Diamondbacks skipper Torey Lovullo won the National League Manager of the Year Award. In his first year as a manager, he helped lead the Diamondbacks to a 93-69 record, good enough to earn home field advantage in the Wild Card game, where they defeated the Rockies to advance into the NLDS. They were then swept by the Dodgers.
The D-Backs finished 69-93 in 2016, which prompted the firing of then-manager Chip Hale and a complete overhaul of the front office. Lovullo was part of a new direction in which the organization wanted to go.
Lovullo, 52, is the third Diamondbacks manager to win the award. Kirk Gibson won it in 2011 and Bob Melvin won it in 2007. Lovullo received 18 first-place votes, five second-place votes, and six third-place votes. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who finished in second place, received five first-place votes, eight second-place votes, and six third-place votes. Third-place finisher Bud Black of the Rockies had three first-place votes, six second-place votes, and 10 third-place votes. Also receiving votes were Craig Counsell of the Brewers, Dusty Baker of the Nationals, and Joe Maddon of the Cubs.
In the American League, Twins skipper Paul Molitor won the honor. After losing 103 games in 2016, Molitor helped orchestrate a quick turnaround as the Twins went 85-77 in 2017, good for the second AL Wild Card. They ended up losing to the Yankees in a brief playoff appearance. It was the first time a team had lost 100 games and then reached the playoffs in the very next season.
Molitor, 61, just finished his third year at the helm of the Twins. He had a Hall of Fame career as a player, spending 21 seasons in the big leagues including his last three with the Twins. He’s the first Twins manager to win the award since Ron Gardenhire in 2010 and the third in franchise history (Tom Kelly, 1991). Molitor and Frank Robinson are the only Hall of Fame players to win Manager of the Year Awards.
Molitor received 18 first-place votes, six second-place votes, and four third-place votes. Indians manager Terry Francona, who finished in second place, had 11 first-place votes, nine second-place votes, and eight third-place votes. Third-place finisher A.J. Hinch of the Astros had one first-place vote, 13 second-place votes, and 12 third-place votes. Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi also received votes.
It’s worth noting that the Baseball Writers Association of America completes its balloting before the start of the postseason, so Hinch winning the World Series had no impact on the results.