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WS MVP Pearce, Red Sox agree to 1-year deal

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- The World Series MVP is coming back. The Red Sox and first baseman Steve Pearce agreed Friday to a one-year contract worth $6.25 million.

With left-handed-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland also in the fold for another season, Pearce is a perfect fit complement for manager Alex Cora with his right-handed bat.

BOSTON -- The World Series MVP is coming back. The Red Sox and first baseman Steve Pearce agreed Friday to a one-year contract worth $6.25 million.

With left-handed-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland also in the fold for another season, Pearce is a perfect fit complement for manager Alex Cora with his right-handed bat.

"We're thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year, as we think he's a great fit for our club," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us."

Pearce was acquired by the Red Sox from the Blue Jays for Minor Leaguer Santiago Espinal on June 28 and became a perfect fit basically on arrival.

In 50 games, the 35-year-old Pearce slashed .279/.394/.507 with seven homers and 26 RBIs. Five of those home runs came against the Yankees, quickly making him a fan favorite.

But it was in the World Series that Pearce truly made his mark, as he had three homers and eight RBIs in 12 at-bats to help the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games. All four of Pearce's hits in the World Series were for extra bases.

Video: Steve Pearce on trade to Sox, World Series MVP Award

In 2018, Pearce had a .959 OPS against lefties and also held his own with righties, putting up an .828 mark.

With Moreland dealing with an ailing hamstring in October, Pearce started 11 of Boston's 14 games in October, hitting .289 with a 1.083 OPS.

A veteran of 12 Major League seasons, Pearce joined Kelly Johnson as the only players ever to appear in at least one game for each of the five current AL East clubs.

Closer Craig Kimbrel, flame-throwing starter Nathan Eovaldi and righty reliever Joe Kelly are other key players for the World Series champions who are free agents.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Steve Pearce

Betts caps honors season with AL MVP Award

Red Sox star also wins World Series, batting title, Gold Glove Award in 2018
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- A batting title, a World Series championship, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and a baby daughter had already made 2018 the most gratifying year in the life of Mookie Betts. And then there was a sweet capper on Thursday, when the superstar right fielder of the Red Sox was named the American League's Most Valuable Player, winning the award in a romp.

Betts received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez also received a first-place vote and finished fourth overall. Runner-up Mike Trout got the other first-place vote.

BOSTON -- A batting title, a World Series championship, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and a baby daughter had already made 2018 the most gratifying year in the life of Mookie Betts. And then there was a sweet capper on Thursday, when the superstar right fielder of the Red Sox was named the American League's Most Valuable Player, winning the award in a romp.

Betts received 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez also received a first-place vote and finished fourth overall. Runner-up Mike Trout got the other first-place vote.

Video: Betts discusses his incredible overall year in 2018

:: AL Most Valuable Player voting totals ::

With 410 total points, Betts outdistanced Trout (265 points) and third-place finisher Jose Ramirez (208 points) by a large margin.

As Betts was announced as the winner in a live show on MLB Network, he held his daughter, Kynlee, who was born Nov. 6, and was flanked by his mother, Diana, and his girlfriend, Briana. A large contingent of Betts' family and friends sat behind him and cheered.

"It's been a pretty good 2018," Betts said. "I enjoy these moments while I can because 2019, hopefully we can make it better."

Betts is the first Red Sox player to win the MVP since Dustin Pedroia in 2008. The other players to win the MVP for Boston? Tris Speaker (1912), Jimmie Foxx ('38), Ted Williams ('46 and '49), Jackie Jensen ('58), Carl Yastrzemski ('67), Fred Lynn ('75), Jim Rice ('78), Roger Clemens ('86) and Mo Vaughn ('95).

"This is definitely one of the best organizations in baseball," Betts said. "I couldn't ask to be part of a more historic organization with the fanbase the way they are, so it's been amazing."

Tweet from @mookiebetts: Couldn���t ask for more! pic.twitter.com/FOfvlFjcNH

The five-tool star Betts, who stayed in the leadoff spot the entire season for the World Series champions, had the best Baseball Reference WAR (10.9) for a position player since Barry Bonds in 2002.

All-time AL MVP Award winners

"I mean, it means a lot," Betts said. "It's definitely a special award and something that I cherish, but I think the most important thing is that we won a World Series and got to bring a trophy back to Boston."

After finishing second in the MVP race to Trout two years ago, Betts turned the tables in a big way this time.

Video: Mookie Betts is the 2018 AL MVP Award winner

"Obviously, I really wanted to win then. Just being in that spot, you don't ever know if you're going to make it back," Betts said. "It's been everything I imagined and more. I think the most important thing is that World Series. That's what kind of sticks in my head first and foremost about the season."

Betts was a force in every way possible, winning the batting title with a .346 average while adding 42 doubles, five triples, 32 homers, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. The 26-year-old led MLB with a 1.078 OPS and earned his third consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his defensive excellence.

Complete 2018 awards coverage

His numbers were remarkable across the board: Betts was a .364 hitter at home while hitting .331 on the road. He belted 13 homers at home and nine on the road. Against lefties, Betts had an OPS of 1.207. Against righties, it was 1.037. Betts hit .300 or better in every month except June, when he still hit at a .290 clip.

"He impacts the game like no other player in the big leagues -- running the bases, playing defense, hitting for power," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during the team's playoff run. "You see the numbers. It was a special season for him."

Tweet from @ac13alex: Proud of you @mookiebetts. #DamageDone #MVP

Trout had yet another monster year, leading the Majors with a 1.088 OPS, a .460 OBP and finishing second to Bryce Harper with 122 walks. The fact that Betts played for a team that notched a franchise-record 108 wins helped his cause. Trout's Angels finished 80-82.

Martinez was also a force for Boston in 2018, leading the Majors with 130 RBIs, and finishing second with 43 homers and a .330 average.

The key new addition to a Red Sox team that had won the AL East with 93 victories the previous two seasons, Martinez gave the lineup the middle-of-the-order bat it had lacked since David Ortiz's retirement. Martinez also helped change the culture of Boston's offense with his maniacal work habits and his non-stop enthusiasm for talking hitting.

"Obviously [Martinez] deserves to be where he is. He's worked and done everything he can to put himself in the right spot to be recognized," Betts said. "I'm glad he was recognized. He had a great year, definitely an MVP year. I'm just glad to know that at least he was recognized for it."

While Betts appreciates winning such a prestigious individual award, what will stick out most from the 2018 season is the juggernaut his team turned into from the outset that didn't relent until that championship celebration at Dodger Stadium.

