Blue Jays: Is Charlie Montoyo a Manager of the Year candidate?
With the Blue Jays pushing their record to 24-18, Jon Heyman of the MLB network suggested Charlie Montoyo could be a Manager of the Year candidate.
Despite the fact that they had just four hits on Tuesday night, the Blue Jays picked up their second straight win over the Yankees. The win also pushes their lead on New York up to 3.0 games for the second playoff spot in the AL East, as the Blue Jays have surged while the Bronx Bombers have been reeling.
It’s been an unexpectedly successful season for the Jays so far, and there are a lot of reasons for the massive strides taken since last year’s 67-win campaign. The front office brought in a lot of new arms and the pitching staff has been outstanding, with the bullpen in particular being among baseball’s best. The young lineup has delivered an exciting performance, and they’ve done it without Bo Bichette for all but 14 games, arguably their best player.
There are plenty of reasons for the positive start, and the credit has to be shared by a lot of people. However, that leads me to an interesting question: How much credit does Charlie Montoyo deserve for the .571 winning percentage through the first 42 games?
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Well, if you’re asking Jon Heyman of the MLB network, Montoyo might be the leader in the clubhouse for the Manager of the Year award, as he tweeted on Tuesday evening. Needless to say, his statement received a wide variety of reactions from Blue Jay fans, and I have to admit, I have mixed feelings as well.
Before I say anything negative, let’s recognize that this season has provided challenges for MLB skippers they’re not used to. They’ve had more games than days in the month to play, and juggling a pitching staff and resting your position players has been no easy task, especially with quite a few injuries thus far. That said, it’s been largely an even playing field for teams across the league, save for those that have had Covid-19 outbreaks like the Marlins and Cardinals, so it hasn’t been a disadvantage for Montoyo or the Blue Jays.
As for the idea that Montoyo could be the Manager of the Year for this shortened season, there’s a reason that plenty of fans and writers were scoffing at the idea. The skipper has been heavily criticized at times this year, for a variety of different areas. Whether it was the bullpen management early in the year, a quick hook for starters, lineup decisions like batting Cavan Biggio eighth one night for seemingly no reason, or horrendous team base-running, there have been plenty of sore spots despite the relative success overall.
For those that have been watching most or all of the games this year, you’ll know that there have been times where Montoyo has made questionable calls, and there’s an argument that they could and even should have won at least 3-4 more games earlier in the schedule. He’s also been a fairly stark contrast from what we’ve grown accustomed to with John Gibbons, which can provide an interesting dynamic, especially when it comes to holding young players accountable. Montoyo seems like a wonderful human being, but it can be hard to picture him as a stern clubhouse leader, which might be needed from time to time.
That said, it’s hard to argue with results, and right now Montoyo has the Blue Jays playing some of the best baseball we’ve seen since 2016. We’re always going to criticize the manager at times (we all know better, right?), but at the end of the day we all just want to see our team win. This is a very strange season, but let’s give at least some credit to Montoyo for the Jays going from a .414 winning percentage last year to being six games over .500 now, and 3.0 ahead of the Yankees with 18 games remaining. He might not be THE reason for the success, but it’s not as if the Blue Jays are winning despite his leadership.
At the end of the day, I’d be surprised to see Montoyo end up winning the award, but I can at least see where Heyman is coming from. How about you? Do you think the Blue Jay skipper should be a candidate for Manager of the Year?