That’s right, Phillies fans, Gabe Kapler has been named the National League Manager of the Year just two years after he was fired as the Phillies’ manager.
Kapler earned the title after leading the Giants to a franchise-record 107-55 season at the helm of the San Francisco Giants. The Giants claimed a highly-contest NL West title before losing in the NLDS against the Dodgers in a series that went to Game 5.
During the 2020 shortened season, Kapler led the Giants to a mediocre 29-31 season (one game better than the Phillies). Thanks to contributions from the likes of Kevin Gausman, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford, however, the Giants were able to turn the ship around for an incredible 2021 season.
Some Phillies fans will be up in arms about this obvious choice for Manager of the Year after Kapler’s struggles in Philadelphia. Some will take the opposite route, claiming that Kapler’s success proves that the issue in Philadelphia was never the manager, but the front office.
Either way, you cannot deny the progress Kapler has made as a manager. Sure, he set a low bar by removing Aaron Nola early on Opening Day in 2018, but to rise to the ranks where he is recognized as the best manager in the National League is a testament to how good of a manager he has become. With Kapler’s leadership, the Giants beat the Dodgers for the divisional crown when the Dodgers owned a payroll $103 million higher than theirs.
And while Kapler has had a lot more success in San Francisco, his managerial style has remained the same. He is still analytics-driven. Still quick to pull the plug on his starters. And guess what? It worked out pretty well for him in the end.
Congratulations to Gabe Kapler for such a well-deserved honor. There is no manager in the National League who deserved the honor more this year than Kapler.