In an annual ESPN survey of Major League Baseball executives, scouts, coaches and analysts, Scioscia was ranked the sixth-best overall manager, as well as the second-best tactician and third-best leader in the American League.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in baseball, has one World Series title in 16 years with the Angels but has not won a pennant since 2003. He is currently in the seventh season of a 10-year deal that has him under contract through the 2018 season.
On Monday, reports from Fox Sports detailed tensions between Scioscia and then-General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who wanted the long-time manager to embrace a more analytics-based game plan. Two days later, Dipoto resigned after owner Arte Moreno sided with Scioscia’s more old-school approach, according to sources.
Which makes Scioscia’s ranking as one of the top tacticians in the majors all the more surprising. The Angels had the second-fewest defensive shifts in the AL last season. This year, they have the third-most blown saves and the second-worst stolen base percentage in the AL.
Disagreement between Scioscia and the front office is nothing new. Dipoto’s predecessor, Tony Reagins, was often subject to Moreno’s and Scioscia’s demands, according to reports, and he also resigned, just after the end of the 2011 season.
But if the recent conflict between Dipoto and Scioscia demonstrated anything, it is that the manager has the support of Moreno and his players. According to the initial Fox Sports story, superstar first baseman Albert Pujols sided with Scioscia in a team meeting with Dipoto.
After finishing with the best record in the major leagues last year, Scioscia finished second in Manager of the Year voting, an award he has won twice. This year, the Angels sit second in the AL West, five games behind the Houston Astros.