He may not have won it, but Cubs skipper David Ross deserves some props.
First-year Chicago Cubs manager David Ross finished third in National League Manager of the Year voting, an excellent return for a guy who’d never coached, let alone managed, at any level. He finished behind the Miami Marlins’ Don Mattingly, who took home the honors, and the San Diego Padres’ Jayce Tingler, who finished second after leading the Friars to the postseason.
Ross was excellent in his debut as a manager, rolling out to a 13-3 record. The team kind of coasted from there, going 21-23 down the stretch, still good enough to bring home the NL Central crown. Only eight rookie managers have ever won the award. Ross fell short, finishing third, but he’s accomplished in the fact that he was selected as a finalist.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Legendary Pat Foley will finally call a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
- MLB Pipeline ranks Pete Crow-Armstrong as Cubs top prospect
- Cubs betting heavily that arms can carry them to their next championship
- 3 roster battles the Cubs will answer by the end of this season
- Cubs have a new late-inning shutdown arm in young Brandon Hughes
Ross finished with 25 total votes. Mattingly finished with 20 first-place votes. Good for Donnie Baseball. His team was crippled by COVID-19 early on, which led to an insane schedule and a constant mixing and matching of players. Mattingly was exquisite with Miami – and he deserved the award.
As for Ross, he was dynamic in his management of the team. He handled everything from a woeful offensive performance to overseeing a total turnaround on the pitching side of things, especially in the bullpen. That’s a damn fine job. To accomplish what the Cubs did with a .220 team batting average (ranking 13th out of 15 NL clubs) says a lot about the job Ross did.
Jeremy Jeffress was outstanding in the bullpen, recording a 1.54 ERA with eight saves – earning NL Reliever of the Year consideration. Dan Winkler had a 2.95 ERA and Craig Kimbrel didn’t allow a run in September (eight games).
Yu Darvish was superb (8-3, 2.01 ERA, 93 SO), as was Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA, 64 SO). young right-hander Adbert Alzolay made a strong first impression for the team with his 2.95 ERA with his 29 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings was outstanding.
Ross definitely made his mark with the Cubs. Whether it was holding guys accountable for their effort (Kyle Schwarber) to having Jon Lester be comfortable with coming out of the game (he wasn’t, but I digress), he did what needed to be done all season long.
But at a higher level, one has to appreciate that, in the midst of a global pandemic, the Cubs were the only team that had zero players contract COVID-19. It takes some intense leadership to guide a clubhouse through such times – let alone do so while winning a division title.