Last night, the Atlanta Braves held on to win a tight 3-1 game against the Philadelphia Phillies to move their record to 91-56. With 100 wins a real possibility for this team, will Brian Snitker claim back-to-back NL Manager of the Year awards?
It’s been a very long journey for Brian Snitker to get to this point. After taking the manager position for the Braves in the wake of the Freddi Gonzalez era, Snitker secured the job by outperforming expectations as the interim manager. Last season, in a season the Braves didn’t think they were ready to compete, once again Snitker outperformed expectations by leading the Braves to an NL East title and the playoffs. Coming into this season, according to Rotochamp, the Braves were picked to finish behind the Phillies, Mets, and Nationals. Instead, the Braves have run away with the NL East and has a real chance to reach 100 wins.
Now, getting to 100 wins isn’t a guarantee for Brian Snitker and the Braves. With a record of 91-56, the Braves would need to win 9 of the last 15 remaining games. With mostly NL East opponents remaining, 4 for Philadelphia and 3 for New York and Washington, teams who are all pushing for Wild Card spots, the Braves will be playing teams who will be trying to win every night. The other games, 2 with Kansas City and 3 with San Francisco, are very winnable. The Braves have a chance for 100 but they will have to go for it, meaning no resting guys down the stretch.
For the other competition in the NL, Snitker, most likely, will be competing with the likes of Dave Roberts Craig Counsell, or Mike Shildt. I don’t see Roberts being rewarded for leading a team with a budget of almost a billion dollars. I’m pretty sure Roberts is there for the postseason considering almost any human with a pulse could win 85-95 games with that Dodgers team. Counsell and Shildt could be options but their teams haven’t had better seasons than the Braves, respectfully. Unless major league baseball simply doesn’t want to reward Brian Snitker for the second year in a row, it’s his award to win.
Speaking of winning two years in a row, the last time a manager won the NL Manager of the Year award back-to-back was… Bobby Cox who won in 2004 and 2005. If Snitker does win the award, he would join Bobby Cox as the only NL manager to win the award back-to-back seasons since they started handing out this award in 1983. That’s pretty special company for Snit.
Brian Snitker has done an incredible job with the Braves this season. The mix of youth and veteran players all on one roster has been perfectly led through the rigors of a long baseball season. Throw in all the turmoil the Braves have faced along the way and it’s kind of amazing this Braves team has a chance to win 100 games and finish with the best record in the NL. Brian Snitker is doing a special job with this team. It’s time for Snitker to be rewarded, again.