"I think throughout the year, we were winning games left and right and were rolling pretty well," Betts said. "You kind of step back and say, 'Man, we have a pretty special team. I wonder if we're going to win the World Series?' AC told us from the beginning we had what it takes to win. We just had to execute, and that's kind of what our mindset was all year, day in and day out, making sure we did what we could to win each and every game."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts

30 ROY candidates for 2019 -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. were named Rookie of the Year in the American and National Leagues, respectively. But they were far from the only first-year players to make an impact in the big leagues in 2018.

It would be difficult to find a team in the history of the modern game who went through an entire season without needing to use its farm system. Sometimes, jobs are given to rookies on Opening Day, as was the case with Ohtani and the Angels. Other times, a player has to wait to be called up to make an impact, just like Acuna did with the Braves.

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. were named Rookie of the Year in the American and National Leagues, respectively. But they were far from the only first-year players to make an impact in the big leagues in 2018.

It would be difficult to find a team in the history of the modern game who went through an entire season without needing to use its farm system. Sometimes, jobs are given to rookies on Opening Day, as was the case with Ohtani and the Angels. Other times, a player has to wait to be called up to make an impact, just like Acuna did with the Braves.

In 2018, both prospects entered the season as Rookie of the Year contenders, if not front-runners, in each league. But sometimes Rookies of the Year come on unexpectedly. With that in mind, here is a potential ROY candidate from each organization.

AL East

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
There's a strong case to made that Guerrero, MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect, should have reached the Majors last season, even with the Blue Jays' struggles. But he didn't and ultimately finished with an absurd .381/.437/.636 line and 20 home runs while reaching Triple-A at age 19. His bat is 100 percent ready for the highest level, and once there, Guerrero is a candidate to run away with top rookie honors in the AL, regardless of when he arrives.

Video: EAST@WEST: Guerrero Jr. doubles, advances on error

Orioles: Yusniel Diaz, OF
The Orioles' key acquisition in the deadline deal that sent Manny Machado to Hollywood, Diaz is yet to tap into his above-average raw power but has a good idea of what he's doing at the plate, as evidenced by his .285/.392/.449 slash line and 11-homer last season in Double-A. Some other internal options may get first crack in either right or left field as the Orioles rebuild, but Diaz should become an everyday guy for them before long.

Rays: Brandon Lowe, 2B
Lowe struggled initially upon reaching the Majors, going 0-for-19 following his debut on Aug. 5. After that, however, he slashed .273/.357/.527 with six homers in 37 games to finish the year with a career-high 28 home runs between Double-A, Triple-A and MLB. He also finished with 129 at-bats, leaving him two ABs short of exhausting his rookie eligibility. Like so many young Rays players, Lowe has the defensive versatility that could make him a near regular for Tampa Bay in 2019.

Red Sox: Michael Chavis, 3B
The defending World Series champions have a depleted farm system and few opportunities at the big league level. One of the better power-hitting prospects in the upper Minors, Chavis could contribute if Rafael Devers struggles again or the need for a right-handed-hitting first baseman arises.

Yankees: Justus Sheffield, LHP
The Yankees' greatest need is starting pitching, and Sheffield should crack the Opening Day rotation. His fastball, slider and changeup all can be three plus pitches, so it won't be a shock if he's New York's second-best starter after Luis Severino.

Video: Mayo gives some 2019 AL Rookie of the Year contenders

AL Central

Indians: Yu Chang, SS
Though he continues to face an uphill battle towards carving out a spot in Cleveland's infield, Chang, a member of the Tribe's 40-man roster, saw increased reps at third base during the regular season and regular time there in the Arizona Fall League, suggesting the hot corner could be his path of least resistance. He has the hitting ability and raw power to profile there, as well as the defensive versatility to handle a utility role.

Royals: Nicky Lopez, SS/2B
Lopez is blocked at the moment by Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi, but he's also sound in all phases of the game and has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. He should open the season in nothing less than a utility role and should claim at least semi-regular at-bats.

Tigers: Christin Stewart, OF
He's hit at least 25 homers in each of his three full seasons of pro ball and hit a pair of homers in 60 big league at-bats this past September. Stewart has improved his overall approach, drawing a lot more walks, while still hitting balls out of the park, something that should continue with a full-time gig in Detroit next season.

Twins: Stephen Gonsalves, RHP
The left-hander didn't fare well during his first taste of the big leagues in 2018, but he had a fantastic year, mostly in Triple-A, finishing second in the system in ERA and fifth in strikeouts, while keeping hitters to a combined .184 BAA. Gonsalves' upside might be limited, but he's ready to be a mid-rotation starter.

White Sox: Eloy Jimenez, OF
If anyone can challenge Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero for the title of best offensive prospect in baseball, it's Jimenez. Ready last summer but kept in the Minors for service-time considerations, he'll be the foundation the White Sox build their lineup around.

Watch: Jimenez crushes 12th homer for Charlotte

AL West

Athletics: Jesus Luzardo, LHP
Luzardo nearly reached the Majors in 2018 in what was his first full pro campaign as well as his first fully healthy, unimpeded season since his Tommy John surgery in mid-2016. Altogether, the left-hander (in his age-20 season) compiled a 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 129 strikeouts and 30 walks in 109 1/3 innings while ascending from Class A Advanced to Triple-A. The A's will be without many of the starting pitchers that were lost due to injuries last season, so expect Luzardo to receive an earnest look during spring training.

Angels: Griffin Canning, RHP
The UCLA product projected as an advanced college arm and lived up to that advanced billing, racing all the way to Triple-A in his first full season. His four-pitch mix with excellent command allowed him to miss bats all the way up the ladder and is why he is just about ready to hit the Angels' rotation.

Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Tucker has recorded back-to-back 20-20 seasons in the upper Minors. His Triple-A line (.332/.400/.590) is much more representative of his upside than the numbers from his big league debut (.141/.236/.203).

Watch: Tucker crushes game-tying homer

Mariners: Wyatt Mills, RHP
Viewed by scouts as a potential fast-riser when the Mariners took him in the third round of the 2017 Draft, Mills, 23, was just that in his first full season as he reached Double-A and followed it with an impressive turn in the Arizona Fall League. With right-handed delivery and profile that resembles Steve Cisheck's as well as comparable stuff, Mills has all the ingredients needed to become an impactful bullpen piece in 2019.

Rangers: Yohander Mendez, LHP
Mendez's prospect luster has dimmed a bit over the last two years, yet that won't prevent him from fitting in the middle of the Rangers' rotation. He still has a quality changeup but needs to refine his command and breaking ball.

