This year’s American League Manager of the Year Award race is expected to be intense, and it starts at the top. With Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa coming out of retirement to manage the White Sox and claim a spot at the top of the list, it adds a twist to what already would have been an interesting award race.
The elite list at the top are prime examples of the coaching talent the AL has, and they top the MLB odds to nab the high honors in 2021. But could a dark horse candidate rise up and change that?
While we’re taking a look at the individual awards, don’t forget to visit BetMGM’s MLB Team Season Specials and promotions for 2021. Check out our Bet and Get A Home Run Boost promotion and much more. And who will win the NL MVP Award, AL MVP Award, AL Cy Young, NL Cy Young, and lastly, the NL Manager of the Year Award?
1. Tony La Russa (+500), Chicago White Sox: La Russa, the 76-year old manager whose managing career in Major League Baseball dates back to 1979, is still going strong. He’s back with the White Sox, where he got his managing feet wet from 1979-86.
He’s already a Baseball Hall of Famer because of his three World Series titles with the Oakland A’s (1989) and the St. Louis Cardinals (2006 and 2011). The 2,728 career regular-season wins coming into 2021 don’t hurt, either. He is back in baseball for another tour and leads MLB awards odds to win this year’s AL Manager of the Year honors.
If it happens? It’ll be his fifth time, as he won managing awards in 1983, 1988, 1992, and 2002.
2. Aaron Boone (+550), New York Yankees: After a solid playing career from 1997-2009, Boone announced his retirement and became a broadcaster — calling the 2014 and 2015 World Series on ESPN Radio. But the itch to come back to the game and manage was powerful and he has found success with the Yankees.
In 2018 and 2019, his teams won 100-plus games, and the 2019 team fell in the American League Championship Series after winning the AL East. Is the 48-year old about to turn the Yankees into a perennial powerhouse? Time will tell. But the odds like him.
3. Kevin Cash (+600), Tampa Bay Rays: Cash is the reigning AL Manager of the Year after the Rays went 40-20 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
They won the AL East and lost in the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has led the Rays to three straight winning seasons and he’s only 43 years old.
4t. Dusty Baker (+700), Houston Astros: Baker played Major League Baseball for 18 years. He is a three-time NL Manager of the Year (1993, 1997, 2000) so there’s no question why he’s one of the top candidates for the honor again in MLB betting circles.
Last year Houston finished 29-31 but Baker’s Washington teams in 2016 and 2017 both won NL East titles. His 14 career winning seasons also prove his resume is nothing to laugh at.
4t. Charlie Montoyo (+700), Toronto Blue Jays: Montoyo led the Blue Jays to a 32-28 record last year in the shortened season. With Toronto adding an impressive group of new faces to the roster via free agency (starting with outfielder and three-time AL All-Star George Springer), one can see what could happen this season.
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America selections, handled FCS college football for HERO Sports, and covered Jacob deGrom for his local newspaper when he played for a tiny Class 1A high school in Daytona Beach, Fla. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.