Clint Hurdle is a finalist for the NL Manager of the Year award, along with Bruce Bochy and Matt Williams, MLB has announced.
Hurdle won the award last year and probably won't win it again, since the Pirates weren't as good of a story the second time around. (I'm not saying that's right, just that it will probably be a factor.) But he again warrants serious consideration. Hurdle probably had an even better season in 2014 than he did in 2013, at least until the Wild Card game. He made strong, quiet tactical decisions overall and again led a team that won more games than its talent suggested it would.
Part of that was that by all accounts, Hurdle and his staff worked well with the Pirates' analytics department. The Bucs won praise throughout the season for incorporating sabermetrics into their on-field strategy. The Rangers' hiring of Hurdle's underling Jeff Banister was a result of that, with Texas GM Jon Daniels saying the interview process taught him his organization was "below average in that department."
Also, Hurdle turned Josh Harrison into a starter and reaped the benefits as Harrison produced what appeared, on the outside, to be one of the least likely 5-WAR seasons of recent times. I can't comment on Bochy and Williams in nearly as much detail, but Hurdle is a deserving candidate for the award, just like he was last year.