Many congratulations to Torey Lovullo, whose rookie campaign could not have gone much better. This was a team that almost nobody expected to compete, with a payroll deep in the bowels of the major-league rankings. Yet under Lovullo and his coaches, the D-backs ended up with the fourth-best record in the National League, reaching the Division Series before falling to the eventual NL pennant winning Dodgers. The Diamondbacks improved by 24 games over their record last season, and posted the most wins for the franchise since 2011. They outscored their opponents by 153 runs, the largest positive differential for Arizona in fifteen seasons.
His win follows in the footsteps of Kirk Gibson, who was voted Manager of the Year for the 2011 campaign, and Bob Melvin, winner in 2007. The former is perhaps a cautionary tale, for like Lovullo, Kirk was in his first full season at the helm. But Gibson was unable to build upon the success of that rookie campaign, and the team parted company towards the end of Gibson’s fourth season, without him taking the Diamondbacks to another winning record. Hopefully, a better fate awaits Lovullo. Maybe to avoid tempting fate, the team should skip a 2018 bobblehead for him. Because as I type, I’m looking right at the “2011 NL Manager of the Year” Kirk Gibson bobbler...
Rounding out the top three were the Rockies’ Bud Black and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts [I almost wrote “Dave Stewart” there - we should be so lucky...]. But neither man can feel hard done by, both having had more resources - an enormous amount more in Roberts’ case - and not outperformed expectations by as much as the 2017 D-backs.
Here are full details of the BBWAA voting, as announced this afternoon on the MLB Network and at bbwaa.com.