Buck Showalter has been known to turn around the teams he manages in his second full season. He turned the Yankees from a 76 win team to an 88 win team, the D’Backs from 64 wins to 100, the Rangers from 71 to 89 and, of course, the Orioles from 69 to 93.
The downside is that in his third full season, Showalter’s teams have slipped back to their original records. The Yankees fell to 70 wins in the strike shortened 1994 season, the Diamondbacks slipped 15 games to 85 wins in 2000 and the Rangers came down 10 games to 79 wins in 2005.
Vegas set the Orioles over/under win total at 76 1/2 wins for 2013, which would be a 16 1/2 game slide from their 2012 record. Of course, the O’s Pythagorean record last season was 82-80 and they weren’t exactly the sexy pick this year after their performance in extra inning games and one-run record.
Numbers aside, everyone close to Showalter says that comparing this Buck to the Buck of old just isn’t fair. Yahoo’s Les Carpenter wrote a great piece on Showalter during the O’s playoff run that detailed how he’s changed since 2006.
Many have alluded that Showalter’s teams have declined later in his tenure because his message got lost with his teams. Showalter was famously known for being overly controlling and his former players said he treated them like children. Orioles players have assured fans that’s not the case anymore.
If you believe — like I do — that Showalter has taken his experience and learned over the years how to be a better manager, then stats like one above don’t worry you. And if you don’t, Showalter is signed through 2018, so tough luck.