But as creative as I felt he'd been with his lineup, he owed a lot to having a rotation that was every bit as good as the Phillies, and was perhaps deeper, providing that much more freedom of action to take chances—could I credit Bochy with all of that, when so much relied on the presence of five quality starting pitchers? I decided he was my third-place vote.I don't want to argue the vote (she went Black/Baker/Bochy, and that's fair enough), but I want to argue with the notion that five quality starting pitchers just happened. Sure, they all arrived with plenty of talent. But how many talented pitchers never transition to rotation starter? Bochy inherited Cain, so he only gets "do no harm" credit there. And Zito? Who knows -- I never thought he'd be as "good" as he was this year, but then again at best he's been where reasonable expectations would have put him during his time with Bochy and the Giants (no, upper managements' expectations were not reasonable).
However, Bochy surely gets a bit of credit for transitioning the Freak from prospect to star. I'd say he gets quite a lot of credit for riding with Sanchez to get to this point. That one, at least, has involved some pretty active, visible, managing, as seen by the quick hook in the playoffs (yes, that one doesn't count towards the award, but he'd been at it when needed all year). And he gets credit for elevating Bumgarner in the middle of a pennant race. We all know there are plenty of managers who would have resisted it.
Now, of course one cannot prove anything in these sorts of cases; it's not like IBB or pitch out or bunt stats. But I do believe that managers differ on their skills in helping pitchers transition from prospect to rotation regular, and if we don't quite want to say that the results speak for themselves, let's just say they're highly suggestive. And were I voting, I'd have given Bochy quite a bit of credit for those five guys..