After overseeing the Braves’ 18-win improvement in 2018, Snitker was named NL manager of the year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. This past winter, Baseball America named Snitker its 2020 manager of the year, crediting how he navigated injuries throughout the campaign. The Braves, despite a decimated rotation, finished 35-25 in the shortened season.
Snitker ranks fourth in Atlanta-era Braves victories, trailing Bobby Cox (2,058), Fredi Gonzalez (432) and Luman Harris (379). He’s one of two Braves managers to earn BBWAA manager of the year, joining Cox, his close friend and mentor.
Credit: Atlanta Braves
Braves manager Brian Snitker discusses first-time impressions in camp and how they carry over to regular season games.
Credit: Atlanta Braves
Notably, Snitker’s is a players’ manager. His clubhouses have been renowned for their togetherness and chemistry. Snitker is a primary reason the Braves’ culture is so commonly praised.
“He’s been there at every level, seen it from every angle possible,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “Whether it’s Double-A, Triple-A, third-base coach here, now the manager. He’s seen it from so many angles you get perspectives from every which way. It allows you to think and know what players like to do, how they see things. He’s grown as comfortable with us as we have him. The willingness to ask us about certain things, the direct dialogue. It’s been a fun working relationship.
“I know he cares tremendously about us off the field as people, which I think is a common characteristic for anybody who can connect with people. It’s more than just this job. You see him in the offseason some, always excited to see him. He’ll ask how you’re doing, how your family is doing, how Mal (Swanson’s girlfriend Mallory Pugh) would be doing. That stuff is important. We spend so much time together. We spend 162 games together and more days than that. You’re almost with them more than your family and significant others. It’s meaningful to have somebody like that.”
Now, Snitker’s Braves are trying for a fourth consecutive division title and the franchise’s first World Series title since 1995. The Braves have gone further in the playoffs each year under Snitker: They were ousted in Game 4 of the 2018 NL Division Series, eliminated in Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS, and fell short in Game 7 of the 2020 NLCS.
At this point, managing a World Series winner is the only item missing from Snitker’s resume. He’ll have the chance to change that in coming seasons.