Orioles manager Brandon Hyde oversaw one of the greatest turnarounds in major league history. It wasn’t enough for him to be recognized as the American League’s top manager.
The AL Manager of the Year award went to Cleveland’s Terry Francona, with Hyde finishing second in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s voting. Hyde appeared on 25 of 30 ballots, receiving nine first-place votes to Francona’s 17 along with nine votes for second and seven for third.
The 49-year-old Hyde would have been Baltimore’s first recipient since his predecessor, Buck Showalter, in 2014. Now the manager of the New York Mets, Showalter is a finalist for the NL award. Hyde and Showalter won the Sporting News’ yearly honors, which are voted on by the respective league’s managers.
In Hyde’s fourth season, the Orioles went 83-79, the best record among AL teams that didn’t reach the postseason. They were also the only team since 1900 to post a winning record a season after losing at least 110 games. Baltimore went 131-253 in Hyde’s first three seasons, leaving him with the worst winning percentage by anyone who had managed at least 315 games over the past 70 years.
2022 was expected to be a continuation of those struggles, with multiple sports books and projection systems believing the Orioles would be the worst of the majors’ 30 teams. Like his three previous years, Hyde was tasked with leading an inexperienced roster, built with a meager payroll and full of players cast aside by other organizations.
But with an improved bullpen and an influx of prospects acquired through the rebuild establishing themselves in Baltimore, the Orioles improved midseason, a 10-game winning streak in July propelling them to a winning record and into contention. Hyde kept them there until the season’s final week, overcoming the early-season loss of top pitcher John Means to Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and Elias’ August trades of significant contributions Trey Mancini and Jorge López to other contending clubs.
He spoke to the team in the wake of those deals, telling them that even though the organization operates with the long-term future in mind, he focused on the present and expected the same of his players. The Orioles managed a winning record after the trades, even as signs of decreased depth caught up with them.
They were formally eliminated in the first hour of October, while Francona’s club unexpectedly won the AL Central. Scott Servais, who steered the Seattle Mariners to their first playoff appearance since 2001, appeared first on one ballot and finished third, while Dusty Baker came in fourth with three first-place votes in voting conducted at the end of the regular season and before he led the Houston Astros to a World Series title.
Baltimore finished fourth in the AL East, with each of the teams in front of them reaching the postseason. Hyde would have been the first AL Manager of the Year whose team finished outside the top three of its division.
The expectations will be greater in 2023, with the Orioles’ front office hoping to improve the roster this offseason in hopes of contending for the AL East title. Baltimore winning the toughest division in baseball could certainly make Hyde a Manager of the Year candidate against next year, but like the Orioles’ playoff hopes, he came up short in 2022.