NL East

Braves: Touki Tousssaint, RHP
The Braves have scores of young pitchers who could contend for Rookie of the Year honors next season. Toussaint gets the nod because of the pure stuff that helped him lead the system in ERA and strikeouts and because of how well his big league debut went, earning him a spot on the postseason roster.

Video: Mayo on potential 2019 NL Rookie of Year candidates

Marlins: Victor Mesa, OF
While there currently are quite a few unknowns with Mesa, whom Miami signed for $5.5 million on Oct. 22, the consensus is that the 22-year-old outfielder shouldn't require all too much seasoning in the Minor Leagues after his success in Cuba's Serie Nacional. His plus defense in center field gives him a high floor in the big leagues, and any offensive contributions that surpass expectations could make him a ROY candidate.

Phillies: Ranger Suarez, LHP
Suarez made four uneven appearances with Philadelphia in 2018, reaching the big leagues before he turned 23, and he's the kind of smart left-hander who will learn and make adjustments. He's moved very quickly since starting the 2017 season in A ball and should fit nicely into the back end of the young Phillies rotation.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF
Robles has taken second chair to teenage superstar Juan Soto in the Nationals' long-term outfield outlook with good reason. Yet, the future remains incredibly bright for the now 21-year-old center fielder, who hit .288/.348/.525 with three homers and three steals over 21 games with the Nats after a right elbow injury cost him much of the Minor League season. That Robles is the club's projected Opening Day center fielder at the moment makes him a preseason ROY favorite in the NL.

Watch: Robles triples on four-hit night

Mets: Peter Alonso, 1B
New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has said he isn't opposed to having Alonso start the year in New York, and for good reason. All the first baseman did in 2018 is tie for the Minor League lead in homers, while leading it outright in RBIs. More power was on display in the AFL, and he has nothing left to prove in the Minors.

NL Central

Brewers: Keston Hiura, 2B
The best hitter from the 2017 Draft class raked his way up to Double-A in his first full season, ultimately hitting .293/.357/.464 with 52 extra-base hits including 13 homers, and has been equally impressive in the Arizona Fall League, seemingly leaving him on the cusp of entering the Majors in'19. His knack for squaring up the baseball with authority to all fields is a truly special trait -- one that could make him a key Brewers run producer for a long time.

Cardinals: Dakota Hudson, RHP
Aside from some command issues (18 BB in 27 1/3 IP), Hudson was effective in relief for the big league club in 2018. It's a crowded rotation in St. Louis, so a relief gig might be his best full-time entry for the time being where his extreme ground-ball rate (2.03 GO/AO in his Minor League career) would play well.

Cubs: Duane Underwood, RHP
Underwood still needs some polish but was more aggressive and consistent in 2018 than he had been in years past. With a 92-97 mph fastball and a curveball that shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch, he could contribute in the bullpen and possibly the rotation.

Pirates: Mitch Keller, RHP
The Pirates often are cautious with their young pitching prospects, but look for Keller to push them hard in 2019. After struggling upon first reaching Triple-A at age 22, the right-hander then had a 2.86 ERA in August. Room will have to be made in Pittsburgh's rotation, but Keller will be ready to jump through it once the door is opened.

Watch: Keller records 10th K

Reds: Nick Senzel, INF
A finger injury, not to mention a bout with vertigo, greatly shortened his 2018 season, and that likely kept the No. 2 pick in the 2016 Draft from getting called up this past season. He's played several positions and was working on the outfield at instructs this fall to make sure there's a spot for his advanced bat in the big league lineup in 2019.

NL West

D-backs: Taylor Widener, RHP
Widener has made a very successful transition from reliever to starter and has put his 2015 elbow surgery in his rear-view mirror with two successful, and healthy, seasons in 2017 and 2018. This last year was his first with the D-backs and he led the system in ERA and strikeouts, while holding Southern League hitters to a .197 batting average against.

Dodgers: Alex Verdugo, OF
One of the best pure hitters in the Minors, Verdugo also offers developing power, a strong arm and the ability to play anywhere in the outfield. The only thing holding him back from being a slam-dunk Rookie of the Year candidate is a clear opening in the crowded Dodgers lineup.

Giants: Chris Shaw, OF
The best power hitter in the Giants system, Shaw made his first big league home run a tape-measure shot: 468 feet off a Seunghwan Oh slider. As of now, he looks like the frontrunner to start in left field for San Francisco.

Padres: Luis Urias, 2B/SS
Urias reached the Majors late in August and showed that he can do a little bit of everything before a groin injury prematurely ended his season after just 12 games. Assuming he's on the Padres' Opening Day roster, the 21-year-old could have an early advantage in the ROY based his ability to hit near the top of an order and make everyday contributions on both sides of the ball.

Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS
With DJ LeMahieu set to depart as a free agent, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft is ready to replace him at second base. He has more offensive potential than most middle infielders and the versatility to play anywhere in the infield that he's needed.

Watch: Rodger hammers a solo blast

Betts might be Boston's most complete player

All-around skill set puts AL MVP Award winner in company with Ruth, Williams, Yastrzemski
MLB.com @MikeLupica

BOSTON -- The snow started falling hard in Boston not long after it was announced that Mookie Betts had won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Some of the lights above Fenway Park were still lit, but Jersey Street was mostly empty as the snow kept coming down. The first win for the 2018 Red Sox, out of the 119 they would win through the World Series, came in the late spring. Now it looked like winter had come early in Boston. But with the news about Betts, it was as if it were still summer for one more night. Or at least October.

Betts is a magical player. He wasn't just the best all-around player in his league this season, he is also the best all-around player the Red Sox have ever had. That is saying plenty. But it is true.

BOSTON -- The snow started falling hard in Boston not long after it was announced that Mookie Betts had won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Some of the lights above Fenway Park were still lit, but Jersey Street was mostly empty as the snow kept coming down. The first win for the 2018 Red Sox, out of the 119 they would win through the World Series, came in the late spring. Now it looked like winter had come early in Boston. But with the news about Betts, it was as if it were still summer for one more night. Or at least October.

Betts is a magical player. He wasn't just the best all-around player in his league this season, he is also the best all-around player the Red Sox have ever had. That is saying plenty. But it is true.

All-time AL MVP Award winners

The Red Sox had Babe Ruth when Ruth was young and both a hitter and a starting pitcher. He is still the greatest figure in baseball history. But even Ruth couldn't do as many things as Betts can do on a baseball field.

Ted Williams was the best pure hitter of all time. Not only is he the last .400 hitter in baseball, but he also hit .388 the year he turned 39. Even Williams couldn't do as many baseball things as Betts.

