The Outstanding Manager award is of course given out at the end of the season, just like all the other awards, however, it differs mightily from the others in one big way - Everyone knows this award is won at least 50% in the offseason.
With the offseason a little over halfway complete, most rosters are either completely full or are getting pretty close to how their going to look come Opening Day in June. With that, here's a look at the Top 10 management people that seem to be leading the race for Outstanding Manager in JAL 16.
1. Josh Wall (Sasquatches minority owner, general manager)
Wall has orchestrated his complete re-building of this franchise (underwent branding change from "Fog" last season) by signing three rookies: Jared Neiman, Dalton Carter, and Brandon Koenig, all of whom have substantial athletic backgrounds. It's most likely that at least 1/3 of them will pay off into a good player. Wall also went ahead and re-signed Nick Proudfit from last season to add veteran experience. With 1 roster spot still open a relatively low expectations for this team going in, you have to like Wall's odds of "looking good" if this team competes for a playoff spot.
2. Brian Whitten (Bambinos majority owner)
Not only did Whitten re-sign the league MVP Colton Titus this offseason, he locked him up for 10 season. 10! If Titus has another MVP season that puts Whitten in the conversation for the award by default. Where Whitten really shines though, is his management of the game itself. Not many franchise managers (who don't play) also manage the game when as it's happening, but he does. Who's starting at pitcher, who's batting, and who's fielding are all decisions made by him and him only, which is rare in this league.
3. Erika Halverson (Lynx general manager)
Halverson won a highly competitive recruiting battle over rookie Ethan Perdue not long ago. His acquisition now makes the Lynx a pretty well rounded team if he lives up to the hype and has a good season. Halverson and the Lynx also cut ties with Asher VanHoof during this offseason. This season's Lynx team has a legit shot at the playoffs after two rough seasons in JAL 14-15.
4. Ryley Larson (Lawmen general manager)
For the same reasons that Josh Wall has a good shot at Outstanding Manager, the same applies to Larson. Besides signing himself to the roster, Larson is brining in 4 brand new rookies, all of whom play baseball. Hard to think none will pan out into decent players over the course of the season...
5. Aaron Deister (Wrecking Crew owner)
Deister was able to re-sign Sean Guthrie this offseason, who is a very big asset to the team. If Deister can simply make good game-management decisions this season about who is going to pitch what games between their dual aces of Coleman and Guthrie (which many people think he did a terrible job of last season) he will have a chance for this award as long as the team is looking like a contender.
6. Anthony Nusbaum (Waves owner) --- biggest reasoning: acquired Taite Kleine
7. Kyle Godinho (Express general manager) --- biggest reasoning: will manage pitching rotation/positions during games for contender level team
8. Ty Johnson (Rapids general manager) --- biggest reasoning: will manage pitching rotation/positions during games for playoff level team
9. James French (Bison majority owner) --- biggest reasoning: singed rookie Adam Luoto, cut Mikel Skreen
10. Austin Ryan (Lawmen owner) --- biggest reasoning: hired general manager Ryley Larson