Top 5 Candidates for 2014 AL Manager of the Year Award

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Top 5 Candidates For 2014 AL Manager Of The Year

AL Managers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The award for Manager of the Year has been hotly contested for the past few years. Managers are judged with the harshest criteria and in most situations, they don't get the credit for their teams' success.

It's generally a manager that doesn't have a lot of well-known talent that gets the most recognition for his team's success, but the good teams have good managers too. The managers on this list vary in experience. Some have a lot of experience, and others have World Series rings. Some of them do not have the same experiences, one of them is entering his first year as a MLB manager.

This list is highlights the five best managers in the American League who should be the early favorites to win this year's AL Manager of the Year award. They all captain pretty decent rosters, and three of them could be considered division favorites. That shouldn't take them out of consideration though. A good manager can make a team great, and a great team immortal. Teams take on the personality of their managers. The Bobby Valentine experiment with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 is a prime example. They had a very talented roster with most of the members having won a World Series. Yet, that team failed mightily. It's not all Valentine's fault as he just wasn't the right guy for that team, and it showed every time they took the field.

The manager is very vital to a team's success, despite what people outside the baseball world think. The skipper plays just as much a role as the head coach in football. With Jim Leyland having stepped down from his post following 2013, here are the top five early candidates for AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014.

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5. Brad Ausmus

Brad Ausmus
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Newly-hired Brad Ausmus takes over the Detroit Tigers after Leyland's departure. He hasn't managed before, but Detroit has high hopes for the former catcher.

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4. Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Girardi has the most improved team on this list. The New York Yankees weren't shy about spending this offseason, and Girardi will have a lot to work with once the season starts.

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3. John Farrell

John Farrell
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

John Farrell is entering his second year in Boston. He won the World Series last year, so anything short of that is a letdown. Sometimes, expectations aren't fair.

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2. Terry Francona

Terry Francona
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians won the Manager of the Year last year. They won't be as much of a surprise this year, so he'll have a tougher time winning the award again.

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1. Robin Ventura

Robin Ventura
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Ventura finished third in voting in 2012 and looks ready to win it this year. The Chicago White Sox are the only team in that division that could really surprise people this year as every other team raised expectations last year.