Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol deserves praise
Gomez: Oliver Marmol should have been a Manager of the Year finalist
What more could St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol have done? When the top three finalists for the National League Manager of the Year award were announced, the absence of the Cardinals’ rookie manager was glaring.
The 36-year-old skipper led St. Louis to a NL Central-best 93-67 record, the Cardinals’ best record by win percentage since 2015. As a result, the Cardinals earned their fourth consecutive postseason berth.
The Cardinals’ success came as a surprise to many, especially after a strange 2021 offseason which saw a popular manager and 2021 NL Manager of the Year finalist Mike Schildt fired.
It was a surprise to many to see Schildt go. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made the decision citing “philosophical differences.” Mozeliak promoted Marmol from bench coach.
Mozeliak’s gamble on Oliver Marmol pays off
He took a gamble on a neophyte with just four years of coaching experience at the major league level. What did the youngest manager in Major League Baseball do? He exceeded all expectations.
Heading into the regular season, many experts predicted that the Brewers would win the NL Central handily. The Cardinals had a 38.2 percent chance of making it to the playoffs, the lowest among the eventual postseason teams in the NL. The Brew Crew had an 87.7 percent chance, according to FanGraphs.
St. Louis finished ahead of Milwaukee by seven games. This is even more impressive when you consider that Marmol was just 35 years old when taking over as the manager of one of the most storied franchises in baseball.
Tasked with leading a roster of players at varying levels of experience, Marmol brought the best out of everyone on his team. That included future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who provided a memorable run to finish the season and, ultimately, his career.
Exceeding all expectations, “The Machine” reached the 700 home run mark, a feat only three other players have accomplished.
Young and old thrived under Oliver Marmol
NL Rookie of the Year finalist Brendan Donovan blossomed under Marmol. Resembling the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon that moved all over the place, the 25-year-old Donovan played seven of the nine positions this season.
Marmol also managed a pair of NL MVP candidates in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. Arenado secured his 10th consecutive Gold Glove award. Goldschmidt nearly secured the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
Even Cardinals lifers Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina experienced memorable seasons with the team. I repeat the question: what more could Oliver Marmol have done to be a finalists for NL Manager of the Year?
If exceeding all expectations as the youngest skipper in the game isn’t enough to make you a Manager of the Year finalist, what will?
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