On the heels of a breakthrough 2020 season, three of the individuals who played a role in the Padres' historic summer are earning recognition from those who cover the game.
Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth and Jayce Tingler will be in the running when the Baseball Writers' Association of America announces its award winners next week.
Machado's late season surge secured him a spot as a finalist for National League Most Valuable Player.
The 28-year-old third baseman bounced back from an underwhelming first year in San Diego, hitting .304 with a .950 OPS this season. Machado ranked third in the NL in RBI (47), tied for third in homers (16), and finished fourth with 68 hits. He was previously named a Gold Glove finalist.
On August 17 Machado's batting average sat at .200. He responded with five straight multi-hit games including his part in the team's 'Slam Diego' streak - a grand slam against the Rangers on August 19. That blast began a stretch of eight games in which he hit six home runs. By the end of the month is average rose to .303.
He followed that up with a .305 mark in September, going deep five times and driving in 17 runs.
While he surged, previous MVP favorite Fernando Tatis Jr. cooled off. The second-year phenom was not named a finalist for the award - with Mookie Betts of the Dodgers and Freddie Freeman of the Braves getting the nod instead.
Tatis' strong start to the season helped put the Padres in playoff contention. He finished 2020 ranked second in the NL in runs (50) and homers (17), while sitting fourth in RBI (45) and stolen bases (11). Despite not being named a finalist for Gold Glove, El Niño tied for the Major League lead in outs above average (7).
After hitting .313 with a 1.055 OPS through August, Tatis' saw those marks drop to .277 and .937 by season's end.
MLB's Most Valuable Players will be named on November 12. Ken Caminiti is the only San Diego player to have taken home the award. The slugging third baseman did so in 1996.
Machado, like the rest of us, also had to get acclimated to a new skipper. This time last year we were just getting to know Jayce Tingler. Now he's a finalist for National League Manager of the Year.
The rookie skipper guided the team to its highest win percentage in club history (.617). Tingler helped the Padres post a winning record for the first time since 2010; reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006; and win a postseason series for the first time since 1998.
The 39-year-old navigated an unprecedented year - from the shutdown of spring training in March, to a second round of spring training and a shortened season played through COVID-19. He and his club had to adjust to a new routine and set of protocols.
In their first season together, Tingler and his experienced coaching staff helped key players like Wil Myers, Machado, Tatis, Eric Hosmer and Dinelson Lamet make notable improvements.
The last Padre to win the award was Bud Black in 2010. Tingler is in contention along with Don Mattingly of the Marlins and David Ross of the Cubs. Major League Baseball will announce its Manager of the Year winners on November 10.
Tingler's tenure started with a major question mark at second base. In 2020 Jake Cronenworth provided a clear answer. Because of his efforts, the second baseman was named a finalist for National League Rookie of the Year.
The 26-year-old came to San Diego as part of the team's trade with the Rays for Tommy Pham. He became a fixture in the infield, and led NL rookies in runs, doubles and triples. Cronenworth finished second in hits, RBI and walks.
Most of his damage came in August, when he hit .355 with 1.021 OPS. All four of his homers and 16 of his 20 RBI came in the first full month of the regular season.
Benito Santiago is the last Padres player to win Rookie of the Year, doing so in 1987.
Cronenworth is one of three finalists for the award, along with Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm and Brewers reliever Devin Williams. The winner will be announced November 9.
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