BOSTON -- The World Series champion Red Sox could be collecting some more shiny hardware in the near future.
Alex Cora was selected as one of three finalists for the American League Manager of the Year Award, while superstar right fielder Mookie Betts joins Mike Trout (Angels) and Jose Ramirez (Indians) as the three finalists for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. Finalists in both leagues for the Baseball Writers' Association of America honors were revealed Monday night on MLB Network.
Somewhat surprisingly, Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is not an MVP finalist despite finishing first in the AL in RBIs (130), and second in homers (43) and batting average (.330).
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Cora is aiming to be the first Red Sox skipper to be Manager of the Year since Jimy Williams in 1999. He certainly has a compelling case, as Boston's 108 wins represented the second-highest total for a rookie manager in MLB history, trailing only the 109 victories Ralph Houk accumulated for the 1961 Yankees. The Manager of the Year Award in both leagues will be announced on Nov. 13.
"He put together a clubhouse that had more unity than I had ever seen," Red Sox owner John Henry said of Cora. "It showed day-to-day perseverance, sense of purpose, dedication every day. He had them ready every day. On every level, he was a superior manager. He was every bit as good as our best player."
Under Cora, the Red Sox improved their regular-season win total by 15 from last season. The 43-year-old drew rave reviews for the way he communicated with his players and for the way he blended analytics in to his daily life in the dugout. A's manager Bob Melvin and Rays manager Kevin Cash are the other two AL Manager of the Year Award finalists.
Nobody thrived more under Cora than Betts, who stayed in the leadoff spot for the entire season. Betts had the best Baseball Reference WAR (10.9) for a position player since Barry Bonds in 2002.
Betts was a force in every way possible, winning the batting title with a .346 average, while adding 47 doubles, five triples, 32 homers, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. The 26-year-old was second in MLB with a 1.078 OPS and he earned his third straight AL Gold Glove Award for his defensive excellence.
"Thrilled for them," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "Mookie was as valuable as anyone in the league. I think J.D. deserved to be in there, but there are other good players. He did win the Hank Aaron Award, so that's good for him. And Alex, with the year he had, it would be surprising for him not to be a finalist. I hope they both win."
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This is the second time in three years Betts has been a finalist for AL MVP. In 2016, he finished second to Trout. The MVP Awards for both leagues will be announced on Nov. 15.
"He impacts the game like no other player in the big leagues -- running the bases, playing defense, hitting for power," Cora said. "You see the numbers. It was a special season for him."