The Braves had two pieces of their organization take home hardware on Wednesday; Brian Snitker was awarded Sporting News’ NL Manager of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Josh Donaldson captured the NL Comeback Player of the Year in his first season with the Braves.
Snitker was the obvious choice for Manager of the Year last season, leading the Braves out of nowhere to capture the NL East. As always, it’s much more challenging to repeat, but Snitker proved the critics wrong once again that thought Atlanta would take a step back after a surprise 2018. The Braves didn’t, coasting to their second consecutive NL East title and nearly 100 wins despite nobody picking them to win their division. It’s a prestigious honor, but I think Snitker will be the first one to say he would trade this in for some postseason success.
Josh Donaldson checked all the boxes for a Comeback Player of the Year. He entered the season off of back-to-back injury-shortened campaigns. Those injuries prevented him from receiving a multi-year contract at market value, so he settled for a one-year, prove-it deal in Atlanta, where he showcased why he is worth every penny.
Donaldson finished the season with a 6.1 bWAR – the highest mark on the Braves. He slugged for nearly 40 homers, recorded a .900 OPS, and keep in mind; he was rather pedestrian to begin 2019. From June through August, Donaldson was the best player in the National League. He’s 100% worthy of this award. Now, it’s up to the Braves to figure out how to re-sign him.
Mike Soroka was also up for the NL Rookie of the Year award. Unfortunately, he finished tied for third in the voting with Fernando Tatis Jr. Pete Alonso ran away with the award, while the Pirates’ Brian Reynolds came in second. That doesn’t take anything away from the marvelous campaign Soroka put together. He was arguably a top three pitcher in the National League at 22 years old. Most seasons, he’s the one running away with the award.