Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister is the reigning American League manager of the year. Banisters 2015 season was his first and he should repeat, but sadly he probably won’t.
Jeff Banister has been one of the best managers in the MLB over the past two years, his first 2 years as a manager. His first year he inherited a Texas Rangers team that was dead last in the A.L. in 2014 and had them finish 3rd in 2015. Now in 2016 he has his team currently in 1st place atop the A.L. and most likely finishing the season that way with just 3 games left.
Most experts around the MLB who are attempting to forecast who will win what in the way of MLB awards will tell you that Jeff Banister won’t win it again. They will probably suggest that through the 33 years of this award only one manager has won it back to back, Bobby Cox (04-05). They also will probably tell you that Terry Francona will most likely win it, and to that I say it would be (insert dirty word here).
Let’s look at the Cleveland Indians, they have won their division and are currently in the 3 seed spot. But they are currently dealing with starting pitching injuries heading into the playoffs with their 2,3 pitchers out and possibly their number 1 pitcher too. Not unlike when the Rangers had Darvish, Lewis, and Holland on the DL for a chunk of the season.
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Francona has been with Cleveland for a few years and got experience as the Boston Redsox manager before that. The Indians are good but they haven’t struggled very mightily with a run differential of +92. Also their home record is 53-28 while their road record is 38-39, showing that they have difficulties in environments that they aren’t comfortable in.
Texas Rangers Jeff Banister has had led the Rangers to 50 come from behind wins so far this year. He has made in-game moves that allow the right guy from the bench to make big impacts. Banister has converted a SS to a CF in Ian Desmond who has played in the most games for the Texas Rangers. He has had 2 old rookies in the bullpen be key parts of the bullpen currently tying an MLB record with 41 wins this year.
Implementing a belief of “Never Ever Quit” has provided an atmosphere in which every player in the clubhouse believes they are in every game until the 27th out. Banister helped make the decision to bring character Carlos Gomez onto the team, not just as taking a flyer on him, but immediately making him an everyday player.
It shouldn’t matter who won the award the year before, by my measurements, Jeff Banister has navigated through almost every type of situation that would usually break a team. Instead of his team giving up and calling it a day, they have strived on adversity and keep fighting all the way until time is up.
He has led the Texas Rangers through a magical season that still has a chapter left to go. The somewhat cheesy mantra of “Never Ever Quit” is alive and well and is something that his players not only believe but live by. Do you believe he should win A.L. Manager of the Year?