Video: Betts reacts to winning American League MVP Award

Neither could the great Carl Yastrzemski, who won the Triple Crown for the Red Sox in their own magical, Impossible Dream season of 1967, one that ended one victory short of the Sox winning the World Series. In addition to everything else, Yastrzemski was a genius at playing left field at Fenway, in front of the Green Monster. It isn't the same as playing right field at Fenway, and it certainly isn't the same as playing right field the way Betts does.

Complete 2018 awards coverage

"He is the best right fielder I've ever seen with my own eyes," former Orioles manager Buck Showalter told me earlier this season. "Every time I'd even hear the suggestion that they might move him to center, you know what I was? Really, really happy."

David Ortiz sometimes felt like the Ruth of the modern era, at least for the Red Sox, and he was in the middle of the order and the middle of everything when his Sox won three World Series between 2004 and '13. He didn't have all the tools for baseball that Betts has. Again: No Sox player has had as many tools as Betts.

Betts came close to winning the AL MVP Award in 2016. This year, he closed the deal. It is more clear than ever that the award he won on Thursday night should simply be called the Best Player Award, and not be tied to any old-time definition of valuable. The voters continue to say there is no distinction between "valuable" and "best." But do you know what the highest honor paid to Betts was on Thursday night? The voters said he was a better baseball player than Mike Trout, who finished second in the voting this season.

Video: MLB Tonight on Mookie Betts winning the 2018 AL MVP

Betts can hit, hit for power, steal bases and make throws from the outfield that you have to see to believe. There are all these times when he shows you how much Willie Mays he has in him, running toward the line in right field and at the short wall or chasing down another ball and then wheeling and looking for a force on the bases.

Betts can jump, too. You saw how his glove ended up over the right-field wall at Minute Maid Park in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series, trying to take a home run away from Jose Altuve before a couple of fans took it away from Betts. Then an umpire, Joe West, was the one who took Altuve's home run away, citing fan interference.

Video: Hyers discusses Betts winning the AL MVP Award

Betts was exactly where he was supposed to be in the outfield, though. He was where the ball was, part of the best defensive outfield -- along with Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- that I've ever seen. It is funny how often that happens. It is funny how big moments seem to follow this 5-foot-9 kid around.

"It's definitely a special award and something that I cherish," Betts said on Thursday night. "But I think the most important thing is that we won a World Series and got to bring a trophy back to Boston."

Betts' numbers were wonderful, of course, a .346 batting average, 129 runs and a .640 slugging percentage, along with 47 doubles, 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases. And his FanGraphs WAR was 10.4, the highest number any player has had since Barry Bonds (11.8) in 2002.

Video: ALCS Gm4: Betts robs HR on interference, call stands

"Obviously, I really wanted to win [in 2016]. Just being in that spot, you don't ever know if you're going to make it back," Betts said in a conference call after the vote was announced. He said that winning this award after so many people thought he should have won in '16 was "everything I imagined and more."

Betts wins this award in the time when Trout has established himself as one of the most complete players of all time. Betts is not just a complete player, but he's also is a joyful one. The Red Sox have had players who hit more home runs, obviously. They have had players produce higher batting averages. They once had Ruth, the most famous player of them all. But they have never had a better all-around baseball player than Betts.

Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts

5 amazing facts about your 2018 MVPs

Betts, Yelich posted even better seasons than you think
MLB.com @AndrewSimonMLB

Outfielders Mookie Betts of the Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Brewers enjoyed sensational 2018 seasons, showing off well-rounded skill sets that helped lift their clubs to the postseason.

Both were rewarded with some special hardware on Thursday night, when the Baseball Writers' Association of America handed out the American League and National League Most Valuable Player Awards. The first-time winners ran away with their trophies. Betts received 28 of 30 first-place votes in the AL, while Yelich nabbed 29 for the NL honor.

Outfielders Mookie Betts of the Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Brewers enjoyed sensational 2018 seasons, showing off well-rounded skill sets that helped lift their clubs to the postseason.

Both were rewarded with some special hardware on Thursday night, when the Baseball Writers' Association of America handed out the American League and National League Most Valuable Player Awards. The first-time winners ran away with their trophies. Betts received 28 of 30 first-place votes in the AL, while Yelich nabbed 29 for the NL honor.

Betts, Yelich win first career MVP Awards

In recognition of their success, here are five amazing facts about each 2018 MVP:

Video: Betts reacts to winning American League MVP Award

Betts

:: AL Most Valuable Player voting totals ::

1. Betts' superb combination of hitting, defense and baserunning made his 2018 one of the most productive seasons in recent history. His 10.9 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference, was the highest by a position player since Barry Bonds' 11.8 in 2002. Only Bonds (who also had 11.9 in 2001), Cal Ripken Jr. (1991) and Joe Morgan (1975) had reached 10.9 in any season since Boston's own Carl Yastrzemski posted a remarkable 12.5 in 1967. Betts is now tied for second in Red Sox history in that category with Ted Williams (1946).

Perhaps more impressively, Betts was just 25 years old this season, turning 26 on Oct. 7. Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (1920), Lou Gehrig (1927) and Mickey Mantle (1956, '57) are the only other position players 25 or younger to post a WAR that high.

2. Betts' WAR was a result of his excellence in all three phases, and that shows in the components that go into that metric. He became only the fifth player in MLB history to have a season in which he produced at least 50 batting runs, 15 fielding runs and five baserunning runs above average, joining Mike Trout (2012), Alex Rodriguez (2000), Rickey Henderson (1990), and Willie Mays (1958, '64).

3. Betts (32 home runs, 30 stolen bases) and Cleveland's Jose Ramirez became MLB's first two 30-30 men since Trout and Ryan Braun in 2012. Betts also posted a sensational 186 OPS+ -- 100 is league average -- a mark that ranks third all-time out out of 62 30-30 campaigns. Only Bonds, in 1992 and '96, has done better.

Video: Mookie Betts collects four three-homer games

4. On April 17 in Anaheim, Betts smacked three home runs. About two weeks later, on May 2 at Fenway Park, he launched three more against the Royals, marking the 22nd time in MLB history that a player put together multiple three-homer games in the same season. But Betts was no stranger to the feat, having also accomplished it in 2016. He joined Johnny Mize (1938, '40) as the only players to pull that off twice.

Betts is one of just 17 players with at least four career three-homer games, and the first to reach that point before turning 26.

5. It didn't much matter what pitchers threw Betts. He slugged .660 against fastballs (four-seamers, two-seamers/sinkers and cutters) and .611 against other pitch types. He slugged .702 against pitches in the upper third of the zone, .655 in the lower third, .667 in the outer third and .576 in the inner third -- plus .775 on those right down the middle. Betts' 16.2 percent chase rate was one of MLB's lowest, yet even when he did go out of the zone, his .394 slugging percentage ranked near the top of the league.

