Major League Baseball announced its manager of the year winners on Tuesday, rewarding a pair of managers whose teams made major improvements in 2015.
AL manager of the year: Jeff Banister
Jeff Banister is the third Rangers manager to win the award, the first since Buck Showalter in 2004. The other was Johnny Oates, who shared the award with Joe Torre in 1996.
The Rangers were 43-49 and nine games out of first place on July 20 but went 45-25 the rest of the season to edge the Astros out for the AL West title.
Among the improvements under Banister were differences in run creation and run prevention:
The Rangers went from 10th in the American League in runs scored in 2014 to third in the league in runs scored in 2015. The team's OPS also improved from .689 to .739.
The Rangers finished with minus-32 defensive runs saved in 2014. They improved to 13 runs saved in 2015.
Banister is the first rookie manager to win the award in the American League. It’s the second straight year a rookie manager won, but last year's NL winner, Matt Williams, was let go after his second season with the Nationals.
NL manager of the year: Joe Maddon
Maddon is the seventh manager to win three manager of the year awards and the seventh to win one in each league. He's the fourth Cubs manager to win, joining Jim Frey (1984), Don Zimmer (1989) and Lou Piniella (2008).
Maddon skippered a team with a lot of young talent, including NL rookie of the year Kris Bryant, to the postseason by way of the second wild-card spot. It's the first Cubs postseason berth since 2008.
The Cubs finished with 73 wins in 2014 but matched that total by Aug. 25. Maddon's philosophy was "Respect 90." "Respect the 90 feet between the bases, and the respect will come back to you." In terms of executing that, the Cubs improved their stolen-base total by 30 (from 65 to 95) while reducing their times caught stealing by three (from 40 to 37).
They led the NL in walks, which allowed them to finish fifth in the league in on-base percentage despite ranking 13th in batting average. The Cubs went from 12th to sixth in runs scored from 2014 to 2015 and from 13th to third in ERA.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Maddon is the 12th manager to win manager of the year in his first season with a team but only the second to do so after managing a different team the season before. The other was Torre with the Yankees in 1996.