2022 MLB Manager Of The Year: Brandon Hyde
As postseason honors rolled in for Orioles manager Brandon Hyde following Baltimore’s 31-win improvement in 2022, players and coaches found their congratulatory messages reflected back.
“You guys are the ones who did it,” Hyde told them.
The same goes for the 2022 Baseball America Major League Manager of the Year. It’s another honor for Hyde that he believes validates the comprehensive efforts undertaken to turn the Orioles around.
“I think that it’s a credit to everybody that people are recognizing that what we did this year is special,” Hyde said.
It was a long time coming. Hyde was hired to lead the rebuilding club ahead of the 2019 season because executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias valued his background both in player development and major league coaching with the Marlins and Cubs. Elias also valued the parallel rebuild experience of Hyde’s Cubs and his own Astros.
In that sense, the early challenges were expected. Hyde kept his priorities straight as losses mounted. The Orioles had a .341 winning percentage from 2019 to 2021, bookended by 108- and 110-loss seasons.
In that time, Hyde established his processes for communicating with coaches to best prepare for every scenario before and during games, and he strove to create a positive clubhouse insulated from on-field struggles.
“For me, coaching hasn’t changed in a lot of ways, from a standpoint of what’s important,” Hyde said. “What’s important is the ability to motivate your players, the ability to have good relationships with players and coaches, to be prepared on a nightly basis, to have a good atmosphere and create a great clubhouse.
“For me, those are all staples that are important no matter what year it is—to have a good vibe with your team. I feel like even in our tough years, we did as well as we possibly could in a really tough situation with trying to stay positive. I give a lot of credit to our coaching staff for that, for not making it a miserable place to play.”
Those efforts paid off as performance improved in 2022. Top prospect Adley Rutschman’s May 21 debut is largely seen as the start of that, but Hyde believes the club’s upgrades in the relief corps and in the field set the stage.
Now, the processes in place to go over managerial moves featured more options, particularly in the bullpen. Unlike in years past, the players delivered, and trust grew on the foundation Hyde and his staff had built.
“When your bullpen is pitching well, it gives your team a ton of confidence, because you feel like if we do our job to get a lead or do our job to keep the lead close, we’re going to have a chance to win,” Hyde said.
The Orioles were 23-24 in one-run games after going 31-58 in them the previous three years. They also stayed in games more often, with 96 of 253 losses in Hyde’s first three seasons coming by five runs or more. They lost by that margin 19 times in 2022.
It’s sadly common for clubs to right the ship after a rebuild, then replace the manager who endured the losing seasons. Hyde has avoided that fate.
The Orioles spent the last few seasons creating philosophical and practical continuity between the majors and their player development departments, and are maintaining that continuity with Hyde at the helm.
Hyde said: “I appreciate the patience, (first) from the fanbase, but Mike honestly has had more patience sometimes than me in certain instances throughout the last couple years.
“For him to be a nice sounding board for me during tough times, and him showing patience with the team and him being forward-thinking, I’ve appreciated that. He’s given me the opportunity to grow as a manager.”
Elias believes the recognition coming Hyde’s way is just the baseball world seeing what he has seen all along.
“This is the year that people are noticing what a talented manager we have in Baltimore, but for me, this has been four years,” Elias said at the end of the season. “We’ve been very process-oriented. He’s been working with the front office to build the entire organization, so this isn’t something that’s new for me in 2022.”
Hyde’s American League managerial peers agreed. They voted him No. 2 Best Manager in AL Best Tools voting during the 2022 season.
“He’s gotten national attention, and rightfully so, for the performance of the team and, for me, more so the style of play that I think we see from these players,” Elias said. “I think this is a good year for him to win (awards), but in my mind, it’s for the last four years and, hopefully, many more.”