The Cincinnati Reds were projected, prior to the 2023 season, to win fewer than 70 games. In fact, most probably assumed this organization was headed for its second consecutive 100-loss season.
Reds fans, even before the season began, were calling for their skipper to be on the hot seat. Heck, some fans had already had enough and were ready to wave goodbye to David Bell after last year's debacle. Bell has heard the chatter and responded accordingly.
Bell has led the Reds to a place that nearly no one imagined the team would be in prior to the start of the 2023 season. Cincinnati is in the hunt for the NL Central Division crown and, with so much young talent, could be in the mix for a run at the postseason in 2023.
Who is David Bell's biggest competition for NL Manager of the Year?
David Bell has dealt with a plethora of injuries, and an incredibly crowded infield has forced the Cincinnati Reds manager to juggle playing time while still working to put a winning proudct on the field. Bell has, as he oftentimes does, dealt with both of these difficulties with patiences and grace.
Bell has been at the forefront of any discussion surrounding the National League Manager of the Year. But there are other qualified candidates who are following Bell's outline for success by taking their underrated ball clubs to the top of their respective divisions.
Arizona Diamondbacks manager, Torey Lovullo has done a phenomenal job this year as well. After winning just 74 games a year ago, Lovullo has his D-Backs firmly atop the NL West Division that features high-spending teams like the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.
Lovullo's leadership, in a similar mold to David Bell's, has sped up the Diamondbacks rebuild and Arizona is well positioned heading into the heat of the summer to be thorn in the side of the NL West competitors for the remainder of the 2023 season.
This race to win NL Manager of the Year is a two-horse race at the moment, and due to the difficulty of competing the juggernaut that is the NL West, Torey Lovullo probably holds a slight edge over David Bell.
Both of managers could find their team's making deep playoff runs, and the voters are going to have a tough task in front of them. Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker and Derek Shelton of the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in the mix as well.