Snitker won the award Tuesday after leading the Braves to a 90-72 record and their first postseason appearance and NL East title since 2013 - in a year when they were picked to finish third or fourth in the division following three consecutive seasons with at least 90 losses.
Melvin received 18 first-place votes and 121 points. It was the third time a team managed by Melvin improved by 20 wins from the previous season. He's the eighth manager in history to win the award three times. Some voters will likely hold that against Cora, and he's going up against two manager who had a lot less to work with in Oakland's Bob Melvin and Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash.
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One of the running tropes with the Manager of the Year Award is that it goes to the skipper of the year's most surprising team.
Given how loaded the AL East was, coupled with the Rays selling off many players both prior to and during the season, what Cash did in Tampa with the game's smallest payroll is nothing short of impressive.
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Three of the past four AL Managers of the Year (Paul Molitor, Buck Showalter, Jeff Bannister) were fired this year. They trailed the Seattle Mariners by 11 games in the wild-card race on June 15 before a strong second half - not to mention all the comeback wins and walk-offs - pushed them into the playoffs, in which they lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game.
Much has been made of the Braves' rebuild over the past several seasons, as Atlanta has dealt away stars like Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton, among others, while stockpiling minor league talent with an eye towards a sustainable run of contending rosters. Snitker scored 17 first-place votes, edging Counsell, who had 13. Louis' Mike Shildt and Chicago's Joe Maddon rounded out the NL ballot, in that order (full voting breakdown here).
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A 63-year-old baseball lifer, Snitker became the Braves' interim manager when Fredi Gonzalez was sacked in May 2016, and Snitker was given the job full-time after the season.