The voting for American League Manager of the Year was a lot closer than in the NL, where Kirk Gibson took home the ‘crown’ in fairly uncontested fashion. In the Junior Circuit, the race for the top spot came down to Joe Maddon of the Rays and Detroit’s Jim Leyland. After all the votes were calculated, it was Maddon who claimed the title of AL Manager of the Year.
After cutting their payroll by $30 million last offseason, few thought the Tampa Bay Rays would be able put up much of a fight in the brutal AL East. In Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Matt Garza and Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay watched 47 home runs, 48 doubles, 174 RBI’s, 15 wins, 267 innings pitched and 45 saves walk out the door in free agency.
Then, after their slow start to the 2011 season, it looked like the Rays might have a hard time making it back to .500 much less playing into October. But, Maddon rallied his troops and led the Rays to another 90 win season, including a mark of 42-30 versus the AL Beast.
The Rays went on to beat out the Red Sox for the AL Wild Card, ultimately bowing out in four games to the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. While this may have seemed like a disappointment last season, Tampa Bay is considered by many to have overachieved in 2011. With their seemingly unending flow of young talent, the future continues to look bright in Tampa.
Leyland earned himself a second place finish with his club’s impressive showing in 2011, resulting in an AL Central title. Manny Acta took third thanks to his ability to motivate the surprising Cleveland Indians, while Ron Washington came in a close fourth after leading his Texas Rangers to another ALCS berth.
Here’s a complete list of AL managers receiving votes and their totals.
The way the voting is tallied is as follows: first place votes – 5 points, second place votes – 3 points, third place votes – 1 point.
1. Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays (122)
2. Jim Leyland – Detroit Tigers (89)
3. Manny Acta – Cleveland Indians (28)
4. Ron Washington – Texas Rangers (26)
5. Joe Girardi – New York Yankees (15)
6. Mike Scioscia – LA Angels (7)
7. Buck Showalter – Baltimore Orioles (4)
8. John Farrell – Toronto Blue Jays (3)