As we look ahead to 2024 and await some of the offseason’s biggest free agent signings (where will you go, Shohei Ohtani?), we celebrate the best players in the game during the 2023 regular season.
The week started off with Baltimore’s Gunnar Hendersonunanimously winning American League Rookie of the Year honors and Corbin Carroll also winning unanimously in the National League. Next up, Henderson’s skipper, Brandon Hyde, took home AL Manager of the Year, with Skip Schumaker taking home the NL silverware.
Monday: Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year: Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson
Tuesday: Managers of the Year: Brandon Hyde, Skip Schumaker
Wednesday: Cy Young Awards
Thursday: MVP Awards
Below, we list the three finalists in each category, along with what you need to know before the results are announced and our picks to take home the hardware. We’ll update each section with news and analysis as the awards are handed out.
Jump to … : Rookie of the Year: AL | NL Manager of the Year: AL | NL Cy Young: AL | NL MVP: AL | NL
Final tally: Hyde 144 (27 first-place votes); Bruce Bochy 61 (3); Kevin Cash 52; Rocco Baldelli 8; Dusty Baker 4; John Schneider 1
Experts’ picks: Hyde (9 votes), Bochy (4)
Doolittle’s take: Anyone paying attention knew the Orioles were a franchise poised to bust out — but few thought they’d do so in a 100-plus win fashion, let alone this year, just two seasons removed from a 110-loss season. With the laid back Hyde setting the tone, the Baby Birds won more game than any Baltimore team since the days of Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray. The O’s added 18 wins to their 2022 win total (83) — which was in itself a major surprise.
While the manager awards are the hardest to contextualize with metrics at the individual level, Hyde stood out in all the areas that tend to attract observers to managerial excellence. Baltimore outperformed its run profile by 7.2 wins, second-largest positive gap in the majors. The Orioles beat their preseason over-under consensus by 23.5 wins, making them easily the most surprising team in baseball. And they went 30-16 in one-run games.
Beyond that, the Orioles were just fun, as Hyde and his staff continue to transition some of the game’s most promising young players into the big-league level. Who will forget the “Homer Hose” which was totally not at all exactly like a fraternity party beer bong?
Some managers are hired ostensibly to be a rebuild skipper, to hold down the fort as the losses pile up and the team builds its roster to contention worthiness. Often, those beleaguered managers are fired in favor of a big-name skipper as soon as the team starts contending. Anything can happen, of course, but it sure looks like Hyde and the Orioles are a fit poised for a long run together.
Hyde becomes the fourth Oriole to win AL Manager of the Year honors, joining Frank Robinson (1989), Davey Johnson (1997) and Buck Showalter (2014). Bochy finished a distant second, so he’ll have to be content with his fourth World Series trophy. Chances are he’s happy to do just that.
Here’s how my EARL leaderboard had it: 1. Brandon Hyde, BAL (17.3) 2. A.J. Hinch, DET (8.9) 3. Kevin Cash, TBY (4.8) 4. Bruce Bochy, TEX (0.4) 5. Scott Servais, SEA (minus-0.3)
Note: EARL is a metric that looks at how a team’s winning percentage varies from expectations generated by projections, run differential and one-run record. While attributing these measures to managerial performance is presumptive, the metric does tend to track well with the annual balloting.
Final tally: Schumaker 72 (8 first-place votes); Craig Counsell 51 (5); Brian Snitker 48 (8); Torey Lovello 42 (4); Dave Roberts 41 (4); David Bell 13 (1); David Ross 3
Experts’ picks: Counsell (7 votes), Schumaker (6)
Doolittle’s take: First off, I have to point out that the voters overlooked a prime candidate in David Bell, who led a rookie-laden Reds team to a 20-win improvement. Whether he did a superior job to Schumacher, Counsell or Snitker is an open debate — but the latter two piloted teams that most observers felt would contend, and Snitker led a loaded Braves team that you could all but pencil into the playoffs. None of this is to knock the finalists, but more to give some props to the overlooked Bell.
The Marlins hired Schumker, a former Cardinals coach, last winter to succeed Don Mattingly. The first-year skipper was up for the challenge, leading Miami to a 15-win improvement, a winning record and a surprise wild-card slot. And so he out-paced Counsell in the voting and prevents the Cubs’ new manager from being honored for his work in leading his old team past his new team in the NL Central race. (Baseball gets confusing at times.)
The Marlins outperformed their run profile by an MLB-high 9.1 wins this season on the strength of a surreal 33-14 record in one-run games. Leading a team that lacked offensive firepower — Miami ranked 14th in park-adjusted run scoring — Schumaker guided his club through a surfeit of tight, low-scoring games, belying his lack of experience as the top guy in the dugout. It’s hard to argue against his place atop the balloting.
At 43, the future looks bright for Schumaker at a time when his team is again feeling around for the elusive stability that has always eluded the Marlins franchise. He’s the fourth Marlins pilot to win Manager of the Year Honors. The previous three — Jack McKeon (2003), Joe Girardi (2006) and Mattingly (2020) — led the Marlins for a combined total of four seasons after being honored.
Counsell, perhaps the game’s best manager, has still never won the award — he’s now finished second in the balloting four times. Snitker fell short in his bid to win his second; he, too, has finished fourth or better in the voting in each of the last six years.
Here’s how my EARL leaderboard had it:
1. David Bell, CIN (8.5) 2. Brian Snitker, ATL (6.6) 3. Skip Schumacher, MIA (6.2) 4. Dave Martinez, WAS (5.7) 5. Torey Lovullo, ARI (5.5)