Award season finalists continued to be announced tonight, and another member of the Brewers organization is up for an award. With a team that outperformed expectations this season, manager Craig Counsell is one of the three finalists for the NL Manager of the Year award. The other two finalists are manager Gabe Kapler of the Giants and former manager Mike Shildt of the Cardinals.
The skippers up for the NL Manager of the Year Award! pic.twitter.com/Bl4waeQAo4— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 9, 2021
While many publications did have the Brewers winning the NL Central this year, few saw the Brewers improving as much as they did. They went from a sub-.500 record in the shortened 2020 season to 95 wins in 2021. His pitching staff was one of the best in the majors, and he kept the team going well even though the offense struggled throughout the season. This is the fifth straight year where Counsell received votes for NL Manager of the Year, and the third time in four years he’s been in the top three. Previously, he finished 7th in 2020, 2nd in 2019, 2nd in 2018, and 4th in 2017.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for Counsell to win the award, though. Gabe Kapler is seen as the favorite after the Giants won 107 games in 2021. Meanwhile, Mike Shildt led his team to a 17-game winning streak to make it into the playoffs, making a name for himself at the best possible time for award voting. (Remember, these votes are submitted at the end of the regular season and before the playoffs, so this was before Shildt was dismissed as manager of the Cardinals.)