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Grading All 30 MLB Managers: 2016 American League Edition

It has become an annual tradition around these parts for me to offer up my thoughts on each and every manager in the MLB. First, this started as a ranking and became one of our most popular posts. Since then, the manager reporting has morphed into a grading system on an A-F scale, with A reserved for only the cream of the managerial crop and F standing in for ‘Should be Fired.’

As usual with my mid-winter grades, I won’t offer any score for first time managers, but if a guy has managed elsewhere in the majors he’s fair game, even if this will be his first season with his current team.

[colored_box color=”blue”]AL East[/colored_box]

John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays: Gibbons guided his team to the AL East crown in 2015 with a lot of help from an influx of talent at the end of July. He’s had a long and mediocre managerial career it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks around long now that the Jays have new front office leadership. Overall he did a good job in 2015, but I sort of think anyone could have. Grade: B

Joe Girardi, New York Yankees: Every year the Yankees have an old and flawed roster and every year they’re in the thick of things in the AL East. Even when they aren’t great, they are reliably relevant, which is more than I can say for their main rival in Boston. I’m starting to come around on Girardi and advanced stats like him too. Grade: B+

Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles: Even when the O’s had a down year they still finished at .500. Buck is one of the most respected managers in the game and for good reason, but 2016 will be a real test as all the other teams in the East are retooling and expect to contend. On paper, Baltimore should be pretty near the bottom of the pile but we’ll see what magic Buck can conjure up. Grade: A-

Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays: Cash had a tall task replacing baseball’s best manager Joe Maddon in Tampa and he did just about as well as expected, which wasn’t great. Still an 80-82 mark is respectable in the AL East and Cash has earned himself the benefit of the doubt going into the spring. Grade: B-

John Farrell, Boston Red Sox: So there’s a chance Farrell is really bad, right? He was rumored to be on the hot seat this winter but a health incident put that to bed for now. Tony Lovullo opted to stay in Boston as bench coach rather than pursue a number of other managerial openings and I think that does not bode well for Farrell if the Sox stumble early. Grade: B-

[colored_box color=”blue”]AL Central[/colored_box]

Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals: Well you can’t argue with success, right? Yost is the back to back AL Champion and reigning World Series winner. No matter what you might think about his managerial acumen you can’t argue with those results. Still, I think it takes a very specific team with very specific skills to make Yost a success, he’s not on par with some of the game’s current greats. Grade: B

Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins: It was a good first year in the Twin cities for Molitor, he guided his team to a second place finish and an above .500 record. With some really exciting young talent coming up to the majors finally, things will be fun in Minnesota in 2016. This will be a big test for Paul, though, as his pitching staff doesn’t match up well with his division rivals. We’ll know a lot more about this manager after his second year. Grade: B

Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians: Well, Francona didn’t bring the immediate revival Indians fans were hoping for upon his arrival, but he’s guiding Cleveland with a steady and competent hand. That said, the Indians didn’t meet expectations last season going 81-80 (yes, they only played 161 games) after being a trendy division pick last April. Grade: B+

Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox: Ventura doesn’t have a ton of talent to work with on the South Side but after faint glimmers of hope he’s settled in as a pretty run of the mill manager. He’s now finished his 4th season and it seems clear that he can guide a good team reasonably well, but won’t do much to help a bad one. He’s solid evidence for the ‘managers are useless’ crowd. Grade: C

Brad Ausmus, Detroit Tigers: After a couple good seasons to start off his managerial career, last year was a catastrophe for the entire organization. With new upper management in place, we’ll see how much of Detroit’s bullpen woes were due to bad personnel  and how much were on the manger. Grade: C+

[colored_box color=”blue”]AL West[/colored_box]

Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers: Bannister won the AL Manager of the Year award in his first season at the helm of a big league club and that’s impressive. Texas surprised many people by winning the AL West, though it was due in large part to a strong finish. With just about every team in the division expecting to compete next year, we’ll see how Bannister’s team fares in his second go around. Grade: B+

AJ Hinch, Houston Astros: I was skeptical of this hiring last winter as Hinch’s tenure as manager of the Diamondbacks was much less than impressive but after guiding the Astros to the playoffs this year, he was my manager of the year pick. Houston wasn’t expected to compete for at least one more season, but led the Al West for most of the year. The late fade and early playoff exit were disappointing but it was a strong showing in the first year of the Hinch Era. Grade: B+

Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: I think its time for a change in LA. Scioscia has been there forever and with a new GM in place, I wouldn’t be surprised if another middling result brings a new manger in. There’s no doubt Scioscia is talented but he’s sort of worn out his welcome and the Angels should do whatever it takes to avoid risking wasting Mike Trout’s prime. Grade: B

Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners: Scott has never managed before at any level. Previously, he was the assistant GM in Anaheim under now current Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto. This has a chance to go really poorly. Grade: Incomplete

Bob Melvin, Oakland A’s: Talk about a guy who has to go. Melvin has presided over an epic late season collapse and now an awful all around team over the last 2 years. Time for some young blood in Oakland. Grade: D+

-Max Frankel

Copyright © 2017 | Off The Bench Baseball

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