Scioscia, Tracy named Managers of the Year

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Today the Baseball Writers Association of America handed out their Manager of the Year awards to Mike Scioscia in the AL and Jim Tracy in the NL.
Tracy received 29 of 32 first-place votes after taking over a last-place Rockies team from Clint Hurdle in mid-May and managing them to the Wild Card spot with a 74-42 record.
Scioscia was first on 15 ballots, second on 10 ballots, and received one third-place vote after leading the Angels to 90-plus wins and the AL West title for the fifth time in the last six seasons despite Nick Adenhart’s tragic death in April.
Scioscia previously won the award in the Angels’ championship 2002 season, while Tracy finished second in 2001, fourth in 2002, and third in 2004 as Dodgers manager. Also of note is that Ron Gardenhire finished second for the fifth time in eight years as Twins manager. Apparently the voters look at Minnesota’s success in the AL Central and assume that he must have done a good job, but then look at the mediocre win totals in what has typically been a bad division and conclude that it probably wasn’t the best job. I’d agree.
Of all the mainstream awards, Manager of the Year is the one I have the most trouble caring about. The BBWAA tends to vote for managers of teams that exceed preseason expectations or managers of teams that narrowly make the playoffs, while often overlooking managers of teams that are simply really, really good. Perhaps not surprisingly of the dozen MoY winners during the previous six seasons, five (Eric Wedge, Tony Pena, Joe Girardi, Bob Melvin, Buck Showalter) were fired within two years of getting the award.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.