Terry Francona – Cleveland Indians
Francona started his managerial career with the Phillies from 1997 through 2000 and never won more than 77 games in a season. After three seasons away from managing, Francona built his resume in eight seasons with the Red Sox, winning the World Series twice and 90-plus games a season six times. Two seasons later, Francona was back on the bench running the Indians. He took the Indians to the World Series in 2016 and 102 wins in 2017. Francona combines old-school theories with new school analytics and gets respect from his team. The MLB odds for the Indians winning the World Series are currently at 35/1.
Craig Counsell – Milwaukee Brewers
Counsell was an aggressive, versatile utility man as a player and has incorporated that style into his managing. He posted a winning record each season from 2017 to 2019 with a high of 96 wins in 2018. Counsell has led the Brewers to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons despite having a less talented roster than other teams in the division. The development of Christian Yelich during Counsell’s time as manager has been monumental. The odds for the Brewers winning the World Series are at 22/1.
Kevin Cash – Tampa Bay Rays
In his seventh-season as manager of the Rays, Cash has won at least 90 games in back-to-back seasons. That’s a particularly impressive feat going up against the Yankees and the Red Sox in the difficult AL East. The Rays advanced to the ALCS under his leadership. Cash is very innovative with strategies involving four-man rotations, platoons, and shifts. The Rays’ odds to win the World Series are currently at 25/1.
Joe Girardi – Philadelphia Phillies
Girardi took over the Marlins in 2006 and two years later started a 10-year run with the Yankees. He led the team to a World Series title in 2009 and the postseason six season. Despite the Yankees exceeding expectations during Girardi’s run, he was criticized for not developing young players. Now in Philadelphia, the Phillies have underperformed somewhat, but his time in the city is still relatively young. Girardi’s resume lands him in the top five and the Phillies are currently at 40/1 to win the World Series.
AJ Hinch – Detroit Tigers
Despite an 18-30 record this season, AJ Hinch has a great resume after leading the Houston Astros rebuilding process to three consecutive 100-win seasons. In addition, the Astros won two pennants and a World Series. The only negative is that Hinch got banned for a season in 2020 for the sign-stealing scandal. Hinch is back as manager in Detroit to rebuild a team that is currently a 150/1 longshot to win the World Series.
Alex Cora – Boston Red Sox
After a year away from the game due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal, the Red Sox are again contenders. The Red Sox was 108 games and a World Series under Cora in 2018. There is a slight rebuilding process while Chris Sale is recovering from injury. Nevertheless, Cora proved himself to be a top-tier manager that combines old school and new school strategies. The Red Sox are currently at 20/1 to win the World Series.