Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane was named the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year late Wednesday night.
Beane was the man behind the A’s improbable 2012 season, where they overcame a 13-game deficit in late June to win the American League West Division on the final game over the Texas Rangers. This included sweeping the Rangers in the last series of the season to claim the title.
He crafted a team full of inexperienced rookies and overrated journeymen after trading away three of his all-star pitchers in the off-season.
Much to the surprise of everyone, the A’s won the AL West with five rookie starting pitchers and a lineup that looked nothing like it was on opening night. The San Jose Mercury News notes that Coco Crisp was the only player in the lineup who started at the same position the previous year.
Mid-season acquisitions and call-ups such as Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Inge, and Stephen Drew were pivotal to the team’s late-season magic. Rookie Yoenis Cespedes and utility-player Josh Reddick shattered expectations by a mile, each having sensational years.
What Beane did in 2012 with the A’s is nothing short of remarkable. Considering the low budget that he is allowed to spend, a run-down stadium, and a diminutive fanbase, Beane crafted together a contending team that will be a dominant force in the league for many years to come.