Top 5 Candidates for American League Manager of the Year

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Top 5 Candidates for American League Manager of the Year

manager
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Now that the season is officially over and the San Francisco Giants have been crowned the 2012 World Series champions, it is time to look ahead at the MLB awards. After already naming the National League Manager of the Year candidates, it is time to list the finalists for American League Manager of the Year.

Unlike the NL where all five candidates managed in the postseason, the AL list has at least one who did not lead their team to the playoffs. However, that does not mean that particular person does not deserve to be mentioned among the league’s best.

Many Detroit Tigers fans would like to see Jim Leyland win Manager of the Year after the team’s dominating performance in the playoffs in which they clinched their first World Series berth in six years. Unfortunately, the fact that Leyland’s Tigers underperformed for a majority of the season despite having some of the best hitters in the league is a good reason why he will most likely not win the award.

The five AL manager candidates are a diverse group of men just like in the NL. There are World Series victors, previous Manger of the Year winners, men that have seen it all, and first time skippers. The best part about it is every single one of these managers deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as each other despite what their track record as a skipper has been in the past. The following slides are the top five candidates for Manager of the Year in the AL.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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5. Joe Girardi

girardi
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The No. 5 spot was a tough call between Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees and Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers. Basically, it came down to what team finished stronger in the last couple weeks of the season. The Yankees finished 7-3 in their last 10 to clinch the AL East while the Rangers collapsed with a 3-7 record to end the season. This includes the Oakland Athletics sweeping Texas in the last three games to win the AL West.

Girardi made sure his team was on top of their game when it counted most while Washington allowed his squad to get down on themselves and finish the regular season on a low note. The difference was clear as the Rangers got bounced out of the postseason in the single-elimination Wild Card game.

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4. Jim Leyland

leyland
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Many Detroit fans will not be happy to see Leyland at only No. 4 on this list but it is exactly where he belongs. The 19-year manager allowed the Tigers to struggle all season and barely win their division ahead of the Chicago White Sox.

Detroit finished the season with the worst record among the five playoff teams, even though they should have posted at least 90 wins with all of the talent in the organization. On the other hand, the Tigers did dominate in the postseason, which includes a sweep of the Yankees in the ALCS. However, they themselves got swept by the Giants in the World Series.

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3. Robin Ventura

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Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

If the White Sox had edged out the Tigers to win the AL Central division, Robin Ventura would certainly be higher on this list. The first year manager was told by his boss when he was hired that Chicago is in a rebuild mode for the 2012 season. However, someone forgot to tell Ventura that as the White Sox made enough legitimate noise in the division to have the Tigers scared for their playoff lives. Chicago also finished six games higher in the standings this season than they did last year.

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2. Bob Melvin

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Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

The Athletics had an Opening Day payroll of $55,372,500, which ranked last in the AL and 29th in all of baseball. Yet somehow, the Athletics were still able to sweep the Rangers – whose payroll is more than double that of Oakland’s – in the last series of the regular season to clinch the division.

Obviously, Billy Beane deserves a lot of credit for putting together such a great team on a small budget, but Bob Melvin deserves even more recognition for defying all odds and slaying Goliath. Melvin led the Athletics to the best record in baseball over the second half of the season. Not to mention, Oakland also took Detroit to five games in the ALDS.

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1. Buck Showalter

showalter
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 AL Manager of the Year Award goes to Buck Showalter for his unbelievable job managing the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore’s 93-69 record was a complete flip flop from last year’s 69-93 finish and their best record since the 1997 season, which was the last time the Orioles clinched a playoff berth.

No one thought Baltimore could compete with the Yankees in the AL East, but there is no question the Bronx Bombers were shaking in their boots down the stretch. Showalter believed in his men, which gave the players enough confidence to give the team hope in the postseason. The Orioles defeated the lowly Rangers in the single-elimination Wild Card game and even gave New York a run for their money in five ALDS games.

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