ESPN asked 50 scouts, front office personnel, coaches and media analysts to rank the best current MLB manager,as well as some more specific superlatives. Spoiler alert: Bruce Bochy was the overall winner. But our very own Mike Scioscia came in 6th, with 4.8% of those surveyed saying he was top skipper in the game. The amount of time he's been in one spot, his ring and the fact that he's riding that long tenure probably combined to give him the thumbs up from insiders.
1.Bruce Bochy 24.2%
2.Buck Showalter 21.5%
3.Terry Francona 12.8%
4.Joe Maddon 12.5%
5.Clint Hurdle 6.0%
6.Mike Scioscia 4.8%
7.Bob Melvin 4.4%
8.Joe Girardi 3.5%
9.Mike Matheny 3.4%
10.John Farrell 2.2%
11. Others 4.7%
Yay for Mike! 6th place isn't too shabby. Mike also shows up as 4th on Best Tactician, behind Showalter, Bochy and Maddon. He got 6th place again in Best Leader, with 6.9% of those surveyed loving them some Scioscialism. In both categories, as much of a Scioscia hater as I have been in recent days/weeks/months/years, I will agree that he is definitely above a good chunk of the pack in both leadership and tactics. We could be much worse off, but then again, we could also have a manager that knows where to bat Mike Trout.
An NL executive on Scioscia: "He had a lot of success early, and he hasn't had a lot of success since. I think guys find out that Los Angeles is a hard place to play, because if [Scioscia's] not signing off on you, you're not playing there. He has a lot of control. And when you've got that much control and you're not a playoff team and you're spending that kind of money, the bloom comes off the rose.''
Are we too close to this whole situation to see that Scioscia knows a thing or two? Yeah...I am not going to take that plunge, but it's a fun thought experiment. There were some other categories on the list, ones that Mike did not make the cut on. If you're wondering what categories surveyed had scant positive things to be said about our man? They were:
- Player's Choice
- Best at handling a pitching staff
- Best at relating to players
- Best at using entire 25 man roster
- Most creative
- Best at developing young players
So if you think stuff like that is important, than it sure seems like Scioscia isn't raising any eyebrows. Those categories seem much more concrete and of immediately recognizable importance, while Best Overall and Best Leader are in some nebulous, sports talking head jargon. For now, baseball thinks we have a pretty good manager. Baseball is never wrong. Ever.