Video: Christian Yelich named National League MVP

Yelich

:: NL Most Valuable Player voting totals ::

1. Yelich enjoyed a stellar first half (.292/.364/.459), but his performance after the All-Star break was truly spectacular. In 65 second-half games, Yelich batted .367/.449/.770 with 25 home runs and 67 RBIs. That 1.219 OPS was the highest in a second half (minimum 200 plate appearances) since Ryan Howard in 2006. Looking at a park- and era-adjusted offensive metric like wRC+, Yelich's 220 was the best since Bonds' 234 in '04. Only Bonds (each year from '01-'04) had reached 220 or better since Mike Schmidt in 1981.

2. While most of the Triple Crown focus was on Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez in the AL, Yelich snuck up with a huge closing burst and nearly earned the first in the NL since Joe Medwick in 1937. Yelich easily took the batting title with a .326 average, tied for third with 36 homers (two behind NL leader Nolan Arenado) and tied for second with 110 RBIs (one behind Javier Baez). The last NL player to finish in the top three in all three categories was Yelich's Brewers teammate, Braun, in 2012.

3. How overwhelming was Yelich down the stretch? From Aug. 11 through the end of Milwaukee's postseason run, he reached base safely in 52 of his 54 games, including 36 contests in which he earned his way aboard multiple times. During a 13-game stretch to end the regular season -- when the Brewers went 11-2 and won their division in a Game 163 tiebreaker -- Yelich went 21-for-43 with 14 walks and 13 extra-base hits to produce a .488/.621/.1.116 slash line.

Video: Must C Curtain: Yelich hits 2 HRs in MVP-like effort

4. Yelich hit for the cycle against the Reds twice in less than three weeks, doing it in Cincinnati on Aug. 29 and in Milwaukee on Sept. 17. He became only the third player since the turn of the 20th century to produce multiple cycles in the same season, joining Brooklyn's Babe Herman (1931) and Arizona's Aaron Hill (2012). Yelich was the first to do it twice against the same team.

5. Yelich had no trouble hitting the ball to the deepest part of the ballpark. Of his career-high 36 home runs, an MLB-best 21 went to the middle third of the field. A's slugger Khris Davis was second, with 19. Yelich's .795 slugging percentage to the middle of the field ranked third in MLB, among 281 hitters with at least 50 batted balls in that direction.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich

10 best players still seeking an MVP nod

MLB.com @williamfleitch

Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich won the 176th and 177th MVP Awards on Thursday. (And believe me, I know exactly how many there have been.) It was the first MVP for each player, assuring them that their already-accomplished careers will not pass by unrewarded. They will not join the list of outstanding players who never quite grabbed the big trophy, a group that includes legends Eddie Murray, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Paul Molitor and Derek Jeter.

So with Betts and Yelich now on the other side of the velvet rope, here are the 10 best players who are still looking for an MVP nod, how close they've come and whether they're likely to get one someday.

Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich won the 176th and 177th MVP Awards on Thursday. (And believe me, I know exactly how many there have been.) It was the first MVP for each player, assuring them that their already-accomplished careers will not pass by unrewarded. They will not join the list of outstanding players who never quite grabbed the big trophy, a group that includes legends Eddie Murray, Eddie Mathews, Mike Piazza, Paul Molitor and Derek Jeter.

So with Betts and Yelich now on the other side of the velvet rope, here are the 10 best players who are still looking for an MVP nod, how close they've come and whether they're likely to get one someday.

1. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Best Finish: Third place, 2018

Arenado is always going to face the voters' tendency to discount Rockies players -- only one has been MVP, Larry Walker in 1997 -- though it's always worth remembering Arenado will be a free agent after next season. His OPS+ has risen every season since he joined the league, and somehow, he's just now entering his prime.

Video: Must C Crushed: Arenado takes NL HR lead with a pair

2. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2018

Bregman received plenty of votes after a monster 2018 in which he led the Majors in doubles and was the best player on a 103-win team. He won't turn 25 until next season's Opening Weekend, and he's well positioned to remain the star on a perpetual contender for the next half-decade.

Video: Must C Clutch: Bregman's first career walk-off homer

3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2018

It wasn't long ago that Freeman was thought of as an above-average, but not spectacular first baseman. He has since crafted himself into an undeniable superstar, and perhaps even an underappreciated one. As the young Braves rise around him, he remains the leader and the steadiest force on a team we're going to be seeing in a lot of Octobers. He led the NL in hits and doubles last season, and he won't turn 30 until next September.

Video: Must C Clutch: Freeman's HR gives Braves lead in 6th

4. Jacob deGrom
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2018 (1 first-place vote)

It has been four years since a pitcher won an MVP Award -- Clayton Kershaw in 2014. deGrom was arguably better in 2018 than Kershaw was that year, but he was no doubt hurt by the Mets' fourth-place finish.

Video: ATL@NYM: deGrom hurls 8 scoreless to earn 1.70 ERA

5. Paul Goldschmidt
Best Finish: Second place, 2013, '15

Goldschmidt's last three seasons haven't been quite as incredible as that stretch of 2013-15, but he's still been fantastic, and after a slow start to 2018, he was his old self for the final few months. His best season, 2015, happened to be the same year Bryce Harper had his monster season, and 2013 was the year Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates broke out. The real question: Does Goldschmidt make another MVP run in Arizona, or somewhere else?

Video: ARI@COL: Goldschmidt powers 2 homers at Coors Field

6. Francisco Lindor
Best Finish: Fifth place, 2017

If the Indians ever put together a season where they catch fire and win the AL Central by 30 games or something, it'll be the ideal season to honor Lindor, who is their spiritual leader and a transcendent player. Adding power to his game -- he has gone from 15 homers in 2016 to 38 last season -- hasn't cost him any of his other skills, and he has the added advantage of health and durability. He led the Majors in plate appearances (and runs, for that matter) in 2018. All that talent and he's only 25 years old.

Video: HOU@CLE Gm3: Lindor launches 446-ft dinger off clock

7. Manny Machado
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2015

It's obviously still up in the air where Machado will be peddling his wares in 2019 and beyond, but after the season he had in 2018, it's clear he'll be at the center of every conversation for years to come. He picked a terrific time to have the best year of his career, though his antics in the postseason have opened him up to scrutiny that could cost him votes. But it is obvious that Machado is one of the best players in baseball, and should be for the foreseeable future.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Machado drills three 109-plus-mph liners

8. J.D. Martinez
Best Finish: Fourth place, 2018

Martinez is unlikely to ever win an MVP -- no primary DH has since Juan Gonzalez in 1996 -- but we simply cannot deny a hitter of this caliber. Martinez just keeps getting better. For what it's worth, he did play 57 games in the field last season.

