Brian Snitker is NL's top manager after leading Braves to East title

Brian Snitker has been named National League Manager of the Year after guiding the Atlanta Braves to the team's first winning season, postseason berth and division title in five years.

Snitker, 63, is the first Braves manager since Bobby Cox in 2005 to be named manager of the year, and he accomplished the feat with a young club that many predicted to finish in the middle of the pack in the NL East.

Snitker, who has been a part of the Braves' organization for 42 years, led the big league club to a 90-72 season that ended with a loss in the NL Division Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He played in Atlanta's minor league system from 1977-80, then worked in the minors as a roving instructor (1981), a manager at rookie league (1996), Class A (1982-84, 1986-87, 1992, 1997-2001), Double-A (2002-05), Triple-A (2006, 2014-16) and a coach at rookie level (1993-94) and Class A (1995). He was with Atlanta as bullpen coach (1985 and 1988-90) and third-base coach (2007-13).

Snitker was managing at Triple-A Gwinnett when he took over the Braves in May 2016 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired for a 9-28 start. The Braves went 59-65 during the rest of the season, and Snitker was given the job full time.

"Everything I've been through, at my age I'm kind of very appreciative of what these guys do,'' Snitker said. "I'm not looking to set the world on fire or anything like that. I'm just kind of just enjoying this ride.''

With 17 first-place votes, Snitker was the only manager to appear on every ballot, and he beat out fellow finalists Craig Counsell (11 first-place votes) of the Milwaukee Brewers and Bud Black (one first-place vote) of the Colorado Rockies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.