As it currently stands, 21 of the MLB’s current 30 Managers spent time on the major league level, with the other nine playing professionally, but never getting a call to the Show. The coaches who never played in the majors were Brandon Hyde, John Schneider, Pedro Grifol, Matt Quatraro, Brian Snitker, Buck Showalter, Rob Thomson, Derek Shelton, and Oliver Marmol.
This article will be taking a look at the ten current National League managers who spent time in the Major Leagues. From All-Star appearances to World Series rings to historically bad statistics, these Managers have covered just about everything in their playing careers, so why not rank them?
These rankings will be evaluated based on statistics, achievements, and career longevity, all categories which will determine where each coach is placed.
Ranking the Current NL Managers Based on Their Playing Careers
10. Torey Lovullo – Arizona Diamondbacks
Over his eight-year career with a staggering seven teams as a utility player, Torey Lovullo made little impression during his time as a player, having poor stats and few accomplishments. Only appearing in more than 100 games once, Lovullo posted a career .224 batting average and a -0.9 WAR while playing for the Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, Indians, and Phillies.
The now Diamond Backs manager bounced from the minors to the majors frequently, never really getting his footing at the highest level, only having one full season in MLB. As the coach of the Diamondbacks beginning in 2017, Lovullo has made a playoff appearance, winning a wild-card game and taking home NL Manager of the Year honors the same season of his hiring.
9. Bob Melvin – San Diego Padres
As a catcher, Bob Melvin spent time with seven different teams during his 10-year Major League career where he played behind the plate. Never putting up numbers consistent enough to become a regular starting player, Melvin usually played in around a little less than half of the games in a regular season, never breaking 100 in a single season.
Over his career, Melvin had 456 hits, a .233 batting average, and a 2.5 WAR. Defensively, Melvin was very sound, in 1987 catching 42.9% of people who tried to steal a base off him, just so happening to be the second-best percentage in the National League that year.
Though Melvin never made a huge splash as a player, as a manager the opposite could be argued as he has been a manager for 20 years and has won Manager of the Year three different times with three different teams, the Diamondbacks, the Athletics, and the Padres.
8. Dave Roberts – Los Angeles Dodgers
As an outfielder for the Indians, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Padres, and the Giants, Dave Roberts was known mainly for his speed, stealing 243 bases during his 10-year career.
Arguably his most iconic steal came in Game 4 of the ALCS between the Red Sox and the Yankees, where the Yankees were up three games to none. The game was 4-3 in the ninth inning, Roberts pinch ran for Kevin Millar who had been walked, where he promptly stole second base and later scored the tying run off a single from Bill Mueller. The Red Sox would pull off one of the most incredible comebacks of all time, eventually winning the series and going on to ultimately win the World Series.
During his time in the majors, Roberts had a .708 OPS and a .266 batting average, with 721 hits, while scoring 437 runs. The Dodgers manager since 2016, he has had a successful stretch, winning three NL pennants, a World Series in 2020, and taking home NL Manager of the Year honors in 2016.
7. Skip Schumaker – Miami Marlins
A solid outfielder and second baseman with the Cardinals, Reds, and Dodgers, Skip Schumaker had a few very productive years with St. Louis, even winning the World Series with them in 2011.
In both 2008 and 2009, Schumaker batted over .300 while playing in 153 games in each of those seasons, while also being in the top 10 for singles hit in the NL in those back-to-back years. Through his 11-year career Schumaker, who spent eight of those years with the Cardinals totaled 905 hits a .278 batting average, and a .701 OPS.
He is now the manager of the Marlins, where he has served in that position since the beginning of the 2023 season.
6. Bud Black – Colorado Rockies
The first and only pitcher on this list, Bud Black was very up and down during his 15-year career, having some great years, but also having less-than-stellar years.
Black won the 1985 World Series with the Royals, playing in two games. As referred to earlier, Black was a very volatile player. In 1984, he had the league’s best WHIP at 1.128 and going 17-12, but that next year his WHIP jumped to 1.337, while posting a 10-15 record.