Video: Must C Classic: J.D. Martinez clubs his 40th homer

9. Jose Ramirez
Best Finish: Third place, 2017, '18

We've all known about Lindor for years, but far fewer people saw Ramirez coming. He has put together three magnificent years in a row, culminating in a 39-homer 2018. He went 2-for-31 in the last two postseasons -- but the postseason isn't a part of the MVP vote. Will he and Lindor take votes away from each other for years to come?

Video: Must C Crushed: Ramirez goes yard twice vs. Reds

10. Max Scherzer
Best Finish: 10th place, 2016, '17, '18

Scherzer has won three Cy Young Awards, he finished second this year and he hasn't finished lower than fifth since 2012. But he has never made much of a dent in MVP voting despite having won as many Cy Young Awards as Kershaw and more than Justin Verlander, both of whom have won MVPs. Scherzer may have to content himself with those Cy Youngs. If he wins one more, he'll be just the fifth pitcher in MLB history to have four: Roger Clemens (seven), Randy Johnson (five), Steve Carlton (four) and Greg Maddux (four) are the others.

Video: Must C Classic: Scherzer gets 12 straight outs via K

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman, Jacob deGrom, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, J.D. Martinez, Jose Ramirez, Max Scherzer

7 Red Sox top prospects are Rule 5 eligible

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

It's decision time for all 30 Major League organizations.

By Tuesday, all teams will have decided who deserves a spot on their 40-man rosters. Those Minor Leaguers who are eligible but not put on the roster will be exposed to be taken by the other 29 teams in the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, on Thursday. Dec. 13.

It's decision time for all 30 Major League organizations.

By Tuesday, all teams will have decided who deserves a spot on their 40-man rosters. Those Minor Leaguers who are eligible but not put on the roster will be exposed to be taken by the other 29 teams in the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, on Thursday. Dec. 13.

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2014 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2015 Draft is in the same position.

There are just eight players on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list who need to be protected or become exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.

16. Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT
25. Dylan Cease, RHP, CWS
33. Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB
35. Chris Paddack,RHP, SD
39. Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD
64. Adonis Medina, RHP, PHI
67. Franklin Perez, RHP, DET
69. Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS

Last year, there were eight Top 100 players who needed to be protected. In 2016, there were 12, and in '15, there were 11. And every one of those 31 players were added to 40-man rosters.

There are obviously many more Minor Leaguers under consideration. There are 149 prospects on organizational Top 30 lists hoping to get added to a 40-man roster. That's down from last year, when there were 153, 85 of whom (55.6%) were protected. In 2016, there were 144 total, and 58% of them (84) were protected. In 2015, 75 of 156 (48%) Top 30 prospects landed on rosters.

Here's a list of all 30 teams' Top 30 prospects who needed to be protected to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, along with non-Top 30 prospects who were given coveted roster spots:

* Indicates that a player has been added to his team's 40-man roster.

Arizona Diamondbacks (5)
7. Marcus Wilson, OF
11. Taylor Clarke, RHP
20. Kevin Cron, 1B
22. Alex Young, LHP
23. Cody Reed, LHP

Atlanta Braves (6)
20. Huascar Ynoa, RHP
21. Patrick Weigel, RHP
22. Travis Demeritte, OF
27. Alex Jackson, C
28. Josh Graham, RHP
29. Jacob Webb, RHP

Baltimore Orioles (2)
6. Dillon Tate, RHP
29. Luis Gonzalez, LHP

Boston Red Sox (7)
1. Michael Chavis, SS
7. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP
10. Josh Ockimey, 1B
15. Travis Lakins, RHP
21. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP
23. Roldani Baldwin, C
27. Roniel Raudes, RHP

Chicago Cubs (4)
8. Justin Steele, LHP
17. Trevor Clifton, RHP
25. Earling Moreno, RHP
28. Jason Vosler, SS

Chicago White Sox (4)
3. Dylan Cease, RHP
19. Kodi Medeiros, LHP
20. Jordan Stephens, RHP
26. Spencer Adams, RHP

Cincinnati Reds (2)
13. Jimmy Herget, RHP
22. Michael Beltre, OF

Cleveland Indians 4)
7. Bobby Bradley, 1B
8. Sam Hentges, LHP
20. Oscar Gonzales, OF
29. Tyler Krieger, SS

Colorado Rockies (7)
9. Sam Hilliard, OF
10. Ryan Castellani, RHP
17. Justin Lawrence, RHP
19. Breiling Eusebio, LHP
23. Roberto Ramos, 1B
25. Brian Mundell, 1B
27. Dom Nunez, C

Detroit Tigers (4)
3. Franklin Perez, RHP
19. Jose Azocar, OF
24. Tyler Alexander, LHP
29. Derek Hill, CF
More »

Houston Astros (5)
12. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP
15. Garrett Stubbs, C
17. Riley Ferrell, RHP
23. Jonathan Arauz, SS
24. Trent Thornton, RHP

Kansas City Royals (6)
11. Josh Staumont, RHP
20. Scott Blewett, RHP
23. Elvis Luciano, RHP
28. D.J. Burt, SS
29. Foster Griffin, LHP
30. Ofreidy Gomez, RHP

Los Angeles Angels (4)
10. Luis Rengifo, IF
15. Leonardo Rivas, SS
18. Luis Pena, RHP
28. Joe Gatto, RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers (7)
2. Keibert Ruiz, C
10. Yadier Alvarez, RHP
13. Edwin Rios, 1B
19. Drew Jackson, SS
21. Matt Beaty, 1B/3B
24. Cristian Santana, SS
29. Andrew Sopko, RHP

Miami Marlins (6)
2. Monte Harrison, CF
9. Isan Diaz, SS
17. Jordan Yamamoto, RHP
18. Christopher Torres, SS
26. Brayan Hernandez, CF
30. McKenzie Mills, LHP

Milwaukee Brewers (5)
10. Jake Gatewood, 1B
13. Trey Supak, RHP
15. Troy Stokes Jr., CF
17. Cody Ponce, RHP
28. Carlos Herrera, RHP

Minnesota Twins (5)
4. Nick Gordon, SS
13. LaMonte Wade, OF
15. Luis Arraez, 2B
16. Lewin Diaz, RF
22. Tyler Jay, LHP

