PHOENIX, Ariz- Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been named the 2017 National League Manager of the Year, as announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
Lovullo is the third Arizona manager to win this honor, joining Bob Melvin (2007) and Kirk Gibson (2011), and is the seventh manager to win this award in his first season as a manager: Hal Lanier in 1986 (Houston Astros), Dusty Baker in 1993 (San Francisco Giants), Joe Girardi in 2006 (Florida Marlins), Matt Williams in 2014 (Washington Nationals), Jeff Banister in 2015 (Texas Rangers) and runner up this year, Dave Roberts in 2016 (Los Angeles Dodgers).
The voting wasn’t even close with Lovullo being first on 18 ballots, second on five and third on six which totals 111 points. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was second with 55 followed by Colorado Rockies Bud Black with 43.
Lovullo talked about winning the award. “I haven’t had a chance to dig down and think about what it’s meant. I do know a couple things that this is a organizational thing is how I am viewing it. Without ownership as strong as it is. Without the front office and the relationship I have with them, and without the coaches I am not sitting here. The final piece of that whole puzzle is the players going out to perform at the level they do. That’s why I am sitting here today.”
Lovullo was successful in guiding the Diamondbacks to a second-place finish in the NL West this season and a Wild Card win over the Rockies in his first season.
The 93 wins were the most by an Arizona manager in his first 162 games, topping Bob Brenly’s 92 in 2001, and the 24 victories more than their total of 69 in 2016, the second-largest win difference in the Majors behind the Minnesota Twins (26), and fourth-best increase in a single-season in the franchise’s history.
Lovullo reflected on not having his father with him and sharing the success he has had this season with him. “It’s a sad thing that he’s not here right at the moment to see this or watch this type of year unfold. There are times where I miss calling him, or getting a chance to say I love you.those moments hurt. I know that’s he’s watching me right now and he’s very proud of me. I take great comfort in knowing that.”
On the year itself, Lovullo reflected on that. “The year has been a very very good and awkward year at times. Very filling and rewarding in others. The end result is we had a good campaign. We had a magical year. We know what it takes to get to the next level. We watched the Dodgers advance and almost win the World Series, and we got a chance to compete against them so we know what the standards are. We know what the level of excellence is and we want to get there as soon as possible.”
Just like the playoffs where the NL West was dominate, it was the same for the NL Manager of the year. Lovullo talked about that.”We know that the National League West is traditional a very powerful division. It was the Dodgers and the (San Francisco) Giants for many years. There are some knew teams that are trending in a very positive direction. We know what the new standards are. We have to go out and preform at the same level we did this past year, and have the same set of expectations that we had this year or else you will get swallowed up. On the two other managers, I was honored to be a part of that group. I got word last week that I was one of the candidates. The fact were all sitting in the same division means that we’re all going to have the same set of expectations and the same eyes looking forward to hopefully winning a world championship.”