NEW YORK – Oakland’s Bob Melvin was voted Manager of the Year for the third time, winning the American League honor Tuesday after leading the Athletics to the playoffs despite the lowest opening-day payroll in the major leagues.
Atlanta’s Brian Snitker won the National League award following the Braves’ surprising first-place finish.
Melvin received 18 first-place votes, 19 seconds and one third for 121 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He is the eighth manager to win three or more times and is one shy of the record shared by Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. Melvin won with Oakland in 2012 and took the NL honor with Arizona in 2007.
His A’s went 97-65 – a 22-win improvement over 2017 – even with a $68.6 million payroll when the season began. They overcame a 34-36 start to go a big league-best from June 16 on, even though Jharel Cotton, A.J. Puk, Sean Manaea, Brett Anderson and several other starting pitchers got hurt. They lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game.
Boston’s Alex Cora was second with seven firsts and 79 points after leading the Red Sox to a team-record 108 wins. Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash, whose innovation of using a reliever as an “opener” was copied by other teams – including Oakland – later in the season, was next with five firsts and 57 points.
Snitker received 17 firsts, nine seconds and one third for 116 points, the only manager picked on every NL ballot. Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell was second with 11 firsts and for 99 points. Colorado’s Bud Black was third with 41 points.
A 63-year-old baseball lifer who played in Atlanta’s minor league system from 1977-80, Snitker has spent 42 seasons with the Braves, managing at every level and serving as the big league third base coach from 2007-13. He was managing at Triple-A Gwinnett when took over Atlanta in May 2016 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired for a 9-28 start. The Braves went 59-65 during the rest of the season, and Snitker was given the job full-time.
Atlanta went 72-90, and then improved to 90-72 this year, when the Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a four-game Division Series.
Cy Young Award votes will be announced Wednesday. The New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola are finalists in the NL, and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell, Houston’s Justin Verlander and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber top the AL contenders.