The NL Manager of the Year race is clear cut at the top - not the case in the AL, where the teams leading each division outperformed expectations this season. None of the division-winning Managers are the favorite for the award, though. Here's my 2016 AL Manager of the Year ballot:

5. Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians

There was nothing particularly noteworthy about Cleveland's path to the AL Central title, and that's probably just how Terry Francona wanted it. Francona disappeared a bit after leaving the Red Sox, who he led to their first championships in a century, but he's firmly entrenched as Cleveland's best manager in franchise history.

4. Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers

Jeff Banister won this award in his first season at the helm in Arlington in 2015, so he's unlikely to take it for a second straight season. That being said, the Rangers dominated the American League for the entire season, weathered the storm of Prince Fielder's neck injury and subsequent retirement, and are in line to make a run in the playoffs.

3. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees

At the beginning of the season, Joe Girardi was on the hot seat with the Yankees severely under-performing expectations and forcing a mid-season fire sale of all of their best players. Then, they had to expel Alex Rodriguez, a perennial pariah. Somehow Girardi took this deck of hands and led the Yankees back into the playoff conversation, although they fell short of making the postseason.

2. John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

Last season, the Red Sox finished last in the AL East. This year, they'll finish first thanks to the steady hand of John Farrell, who had to manage the rise of young players like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. while allowing David Ortiz to enjoy his retirement tour, which he did by having one of his best years ever.

Mission accomplished.

1. Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles will at least have a chance to play in the postseason at the end of the weekend, all thanks to Buck Showalter, who managed all season without any solid rotation to speak of. He turned outcast hitters into home run machines (Mark Trumbo) and Zach Britton into the best closer in baseball.

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