The Brewers' unexpected success in 2017 led to some national attention for Craig Counsell in his third season -- and second full year -- at the helm of his hometown team.
You can expect Counsell to have a decent showing in this year's BBWAA Manager of the Year voting, but he's already being named the winner of a different Manager of the Year award -- the Sporting News announced Tuesday he and Terry Francona are their winners for the 2017 season, as voted on by their managing peers.
Counsell earned 5 votes from his fellow National League managers, followed by 2 votes for Arizona's Torey Lovullo and one vote each for LA's Dave Roberts and Colorado's Bud Black.
The Sporting News' Manager of the Year award dates back to 1936, as opposed to the BBWAA, whose Manager award only dates back to 1983.
Counsell is the second Brewers manager to earn the Sporting News honor, joining George Bamberger in 1978.
The Sporting News also included some comments from Brewers players on what made Counsell such a good manager as the team navigated its way from rebuilder to contender.
"He’s a player’s manager. If you come in and do what you’re supposed to do, you’re not gonna have any issues," said Brewers slugger Travis Shaw, who was among those who enjoyed a resurgence in 2017. "It’s fun to play for a guy like that."
"He knows when the team needs a little bit of a drive and he knows when to just let guys play," starting pitcher Zach Davies told SN. "He knows when guys are on a roll. He knows when to just see the game and play on."
Said veteran catcher Stephen Vogt: "The team a lot of times is a reflection of the manager. And so everybody here carries themselves professionally, come ready to play every day. And that’s the mark of playing for a good manager."
The Sporting News also named their Comeback Players of the Year, with Brewers first baseman Eric Thames finishing 5th in that voting with 5 votes. Rockies closer Greg Holland ran away with the NL award, earning 33 votes. Thames also trailed St. Louis' Lance Lynn (20), Washington's Ryan Zimmerman (12) and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (9) in the voting.