In 1991 while playing with the Giants, he lead the league in losses at 16, but despite the significant amount of losses he amassed, he still managed to post a 121-116 record for his career, with a 1.267 WHIP and a 3.84 ERA. As the current manager of the Rockies since 2017 and earlier being the manager of the Padres from 2007-2015, he has won Manager of the Year once in 2010 but has a losing career Managerial record as of the writing of this article.
5. David Bell – Cincinnati Reds
Coming from a family of baseball players, both his dad, grandfather, and brother all playing professionally, David Bell had a long career with six different franchises over 12 years.
Bell was a solid defensive player, placing in the top 10 for defensive WAR three times, twice in the American League and once in the National League. Offensively he was pretty good too, having 1,239 hits and 123 home runs on a .257 batting average, along with a 15.2 WAR.
Notably, Bell hit for the cycle in 2004 while playing for the Phillies, but what made it extra special was that his Grandfather, Gus Bell, had hit for the cycle during his playing career, making the pair the first grandson and grandfather pair to hit for the cycle.
David Bell is now the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, where he has held that position since 2019, appearing in the playoffs once in 2020 as a Wild Card team.
4. David Ross – Chicago Cubs
Commonly known for his 2016 World Series heroics where he hit a home run in Game 7 of that series for the Cubs and helped the team go on to win that game, David Ross was a catcher in MLB for 15 years.
He does have a smaller number of hits, at 521, and a lower batting average, at .229 than some people who have worse spots on this list, but his OPS of .739, his career longevity, and two World Series wins boost him a fair amount. Ross won the World Series with the Cubs in 2016 but also won in 2013 with the Red Sox. During his time with the Cubs, he managed to catch a no-hitter from Jake Arrieta in 2016.
Since 2020 Ross has been the manager of the Chicago Cubs, appearing in the playoffs a single time, in 2020, losing in the Wild Card to the Marlins.
3. Gabe Kapler – San Francisco Giants
In just his third season in the league, Gabe Kapler managed to break the Texas Ranger’s hitting streak record with 28 games while having a .302 batting average and a .833 OPS. However, things didn’t get much better than that for Kapler who never was able to replicate those same numbers, seeing a decline in his production as time went on, his career batting average standing at .268 and his OPS at .749, over his 12-year career.
In 2004, he was on the Red Sox World Series-winning roster, a season in which he appeared in his career-high 136 games. Along with playing for the Rangers and Red Sox, Kapler would make appearances with the Tigers, Rays, Brewers, and Rockies.
Now that his playing career is over, Kapler has served as the manager of both the Phillies and the Giants, who he has been coaching since 2020 and won NL Manager of the Year, his first season with the team.
2. Dave Martinez – Washington Nationals
Dave Martinez never won a World Series as a player or made an All-Star appearance, but he did have a lengthy 16-year Major League career where he had 1599 hits, a 19.1 WAR, and a .730 OPS.
Martinez played for a staggering nine teams during his time in MLB and would be in the top 10 four different times for triples in a season for the National League twice and the American League twice. As touched upon earlier, Martinez bounced around the league playing for the Cubs, Expos, Devil Rays, White Sox, Giants, Braves, Rangers, Reds, and Blue Jays.
A utility player, Martinez was never a consistent starting player, as he lacked a great deal of power, only hitting 91 career home runs, but had a decent career OBP at .341. Martinez has gone on to win a World Series as the manager of the Washington Nationals, in 2019, but has struggled to lead his team to much success since that playoff run.
1. Craig Counsell – Milwaukee Brewers
A two-time World Series champion, once with the Marlins, the other with the Diamondbacks. Before the Diamondbacks went on to win the World Series, Craig Counsell was the winner of the NLCS MVP in 2001 where he went eight for twenty-one with a .381 batting average during the series.
Aside from having a great deal of success in the postseason, Counsell had a long career, playing for 16 seasons with five teams, the Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Brewers. Counsell was a utility infielder playing at shortstop, second base, and third, ranking 63rd all-time in Defensive WAR. Over his over Counsell racked up 1208 hits a .255 batting average and a 22.4 WAR.
Now, Counsell is the manager of the team he formerly played for, the Brewers, where he has held the position since 2015. He lead the team to the playoffs four years in a row, from 2018 to 2021.
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