On Monday it was announced that San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler had been nominated for 2021 National League Manager of the Year Award.
This is perhaps the least surprising thing that happened anywhere in the world on Monday.
Kapler was a shoo-in to be a finalist and, if we’re being honest, he’s a shoo-in to win the award. I will happily bet 109 million McCovey Bucks on Kapler being announced as the winner, if anyone would like to take me up on that offer. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other two finalists for the award are Milwaukee Brewers skipper Craig Consell, and Mike Shildt, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals this year but was fired after the season. Kapler will win, and deservedly so, but my goodness it would be funny if Shildt won instead.
The Giants finished with 107 wins, the most in franchise history and the highest mark in the Majors this year. More importantly, it was a mark that was about 30 games above what the projections — statistical and otherwise — expected from San Francisco.
Kapler is far from the only person who deserves credit for that rapid and shocking ascension, but there’s no “these 50 people all did their jobs really well and helped a team do better than they were supposed to” award, so Manager of the Year becomes the default award when a team finds itself in that position.
Counsell’s Brewers won 95 games, and Shildt’s Cardinals won 90, though both teams were expected to be quite competitive this season.