Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will be managing his seventh big league season in 2013. He managed the Marlins from 2006-2009, and of course, the Braves in 2011 and 2012.
The 2013 Atlanta Braves season will bring Gonzalez’s biggest expectations ever as a major league manager.
Gonzalez has been good in his big league managing career. As I noted in an earlier Atlanta Bullpen article that compared his record as Braves manager to Bobby Cox, Gonzalez has a .565 win percentage in Atlanta.
What you may not know about the managerial record Gonzalez has compiled in the major leagues, is how consistent he has been, particularly the past four seasons. Maybe not outstanding, but consistent.
Gonzalez finished third in the National Manager of the Year Award in 2008, seventh in 2009, fifth in 2011, and fourth in 2012. If he can win the award in 2013 it will probably mean that the Braves have beaten out the Washington Nationals to win the Eastern Division.
Gonzalez has never won a division title in the major leagues. He has finished fifth, third, second, fourth, second and second. To use horse racing terminology, he has shown once and placed three times, but no wins.
The Braves need Gonzalez to be outstanding in 2013. In Gonzalez’s own words, the 2013 Braves are the most talented team he will have ever managed. But the Nationals are everyone’s favorite to win the Eastern Division, division rival Philadelphia still has an outstanding starting rotation and sock in the middle of their line-up, and NL competitor Cincinnati is loaded. The path to the 2013 World Series is extremely challenging.
Based on the excellent way he handled his pitching staff, and massaged his batting order in 2012, I think Gonzalez can guide the Braves to the Eastern Division championship, and take Atlanta deep into the playoffs in 2013. But he will have to be outstanding in 2013 in addition to consistent.