Yankees: The AL and NL managers of the year will be…

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

As the Yankees approach the halfway point of the 2019 MLB season, we can begin to think about who will be the managers of the year in the AL and NL. In my view, there is a clear choice in the AL, but the NL might be more competitive.

Could Yankees manager Aaron Boone take home the AL Manager of the Year award at the end of the season? With just six games to go until the All-Star break, he has to be the leader of the pack.

Last year the Oakland Athletics Bob Melvin and the Atlanta Braves Brian Snitker received the Manager of the Year Award in their respective leagues. In the AL, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was second and the Tampa Bay Rays Kevin Cash was third. And in the NL, the Milwaukee Brewers Craig Counsell came in second and the Colorado Rockies Bud Black finished third.

This was the first time that Snitker received the Manager of the Year Award. Melvin, however, received the award for an impressive third time. So, who determines the manager of the year in the AL and NL, and how are the award recipients chosen?

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BWAA) votes on who receives the awards in both leagues. In determining who receives these awards, writers compare the regular-season level of performance with the preseason expectation as a formula. The actual vote takes place after the conclusion of the regular season but before the post-season. Thus, the postseason performance of teams (and their managers) is not considered in the decision-making process.

On the surface, strict adherence to the formula used by most of the baseball writers might make it tough for Boone to receive the Manager of the Year Award in the American League in 2019. The Yanks won 100 games last year. At this point in time, they are projected to win about 106 games this year, a difference of merely plus six games in the win column between 2018 and 2019.

However, in my opinion, the baseball writers cannot ignore the unusual and critical extenuating circumstances that, when taken into account, easily makes Boone the top choice.

It is truly unbelievable how well the Bombers have played this year. Nearly all respectable analysts now expect the team to go deep into the postseason. Clearly, the club has experienced an exceptional number of injuries, not only compared to all the other MLB clubs in 2019 but also compared to previous teams in previous years in MLB.

Up to 20 players have been on the IL thus far. Even more striking is how many of the injuries have involved the club’s marquee players, such as Miguel Andujar, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton (who is now IL a second time and will not return until  August). Also, a large percentage of the injured players have been on the IL for large chunks of time.

Given this unprecedented and monumental disadvantage, I would argue that the Yanks’ record should be closer to an even .500 and not 54 and 28. Somehow, Boone has won 20 or more games than he should have by doing more with less.

The Yanks have played remarkably well in 2019 thus far thanks to the outstanding leadership of second-year manager Boone. The injuries have forced him to make strategic decisions on who to send out onto the field nearly every game of the season. Absolutely no margin of error here.

Most impressive, he has shrewdly used the injuries to motivate the Yanks and give the team a strong sense of “us against the world” and “the need to keep fighting and never give up.” Despite the injuries, he has been able to maintain good chemistry in the clubhouse and not allow the players to get down on themselves.

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In addition, he has been able to inspire Yankees players such as Gio Urshela, Domingo German, Cameron Maybin, and Clint Frazier to contribute way beyond what was expected of them at the beginning of the season. To me, this is what a great manager must do in order to be successful.

Admittedly, the Yankees skipper will have some competition from two other AL managers at this point, the Minnesota Twins Rocco Baldelli and the Texas Rangers Chirs Woodward given the excellent job both have done with their teams thus far in the season. Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox may nab a few votes, too.

However, no other manager has had so many terrible cards dealt their way as Boone has. As far as I am concerned, his ability to overcome the extraordinary number and severity of injuries to his key players makes him the top choice hands down for the Manager of the Year in the AL.

Thus far in the season, I expect that Roberts of the Dodgers will finally get the recognition he deserves and will receive the Manager of the Year Award in the NL this year by the BWAA. The Dodgers are the best all-around team in MLB right now at 56-29, and the team has played consistently at a very high level. Last year the club won 92 games, and this year they are on track to win about 109 games, a significant improvement over last year’s total.

Obviously, lots can change between now and the conclusion of 2019. Yet, if things remain pretty much the same, I believe that Boone and Roberts will be managers of the year in their respective leagues after the season is over.

While I think that the formula that the BWAA has employed in the past – the number of wins versus the number of losses this season versus last season – is acceptable, this year the writers MUST heavily weigh the mitigating circumstances surrounding the Yankees. Boone has truly overcome considerable adversity throughout the year and deserves to receive the Manager of the Year Award at the end of the season.