Why Bruce Bochy Is The N.L Manager of The Year


San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy is often underrated. When he fails, he suddenly goes under the microscope. Yet, when he makes a tweak or a big change that leads to more wins, he generally gets overlooked.

However, the Giants have already wrapped up the National League West division, and much of that success is due to Bochy’s successful managing, whether you believe it or not.

While Davey Johnson of the Nationals and Dusty Baker of the Reds also deserve respect, Bruce Bochy should win the National League Manager of the Year Award.

Here’s why:

Bullpen Management

Bruce Bochy has had to juggle around his inconsistent bullpen all year. The inconsistency ultimately stems back losing his all-star closer Brian Wilson after only two games. His void has caused a catastrophe because guys have had to take on new roles, which usually isn’t a beneficial formula.

Santiago Casilla had Bochy at ease for the first couple of months. Wilson’s replacement totaled a 1.59 ERA from April 7th to June 22nd, picking up 20 saves in 21 opportunities.

However, the unproven closer began to tumble when the calendar flipped to July. Outing by outing, he steadily regressed. Bochy provided him with a bit more leeway seeing that his alternatives were slim. Enough leeway just couldn’t be given, as Casilla was stripped of his closer’s role in early August and Bochy elected to use the closer by committee approach.

Since, he has had his hands full with tough decisions.

The closer by committee approach isn’t an easy tactic to find success with. As expected, the tactic failed to effectively execute in August, as the Giants’ bullpen posted a 4.21 ERA, the fifth worse mark in the N.L. That inflated number positioned them in a group with the Cubs, Rockies, and Astros…so you get the drift.

Those August struggles can partially be blamed on a lack of familiarity. Not knowing when you’re going to be called upon normally isn’t a soothing feeling, which is essentially what the Giants’ bullpen has endured over the past couple of months.

Now that some consistency has been developed, they’ve become a bit more effective of late, posting the sixth best National League bullpen ERA thus far in September with a 3.03 mark.

Injuries, Injuries, Suspensions

So far this year, Pablo Sandoval missed a good chunk of time with a hamstring injury and a broken hamate bone. Obviously Melky Cabrera’s 50 game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs is still a hard pill to swallow considering how good of a season he was in the midst of before getting suspended by the league.

As for the second tier of losses, Guillermo Mota was suspended for 100 games in early May. Everyday second baseman and World Series’ hero Freddy Sanchez was never able to make a full recovery. There have also been the unavoidable wear and tear injuries.

In the process of these injuries, suspensions, and a wobbly bullpen, Bruce Bochy continues to find ways to keep the Giants on the winning end of games.

The skipper has carefully managed his fragile catcher by giving him occasional breaks. The results speak for themselves, as Posey is seemingly the front-runner for the N.L MVP award over a year after suffering a season-ending leg injury.

Plus, the Giants are 25-11 since losing Cabrera. That feat alone proves how good of a manager Bochy is. Granted, the players have been a huge part of that success as well, but without Bochy juggling around the unproven cast of players at his disposal, who knows where the Giants would stand?