New York Mets (4)
19. Luis Carpio, SS
21. David Thompson, 3B
25. Ali Sanchez, C
27. Patrick Mazeika, C

New York Yankees (1)
21. Erik Swanson, RHP

Oakland A's (5)
9. James Kaprielian, RHP
12. Richie Martin, SS
15. Grant Holmes, RHP
27. James Naile, RHP
30. Skye Bolt, CF

Philadelphia Phillies (5)
3. Adonis Medina, RHP
12. Daniel Brito, SS
11. Arquimedes Gamboa, SS
16. Jose Gomez, SS
27. Tom Eshelman, RHP

Pittsburgh Pirates (6)
1. Mitch Keller, RHP
5. Cole Tucker, SS
13. Jason Martin, CF
19. Gage Hinsz, RHP
24. Brandon Waddell, LHP
28. Domingo Robles, LHP

San Diego Padres (5)
5. Chris Paddack, RHP
12. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
25. Austin Allen, C
28. Edward Olivares, OF
29. Pedro Avila, RHP
More »

San Francisco Giants (8)
8. Sandro Fabian, OF
11. Logan Webb, RHP
18. Juan De Paula, RHP
19. Melvin Adon, RHP
23. Jordan Johnson, RHP
27. Tyler Webb, RHP
28. C.J. Hinojosa, SS/2B
30. Sam Coonrod, RHP

Seattle Mariners (11)
*5. Braden Bishop, OF
14. Art Warren, RHP
18. Rob Whalen, RHP
20. Ian Miller, OF
23. Anthony Jimenez, OF
24. Luis Liberato, OF
26. Ronald Rosario, OF
27. Chuck Taylor, OF
28. Anthony Misiewicz, LHP
29. Darin Gillies, RHP
30. Joseph Rosa, 2B
More »

St. Louis Cardinals (6)
4. Ryan Helsley, RHP
11. Max Schrock, 2B
13. Genesis Cabrera, LHP
14. Junior Fernandez, RHP
20. Ramon Urias, INF
23. Wadye Ynfante, OF
More »

Tampa Bay Rays (3)
4. Jesus Sanchez
17. Joe McCarthy, OF/1B
29. Ian Gibaut, RHP

Texas Rangers (4)
6. Taylor Hearn, LHP
17. Pedro Gonzalez, OF
22. Scott Heineman, OF
30. Edgar Arredondo, RHP

Toronto Blue Jays (3)
11. Hector Perez, RHP
24. Forrest Wall, OF
27. Jordan Romano, RHP

Washington Nationals (5)
13. Telmito Agustin, OF
17. James Bourque, RHP
24. Tomas Alastre, RHP
25. Jose Marmolejos, 1B/OF
29. Drew Ward, 3B/1B

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

What moment did Betts, Yelich clinch MVP?

Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich didn't win their 2018 MVP Awards because of just one play. They won them because they were awesome, over and over again, for 162 games -- at the plate, in the field, on the bases, and really everywhere else, too.

Still, there's one thing we know to be true: Every MVP has an MVP Moment -- the point at which everyone seems to collectively say, "OK, yeah, this is the guy." Just what were those moments for Betts and Yelich this year? Let's investigate.

Red Sox, Cora agree on new deal through '21

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- A day after Alex Cora finished second in the American League Manager of the Year Award race, the Red Sox gave their skipper the ultimate vote of confidence by redoing his contract to include a raise, an extra guaranteed year in 2021 and a club option that can keep him in Boston through '22.

Behind Cora, the Red Sox notched a franchise-record 108 wins in the regular season and rolled through the competition in the postseason, going 11-3 to bring home a World Series championship -- Boston's fourth in the last 15 seasons.

BOSTON -- A day after Alex Cora finished second in the American League Manager of the Year Award race, the Red Sox gave their skipper the ultimate vote of confidence by redoing his contract to include a raise, an extra guaranteed year in 2021 and a club option that can keep him in Boston through '22.

Behind Cora, the Red Sox notched a franchise-record 108 wins in the regular season and rolled through the competition in the postseason, going 11-3 to bring home a World Series championship -- Boston's fourth in the last 15 seasons.

The contract that Cora signed last November was a three-year deal that went through 2020 and included an option for '21.

The new contract boosts the amount of money Cora will make per season while tacking on an additional year.

Cora the runner-up for AL Manager of the Year

Video: Cora discusses influences on his managerial career

By taking such swift action on Cora's contract, the Red Sox are demonstrating how much they believe their manager had to do with the team's success.

"We have consistently been impressed by Alex at every turn," said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. "His knowledge of the game, ability to connect with our players, and his incredible instincts and decisiveness led us to a historic championship season. We know we are in good hands and could not be more pleased to know he will be with us for the foreseeable future."

Cora drew rave reviews for a variety of things, including his ability to communicate, his tactical decisions and the way he integrated analytics into daily life in the dugout.

Without question, Cora won over his players and also earned the confidence of ownership and the front office.

"Alex did a tremendous job for our club all year long and we wanted to reward him for his efforts after an amazing season," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "We are extremely happy that he will be with us and leading our club on the field."

Video: Cora talks impact of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez

The 43-year-old Cora expressed gratitude after receiving the new contract.

"Since Day 1, John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski have been incredibly supportive of me and my family, and for that I am extremely grateful," said Cora. "For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field. We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title."

The Red Sox are aiming to become MLB's first repeat champion since the Yankees won their third straight in 2000.

Cora came just one win shy of tying Ralph Houk (1961 Yankees) for the most wins by a rookie manager. He was the first rookie manager to win a World Series since Bob Brenly for the D-backs in 2001. Cora joined Jake Stahl (105 wins in 1912) as the only skipper to win 100 games in his first season with Boston.

Video: MLB Tonight discusses Alex Cora's new deal with Sox

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Cora the runner-up for AL Manager of the Year

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Though the Red Sox have won the World Series an MLB-high four times in the 21st century, the American League's Manager of the Year Award continues to elude their candidates.

Rookie manager Alex Cora, who guided Boston to a franchise-record 108 wins, finished second to Oakland's Bob Melvin in the race for Manager of the Year.

BOSTON -- Though the Red Sox have won the World Series an MLB-high four times in the 21st century, the American League's Manager of the Year Award continues to elude their candidates.

Rookie manager Alex Cora, who guided Boston to a franchise-record 108 wins, finished second to Oakland's Bob Melvin in the race for Manager of the Year.

:: AL Manager of the Year voting totals ::

It was Melvin's third time winning the award, as he guided the Athletics to 97 wins and a Wild Card berth despite a barrage of injuries to his starting rotation.

