Orioles’ Brandon Hyde named AL Manager of the Year, joins elite company as 4th Baltimore skipper to win award

Amid the Orioles’ poor start to the 2022 season, manager Brandon Hyde expressed confidence in not only the club’s future, but also his place in it.

“I’m in this for the long haul,” Hyde told The Baltimore Sun last April. “I’ll be here when we’re winning.”

At that point, early in his fourth season leading Baltimore’s baseball team, Hyde possessed one of the five worst winning percentages of any manager in major league history. Hired as a first-time manager before the 2019 season to guide the club through a rebuild, Hyde had overseen as many campaigns with more than 100 losses as every preceding Orioles manager had in the franchise’s first 65 years in Baltimore.

Tuesday night, little more than a year and a half after his declaration, Hyde was named the 2023 American League Manager of the Year. In his fifth season at the helm, the Orioles won 101 games, winning the AL East and possessing the circuit’s top record. Hyde, 50, joins Frank Robinson (1989), Davey Johnson (1997) and Buck Showalter (2014) as Baltimore managers who have won the honor since its introduction in 1983. Hyde joins Showalter and seven others as managers who won the award after never playing in the major leagues.

“Just proud of what we’ve accomplished up to this point,” Hyde said Tuesday. “This is definitely not an individual award. I don’t look at it as that at all. I look at it as a team award and an entire coaching staff award, really an organizational award of what we’ve done here in five years.”

He received 27 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and came in second on the other three ballots. Texas’ Bruce Bochy received the other first-place votes and finished second ahead of Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash. Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker won the National League award.

Joe Maddon, the former Chicago Cubs manager whom Hyde considers a mentor after spending three years on his coaching staff before coming to Baltimore, announced Hyde as the winner on MLB Network.

With infielder Gunnar Henderson named the AL Rookie of the Year on Monday, 2023 marks the third season in Orioles history the team has had multiple winners of the BBWAA’s annual awards. Robinson’s 1989 honor came as reliever Gregg Olson was the AL Rookie of the Year, which outfielder Al Bumbry took home in 1973 as Jim Palmer was the AL Cy Young Award recipient.

The club’s performance this season put Hyde alongside Hall of Famer Earl Weaver as the only managers to lead the Orioles to a 100-win season. The campaign marked the second straight in which Baltimore massively exceeded external expectations.

In one of Mike Elias’ first moves as the Orioles’ executive vice president and general manager after being hired five years ago this month, he hired Hyde, then Maddon’s bench coach, as Baltimore’s 20th manager. Hyde recalled Tuesday that during both the interview process and in their initial spring training together, Elias emphasized to Hyde and his coaching staff they wouldn’t be judged on wins and losses, given far more of the latter were expected.

The Orioles went 54-108 in 2019 and 25-35 in the shortened 2020 campaign before a disastrous 2021 season in which they lost 110 games, including 19 in a row at one point.

“During those years, you just didn’t know,” Hyde said. “I had confidence that we were gonna turn this thing around, but you struggle to see when, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, honestly.”

More struggles were expected in 2022, with Baltimore projected to be among the majors’ worst teams as it had been in Hyde’s first three seasons. About a month after Hyde said he would manage Baltimore when it went from rebuilding to competing, the Orioles promoted top prospect Adley Rutschman, and the winning started soon after. They ended 2022 with an 83-79 record, the best of any AL team that missed the postseason. The finish made Hyde the runner-up in AL Manager of the Year voting, though he won Sporting News’ honor, which was voted on by fellow managers.

Despite the Orioles’ breakout success, sports books and projection systems expected regression in 2023. They instead won the best division in baseball, going the entire regular season without being swept. Under Hyde, Baltimore has set an AL record for most consecutive multigame series with at least one victory. The Orioles posted a winning record in each full month for the first time since 1983, when they last won the World Series.

“We were disrespected, honestly, going into this year,” Hyde said hours before the Orioles clinched their first playoff berth since 2016. “Just from where we were from projections, smart people thinking they know what the records are gonna be at the end of the year, casinos, et cetera. I thought we were underappreciated. Everybody thought we were going to have a setback this year. I wanted our players to be offended by that a little bit, the guys that were here last year. I thought that wasn’t accurate.

“I thought we were going to be better than everybody thought.”

As he was in April 2022, Hyde was right. The Orioles entered the year with a core composed of players who endured the rebuild alongside Hyde and young talent developed during it. With only a handful of relatively inexpensive veterans in the mix, the Orioles’ front office, as it has throughout Hyde’s tenure, handed him an inexperienced roster built with one of the lowest payrolls in the majors.

He helped make it a division champion. Despite their frugality, the Orioles’ roster featured depth on both sides of the ball, with Hyde deftly deploying his bench and bullpen throughout the year. Almost half of the Orioles’ victories came in games decided by two or fewer runs, and Baltimore’s .662 winning percentage in such games was 100 points better than the next-best AL club. They tied for the major league lead in comeback wins.

Many players credited Hyde for his role in the clubhouse culture that fueled that success. Asked Tuesday what trait allowed him to weather Baltimore’s rebuild, Hyde was tempted to say patience before acknowledging, “I was guilty a lot of nights of not being patient.” Instead, he settled on a quality several of his players referenced throughout the season: consistency.

“I have a ton of respect for him,” said first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, one of a handful of players who embraced and thrived in part-time roles under Hyde. “I think that’s a common denominator around the locker room is you have guys who go out there and play their ass off for him.”

Players also vouched for him to be Manager of the Year in 2022, but the award went to Terry Francona after he led the Cleveland Guardians to the AL Central title. Hyde’s Orioles won their division in 2023, helping him fend off Bochy, Cash and others in BBWAA voting, which took place before the postseason.

In it, Bochy’s Rangers swept Hyde and the Orioles in the AL Division Series en route to win the World Series. Days after Baltimore’s elimination, the possibility of this award gave Hyde little solace.

“That’s nice,” Hyde said. “I’m still pissed, to be honest with you.

“I don’t like to lose, and I don’t like to lose like that,” he added later. “I wanted our players to jump around again. It’s a really cool group. You didn’t want to have to get on the plane after something like that. You wanted to see them continue to play. That’s the bottom line. We didn’t want the season to be over.”

In a few months, another will begin. Hyde will spend it as the reigning AL Manager of the Year. But he and his players are out for other hardware.

“We want to take that next step,” Hyde said. “I think that they’re gonna come in with a chip on their shoulder a little bit with how things ended. I know I am.”


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