When you lose all but 64 games in a 162 game season, choosing a winner for Best Director is harder than in previous seasons. With the shakeup in the coaching staff, several coaches who have been revered for years like Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, find themselves in new roles. Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans were not able to fix the problems during the season and manager Bruce Bochy at the end of the season had 98 losses attached to his name.
Despite a down season, the Giants had very little turmoil in the locker room and hardly anything negative was ever made public. For a team that nearly lost 100 games, that is pretty remarkable. While no award should be given for that feat, this season could have been much worse had Bochy not been able to manage the locker room.
As 2017 began, Smith was already out with Tommy John surgery, Moore was the worst starter in the National League and Span was the worst defensive center fielder in baseball. Nunez, who ended up having a strong year, was traded to Boston and Cueto couldn’t seem to stay healthy. Samardzija was the only addition from 2016 that had any kind of consistency in 2017.
Then, when you add the big splash addition of Mark Melancon, and the mighty struggles he had in 2017 to be consistent and stay healthy, it seemed like a perfect storm for Evans.
While he did add Sam Dyson, there was little to cheer about last season with the moves made by the general manager.
The only pitching coach Matt Cain ever knew was the team’s pitching coach for 19 seasons. Despite being moved into a front office role after the season, Righetti’s resume alone merits consideration for this award. His ability to be the calm during the storm for personalities like Madison Bumgarner, Cain, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Jonathan Sanchez and more proves just how invaluable he was for so many years.
The winner this season is a little bit outside conventional thinking, but in a year where the team struggled so much at the major league level, this award should go to someone who went outside their comfort zone and found a star.
Heliot Ramos, the team’s first round draft pick in June, is already considered one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. With the 17th pick in the draft, the Giants found a player who has leapfrogged his entire draft class as the only member of the class to be named.
If the Giants are going to turn their fortunes around in the long term, it might begin when Ramos steps into the batter’s box at AT&T park for the first time.
For that reason alone, John Barr is the WINNER of the 2017 Giants Oscar for Best Director.