By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been named the American League Manager of the Year. Baldelli won the award in his rookie campaign as manager.
Baldelli won the award with 106 points. New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was second with 96 points and Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash was third with 33 points.
Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona also received consideration. No manager was on every ballot.
“We have a group of young players here in Minnesota, a nucleus of young guys that were really coming into their own in a lot of ways,” Baldelli said. “I think some of those guys were ready to take the next step in their career offensively, and a couple of those guys were doing that at the same time. We also complemented them with some quality, veteran players.”
Baldelli changed the culture with the Twins. He got the players to believe in a station-to-station approach that helped the Twins get to the playoffs.
“There’s really no playbook,” Baldelli said. “You certainly take advantage of the resources around you, the people who you trust, you rely on them in a lot of ways. I did that in a lot of different ways.”
The Twins went 101-61 in their first season under Baldelli. It was their most wins in a season since the 1965 season when the team won 102 games.
Minnesota was swept out of the AL Division Series, 3-0, by the New York Yankees in October.
“The experience part of this job does matter, and as someone who never had that experience, I was figuring things out on the go all the time,” Baldelli said. “I found that extraordinarily challenging, but also very rewarding. Every day when I left, I took something home with me, and I’ll keep those things forever. I wouldn’t trade anything that just happened for anything in the world.”
The Baseball Writers Association of America gave the award to a rookie manager for just the second-time in American League history. This is just the eighth time overall that a manager won it in his first full season as manager.
Former Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister was the last to accomplish this feat in 2015. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was the last to do it in the National League in 2017.
Baldelli is the fourth manager to win the award in team history. Former manager Paul Molitor was the last to accomplish this feat before Baldelli in 2017.
Ron Gardenhire also won it in 2010. Tom Kelly was the first to do it in 1991.