to becoming perennial All-Stars, and Acta has shown this season that he will be the manager to bring them to the top. Also, Acta found what turned out to be one of the better pitching duos in the MLB, Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin.
When the season began, the word on Masterson was that he would never be a top of the rotation starter, and nobody had any idea who Josh Tomlin was. Masterson proved that he deserved the chance Acta gave him, boasting a 3.15 ERA with 12 wins and 154 strikeouts. Tomlin showed that he deserved some praise as well, owning a 1.08 WHIP and an ERA of 4.25, the latter of which is not indicative of how great he was all season.
After adding Ubaldo Jimenez, the Indians could have had a more than serviceable rotation in the playoffs. Acta brought the Indians from rags to riches in grander fashion than anybody in the American League this season, which is why he deserves the American League Manager of the Year Award.