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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles’ historic turnaround lands Brandon Hyde among American League Manager of the Year finalists

Brandon Hyde entered 2022 as the majors’ worst manager by winning percentage in 70 years. He’ll end it regarded as one of the league’s top skippers this season.

Hyde’s fourth season leading the Orioles landed him among the finalists for American League Manager of the Year, alongside the Cleveland Guardians’ Terry Francona and Seattle Mariners’ Scott Servais, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Monday. Although Hyde was the only of those three whose team fell short of the playoffs, Baltimore’s 83-79 season was one of the greatest and most unexpected turnarounds in major league history.

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Projected by several sportsbooks, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system to be the majors’ worst team, the Orioles finished with over 20 more victories than expected. The only other teams to win more than 77 games a season after losing 110 played in the 1800s. Baltimore’s 70th victory came with more than a month to play and marked the most by a team that had suffered at least 100 losses in each of the past three full seasons. Two of those came under Hyde, with a pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign in between.

“This is the year that people are noticing what a talented manager we have in Baltimore. But for me, this has been four years,” executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said last month. “We’ve been very process-oriented. He’s been working with the front office to build the entire organization. So this isn’t something that’s new for me in 2022, but obviously he’s gotten national attention, and rightfully so, for the performance of the team and, for me, more so the style of play that I think we see from these players. I think this is a good year for him to win it, but in my mind, it’s for the last four years and hopefully many more.”

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Hyde, 49, would be the fourth Orioles manager to win the honor, following Frank Robinson (1989), Davey Johnson (1997) and his predecessor, Buck Showalter (2014). Hyde and Showalter, now managing the New York Mets, were named Sporting News’ Managers of the Year, with voting performed by their fellow managers in their respective leagues. Both are also finalists for the official BBWAA awards, with the winner announced Nov. 15. Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman is also a finalist for AL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Nov. 14.

The Orioles' 70th victory in the 2022 season under manager Brandon Hyde came with more than a month to play and marked the most by a team that had suffered at least 100 losses in each of the past three full seasons.
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Replacing Showalter before the 2019 season to guide the Orioles through a rebuild, Hyde went 131-253 in his first three seasons. With a loss as the then-Florida Marlins’ interim manager in 2011 also on his record, Hyde’s .340 winning percentage through 2021 was the fourth worst of anyone who managed at least 315 games and the lowest since 1941.

2022 was expected to be another season in which the Orioles would approach 100 losses, with Baltimore’s front office again handing Hyde an inexperienced roster built with a meager payroll. An 8-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on June 10 put the Orioles 11 games under .500 and on pace to lose 96 games, but they went 21-9 over the next month, with a 10-game winning streak giving them a winning record more than 23 games into a season for the first time in Hyde’s tenure.

They remained in the hunt for a wild-card spot until the final week of the regular season despite losing top starting pitcher John Means to a season-ending elbow injury and Elias trading away significant contributors in first baseman Trey Mancini and closer Jorge López without making major additions at the trade deadline. After the latter moves rankled some members of the Orioles’ clubhouse, Hyde steadied the ship. Baltimore posted a winning record after those deals, briefly entering playoff position in mid-August but ending the year as the top team in the AL that didn’t reach the postseason. With three AL East teams making the field, Baltimore had by far the best record of the majors’ six fourth-place clubs, with only one of the others winning more than 68 games.

Throughout the season, players stumped for Hyde as AL Manager of the Year. They praised his communication style and rapport with the clubhouse, with holdovers from the losing seasons noting his attitude and leadership style remained the same despite the team’s out-of-nowhere success.

“My confidence wasn’t shaken even though we had such really rough years the last three,” Hyde said on the final day of the regular season. “Tried to stay as consistent as I possibly could with everything. It’s not easy to do. But try to match up as best as I possibly can, try to win as many games as I possibly could, and this year, we just had more talent. We had guys produce and had bullpen guys get outs. It became a lot more fun, honestly, and I’m ready for more fun like that.”

Hyde was already under contract for 2023 before this year’s success, but as part of an Orioles coaching staff expected to return in full, he’ll get to build on this season by guiding a team that will feature much of the young talent he spent his first three years waiting to arrive.

He just might do it as the reigning AL Manager of the Year.


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