Red Sox’ Mookie Betts Named American League MVP

Mookie Betts Christian Yelich

Mookie Betts Christian Yelich

It's a credit to Betts that he was able to top yet another MVP-worthy performance from the incomparable Mike Trout, whose perennial excellence is not diminished by the fact that a rotating cast of others has occasionally matched or bettered him. Martinez, Betts' Boston teammate, finished fourth - including one first-place vote from Dave Campbell of The Associated Press - after hitting.330 with 43 home runs and 130 RBIs and finishing with 6.4 WAR.

Both batting champions won MVP awards for the first time since San Francisco's Buster Posey and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Betts has finished second, sixth, and now first in the last three MVP votes.

The arrival of Martinez this season helped Betts move into a higher level than before for a hitter.

This season Betts set highs in home runs (32), doubles (47), runs (129), stolen bases (30), batting average (.346), on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.630).

Betts is the only player in Major League Baseball history to steal 20-plus bases and hit 40-plus doubles in four consecutive seasons.

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He became the first Red Sox player to win the batting title since Bill Mueller in 2003, and his 1.078 OPS ranks 14th in team history, trailing nine seasons from Ted Williams, two from Jimmie Foxx, and one each from Babe Ruth and Manny Ramirez.

He then missed two weeks because of an abdominal strain, which puts his season into even more impressive context since he played only 136 games, the fewest for an MVP position player since Josh Hamilton played 133 in 2010.

Of the three MVP finalists, Betts was the leader in batting average, slugging percentage and doubles.

Trout, 27, led the entire Major League Baseball in OPS (1.088), on-base percentage (.460) and finished in second place. His fourth-place finish a year ago - when he played 114 games - was his worst in his seven seasons.

The vote for deGrom was the only first-place selection not given to the Brewers' Christian Yelich, who otherwise blew away the field. Indians infielder Jose Ramirez turned in a second consecutive third-place finish. His 1.078 OPS was second only to Trout (1.088), and Betts was one of just two players to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases this year. He also won his third straight Gold Glove in right field, earned his second Silver Slugger, and reached his third straight All-Star Game.

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