New York Mets Manager Mickey Calloway looks at his team during one of the first workouts of Spring Training (Courtesy: Alejandra Villa/ Newsday)
By Mike Ricchione
The first month and more of the season is complete.
There have been a lot of new faces and returning faces as well around the league as there was a good chunk of teams looking for new managers.
The Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers and now the Reds have new managers.
How has each new skipper fared? Time to find out below.
Let’s start with the top of the class.
1. Alex Cora – Boston Red Sox: A+
Alex Cora poses for photos after a Nov. 6 press conference when he was introduced as the new Red Sox manager (Courtesy: Associated Press/Michael Dwyer)
Alex Cora’s Red Sox own the best record in baseball.
He’s obviously doing something right here.
Cora played for the Red Sox from part of 2005-2008. In 2007, he was a World Series Champion with Boston.
Cora might turn out to be the right guy. He’s pulling all the right strings in the first month and he probably will continue to do so.
Cora knows this market. He knows what it’s like to play for a team with such devoted fans. He knows what the fans expect from this team, another World Series title.
Don’t doubt for a second that Cora won’t push his players to perform at the standards that Red Sox fans expect.
2. Mickey Calloway – New York Mets: A
Mickey Calloway during the Opening Day Ceremonies on March 29, 2018, as his Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals (Courtesy: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey)
Mickey Calloway has been able to get 100% out of his players throughout the first month.
Pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have been on the top of their game, second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera is leading the Mets in hitting and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is leading the team in Home Runs and Runs Batted In.
The only blips have been Pitchers Jason Vargas, Matt Harvey who was designated for assignment and the bullpen as they have been on a cold streak.
Right now, Callaway needs to continue to push the best from his players and go back to the drawing board to figure out how the bullpen will succeed and how they’re going to attack the Atlanta Braves after dropping a three-game series at home with their two top starters pitching.
3. Gabe Kapler – Philadelphia Phillies: B
Gabe Kapler walks back to the dugout after yet another pitching change in their opening series against the Atlanta Braves (Courtesy: Associated Press/Todd Kirkland)
If this was written after the first week of the season, Gabe Kapler would get an F.
It was just so hard to watch the Philadelphia Phillies in the first week.
Kapler took Aaron Nola out with a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning on Opening Day. It wasn’t like Nola was hurt or his pitch count was too high. Nola had been cruising. The Phillies went on to lose that game.
In that same series, Kapler called on Hoby Milner to pitch, Milner still had on his jacket. He didn’t even throw a single pitch from the bullpen.
That is just unacceptable.
However, Kapler managed to fight through that first week and has been able to put together a really good ballclub ever since.
Right now, the Phillies are at 18-14, good for second place in the National League East, only one game behind first-place Atlanta.
4. Ron Gardenhire – Detroit Tigers: B
Ron Gardenhire taking pictures as he is introduced as the Detroit Tigers Manager. (Courtesy: Getty Images)
Give Ron Gardenhire credit.
He was handed absolute crap and he is keeping this team afloat … so far.
Through one month plus, Gardenhire has this team only four games below .500 and 2.5 games back of the defending division champion, Cleveland Indians.
Good for Ron, he is making a strong return as manager. Hopefully, he’ll stay with this team in a few years where they should emerge.
5. Aaron Boone – New York Yankees: B
Aaron Boone during his first series as New York Yankees manager in Toronto (Courtesy: Pete Caldera/Northjersey)
Aaron Boone has nearly all the cylinders working now.
Sonny Gray is on a roll, and they just took three out of four from the defending World Series Champion, Houston Astros.
Before losing game one in that series, the Yankees won nine straight and it wasn’t against cupcakes either.
They took their last two games in their last series against Toronto in the Bronx, swept their four-game series against the Twins (also at home) and then proceeded to travel 2,791 miles to sweep the Angels with no off-day.
The reason why Boone is at a B is because of the slow start for Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez and because the Yankees aren’t in first place.
But they’re only a half a game back with the Red Sox coming into town after their weekend series against the Indians which should be fun to watch.
6. Dave Martinez – Washington Nationals: D
Dave Martinez gets introduced as the new Nationals manager (Courtesy: Geoff Burke/USA Today)
No one expected this start for the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals are at .500 and in fourth place in the NL East.
Maybe it would be expected on April 1 or 2 but not May 5.
The only reason why Dave Martinez doesn’t receive an F is that we’re in the first month. We still have plenty of baseball to play and plus, they did just have a six-game winning streak that was snapped May 5 at the hands of the Phillies.
Who knows, maybe we have just seen the turning point of the 2018 Nationals
7. Jim Riggleman – Cincinnati Reds: No Grade
Jim Riggleman talks with the home plate umpire during his managerial debut. (Courtesy: Dilip Vishwanat/WCPO Cincinnati)
Jim Riggleman was named interim manager for the Reds after then-manager Bryan Price led the team to a 4-18 start.
Right now, Riggleman is 4-7 as manager which right now isn’t so bad unless the Reds lose 11 straight.
However, it doesn’t feel right to grade Riggleman through 11 games considering the other managers were graded with a whole month plus under their belts.
Mike Ricchione is an aspiring sports media personality. Right now, he is a Color Analyst for High School Baseball broadcasting for the Lawrence Cardinals (Lawrenceville, New Jersey) on 107.7 The Bronc. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeRicchione to keep up with his projects.