Top 5 Candidates for National League Manager of the Year

1 of 6

Top 5 Candidates for National League Manager of the Year

manager
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-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. First up on the list are the candidates for National League Manager of the Year.

This is certainly a tight race, as many believe Giants manager b deserves the recognition after taking San Francisco the distance in a year where no one outside of the Bay area had them winning. However, the other four candidates certainly have something to say about that as they all led their teams to promising seasons.

It is definitely a diverse group of men that ranges from a rookie manager to seasoned veterans, such as Bochy who just completed his 17th season as the skipper. One thing about this award is that just because the manger did not go deep into the playoffs or win the World Series does not mean they do not have a shot at winning.

Typically, the top five candidates for Manager of the Year usually have one or two skippers whose team did not make the postseason. They are usually on the list because their team made great strides from the previous year and therefore, they deserve to be mentioned among the game’s best leaders. However, that is not the case in the NL this year as all five men managed in the 2012 postseason. The following slides are the top five candidates for Manager of the Year in the NL.

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.

2 of 6

5. Fredi Gonzalez

gonzalez
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Fredi Gonzalez has done a phenomenal job as manager of the Atlanta Braves since taking over for the legendary Bobby Cox. In Gonzalez’s second season with Atlanta, he improved the team’s record by five games to finish 94-68.

After missing out on the postseason last year after an epic collapse, the Braves had the look of a team ready to go the distance. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s season ended at the ends of St. Louis for the second consecutive year. Gonzalez still deserves a lot of credit for preparing the team mentally this season to try and top last year. Not to mention, the Braves had one of the top road records in the NL.

3 of 6

4. Mike Matheny

matheny
Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Matheny did a superb job as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in his first season as a skipper. Matheny had the biggest shoes to fill in all of baseball after Tony La Russa retired after he led the Cardinals to a World Series title last year.

St. Louis fought off several teams to clinch the second Wild Card spot. Matheny then led the team past the Braves in the single-elimination playoff game and then upset the top seeded Washington Nationals in the NLDS. Obviously, the Cardinals lost to the Giants in the NLCS but it is obvious the 42-year-old Matheny certainly has a long and promising career in the Major Leagues.

4 of 6

3. Dusty Baker

baker
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

In his 18th season as a Major League manager, Dusty Baker is still looking for his first World Series title as a skipper. If it was not for the success of the top two managers this year, Baker could have easily been crowned Manager of the Year.

The Cincinnati Reds dealt with all sorts of injuries, including one that sidelined their best player in Joey Votto for several weeks. Cincinnati also had problems with their starting pitching, as it was not as sound as fans had hoped before the season started. However, the Reds were still able to dominate in the NL Central as Baker led the team to a 97-65 record, nine games above the Cardinals.

5 of 6

2. Bruce Bochy

bochy
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY

Bochy had the Giants bounce back brilliantly in 2012 after they missed out on the postseason last year. Something certainly must be said about the fact that Bochy has won two World Series in three years, as San Francisco is on the cusp of becoming a dynasty.

What is even more remarkable about the Giants incredible run is that they did not stand out in any statistical category during the regular season. The only category San Francisco did dominate was team batting average (.269) in which they finished third in the NL. Bochy must be proud of what his team was able to accomplish this year but he should be even more proud with what he has personally accomplished.

6 of 6

1. Davey Johnson

johnson
Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Davey Johnson gets the nod for the top manager in the NL for the 2012 season. Johnson led the Nationals to a NL-best 98-64 record, which is 18 more wins than last year’s 80-81 record. What is even more remarkable is how Johnson was able to do this with several distractions in the media due to the front office’s decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals fan base was thrilled to have playoff baseball in Washington for the first time since 1933. After several years of disappointment, it was nice to see the ball park alive and kicking. The Nationals season may have ended on a low note after they were defeated by the Cardinals, but the good news is the sky is the limit with Johnson as the manager.

Around the Web