One year ago, many weren't sure what to think of new Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. At 37 years old, Baldelli was the youngest manager in Major League Baseball at the time of his hiring and with the Twins giving a contract extension to Paul Molitor after the 2017 season and reversing course the following year, it was hard to tell if the Twins knew what they were doing.
On Tuesday night, it became clear that Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine knew exactly what they were doing as Baldelli was named the American League Manager of the Year.
Baldelli's first year with the Twins put him at the helm of one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. Minnesota racked up 101 wins (second-most in Twins history) and claimed its first American League Central Division title since 2010. Mix in a 16-win turnaround and Baldelli's job was definitely worthy of national recognition.
Baldelli racked up 13 first-place votes from the 30-member BWAA panel and at age 38, became the youngest manager in MLB history to win the award. His 13 first-place votes were just as many as runner-up Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees, but also received 13 second-place and two third-place votes to win the award by a total of 106 points to Boone's 96.
Baldelli is the fourth manager in Twins history to win the award following Tom Kelly (1991), Ron Gardenhire (2010) and Paul Molitor (2017).