Lovullo honored as NL Manager of Year

Lovullo honored as NL Manager of Year

PHOENIX -- Lauded by players for his communication skills, Torey Lovullo led the D-backs to a complete turnaround in 2017, and for that he was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday.

Lovullo totaled 18 of the 30 first-place votes to easily outdistance Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the 2016 winner, who received five first-place votes. Another first-year manager, Bud Black of the Rockies, finished third in the balloting.

The D-backs finished 69-93 in 2016 but improved to 93-69 and captured the top NL Wild Card spot in Lovullo's first season.

NL Manager of the Year voting
Torey Lovullo, ARI 18 5 6 111
Dave Roberts, LAD 5 8 6 55
Bud Black, COL 3 6 10 43
Craig Counsell, MIL 3 4 6 33
Dusty Baker, WSH 1 6 2 25
Joe Maddon, CHC   1   3
Name, team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts

Arizona beat Colorado in the NL Wild Card Game before falling to Los Angeles in the NL Division Series.

Although it's his name on the award, Lovullo said it doesn't belong to just him.

"It's an organizational thing is how I'm viewing it," Lovullo said. "Without ownership as strong as it is, without the front office and the relationship I have with them, without the coaches and the players, I'm not sitting here. A lot goes on behind the scenes that nobody knows about. The final piece of that whole puzzle is the players go out and perform at the level they do, and that's why I'm sitting here today."

One regret Lovullo has is that his late father, Sam, is not around to share the moment with him.

Sam Lovullo, a producer and co-creator of the television show "Hee Haw," passed away in January.

All-time NL Manager of the Year winners

"It's a sad thing that he's not here right now to see this or watch this type of year unfold," Lovullo said. "There are times where I miss calling him or maybe getting a chance to say, 'I love you.' Those moments hurt. But I know that he knows that. I know that he's watching me right now and he's very proud of me. I take great comfort in knowing that."

Lovullo on winning MOY

When he was hired last November, Lovullo made an immediate impression on D-backs personnel. Not only did he contact each of his players, he called the team's support staff.

"I think the difference for us is communication," outfielder David Peralta said, "and the way he came to us in the beginning and said, 'Hey, we're just going to play as a team. We're going to be a big family.' He's communicated about whatever moves he's going to do and everything. I think we can appreciate that. He brings a lot of energy, good energy, good vibes, and that's good. You can feel it. As a whole team, you can feel it. That's why our clubhouse is more like a family room."

Although Lovullo was technically a first-year big league manager in 2017, he had plenty of experience leading teams.

He began his managerial career in 2002 with Class A Columbus, and he paid his dues by spending nine years in the Minors before joining the Blue Jays' big league coaching staff in 2011.

He followed John Farrell from Toronto to Boston in 2013, and in '15, he managed 48 games while Farrell was on medical leave.

"Never did I ever think I was going to be good enough or I'd be a manager or be sitting in this seat to have a chance to say, 'I'm the National League Manager of the Year,'" Lovullo said.

Turns out that was one of the few things he was wrong about in 2017.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.