Kevin Cash, a former teammate of Cora's on the 2008 Red Sox, finished third after the fine job that he did with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since the inception of the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award in 1983, John McNamara (1986) and Jimy Williams (1999) are the only two Boston skippers to bring home the trophy.

Melvin finished with 19 first-place votes, while Cora had seven and Cash had five. Cora also garnered 11 second-place votes and 11 third-place votes and finished with 79 overall points, compared to 121 for Melvin.

Just like John Farrell and Terry Francona for recent Red Sox championship teams, Cora might have been hurt in the Manager of the Year voting by Boston's high payroll, which was tops in MLB this season. Francona went on to win Manager of the Year twice (2013, '16) for the Indians.

Votes for all BBWAA Awards are submitted before the start of the postseason. Even without those 11 wins his Red Sox tacked on in October, Cora had a strong candidacy this year.

Tweet from @ac13alex: Thanks #RedSoxNation, enjoy the offseason. See you in Fort Myers. https://t.co/XqHPmCsgrM

The Red Sox had a unified approach that was evident all season long, and players lauded Cora for his communication and organizational skills.

"He put together a clubhouse that had more unity than I had ever seen," said Red Sox owner John Henry. "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."

Cora came just one win away from equaling Ralph Houk (1961 Yankees) for the most ever by a rookie manager.

For his hitters, Cora preached hunting for pitches, rather than being passive early in the count. This resulted in MVP finalist Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both having major upticks in their numbers from the previous season.

Video: Cora on winning WS title, what he learned in 1st year

Cora also kept his entire position-player roster involved all season, which made role players effective and also kept his starters fresh.

From a pitching standpoint, Cora closely managed the workload of the staff from the start of Spring Training through the end of the regular season, always with the postseason in mind. That enabled him to empty the tank in October as pitchers David Price, Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi went back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen -- "rovers," as Cora called them.

In pressurized Boston, Cora remained unflappable. When he made a mistake, he usually owned up to it before anyone got the chance to criticize him.

"He's been great," said Red Sox ace Chris Sale. "I've said it a million times, it can be 10-0 or 1-1, he's the same guy. You can look at your manager and he's just over there eating sunflower seeds, having a good time, just ready for the next big thing to happen, and it sends a shockwave through the dugout and helps you relax a little bit."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Dalbec collects two hits in Fall League action

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Wednesday:

• Gameday: Salt River 4, Glendale 3 | Mesa 10, Surprise 6 | Scottsdale 10, Peoria 3

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Wednesday:

• Gameday: Salt River 4, Glendale 3 | Mesa 10, Surprise 6 | Scottsdale 10, Peoria 3

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 9 prospect Cavan Biggio went 2-for-4 with a double, a single, an RBI and two strikeouts.

Orioles (Glendale)
Orioles No. 12 prospect Ryan McKenna went 1-for-3 with a single, two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. Steve Wilkerson went 0-for-3 with a walk. Tyler Erwin allowed an unearned run on one hit in one inning of relief.

Rays (Peoria)
Brandon Lawson struggled in his start, giving up four runs on six hits, and lasted only one inning. Phoenix Sanders didn't fare much better, as he gave up two runs in two innings. Dalton Moats gave up one run in one inning.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 10 prospect Josh Ockimey went 0-for-5 with an RBI and two strikeouts. Bobby Dalbec (No. 6) went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and two walks.

Yankees (Glendale)
Steven Sensley was the only Yankees prospect with a hit in a 1-for-3 afternoon. Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial went 0-for-3, but he walked, stole a base and scored a run. Thairo Estrada (No. 16) went 0-for-4. Matt Wivinis struck out the only batter he faced to get Glendale out of a jam in the eighth.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Catcher Li-Jen Chu went 1-for-4.

Royals (Surprise)
Meibrys Viloria went 2-for-4 with a single, a triple, a walk and two runs scored. Nick Heath was 1-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daniel Woodrow went 2-for-4 with two singles, two walks and a run scored. Jake Rogers went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn raised his Fall League average to .224 with three hits while also walking and scoring a run. Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to four games.

White Sox (Glendale)
Tanner Banks rebounded from a shaky outing in his last start with five strong innings, allowing one run on six hits with one strikeout. White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert went 1-for-4 and stole both second and third base after his second-inning single. No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe and No. 28 prospect Laz Rivera were a combined 0-for-8.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Another look at Robert's 106.7 mph single and two stolen bases. The #WhiteSox OF prospect registered a 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed on the first, 29.5 on the second. Also reached 31.0 ft/sec on a groundout. pic.twitter.com/yKvxqMPlFU

AL West

A's (Mesa)
A's No. 30 prospect Skye Bolt went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Angels (Mesa)
Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones went 2-for-6 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored. Roberto Baldoquin went 1-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs, two walks and two runs scored.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Astros No. 21 prospect Abraham Toro continued his recent hot stretch with a 2-for-5 performance. Toro doubled, drew a walk and scored a trio of runs. Ronnie Dawson also picked up a pair of hits, finishing 2-for-5 with two RBIs. J.B. Bukauskas (No. 8) had a rough start, giving up three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings. Trent Thornton (No. 24) fared much better, striking out four and yielding only one hit over 2 1/3 innings.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 20 prospect Ian Miller went 1-for-2 and Joe DeCarlo went 0-for-3.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc went 1-for-4 with a single and a walk.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
Ray-Patrick Didder and Izzy Wilson each went 1-for-4. Braxton Davidson finished 0-for-4.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 12 prospect Brian Miller had two hits in his second consecutive game, including a two-run single in the eighth inning. The knock scored No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison, who entered as a pinch-runner and stole third. No. 27 prospect Bryson Brigman was 0-for-5. More »

Video: Miller on his big game vs. Glendale in Fall League

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa and Austin Listi combined to go 3-for-10. Gamboa was 1-for-5, while Listi collected two hits in his five trips to the plate.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 15 prospect Tres Barrera had two hits for the first time since Oct. 25, while Jake Noll went 1-for-3 while playing both third base and left field. Jordan Mills earned his first win of the AFL season after he struck out two in a scoreless eighth.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso broke out of his 5-for-42 slump with a massive night. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning and kept hitting, finishing 4-for-5 with six RBIs, the most by any player in a Fall League game this season. Joe Zanghi and Matt Blackham combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief. Zanghi gave up one hit over two innings, while Blackham struck out one in his lone inning. More »

Video: Peter Alonso discusses his big game against Peoria

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Brewers No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura hit his fifth homer of the AFL season, which brings him into a tie for third place. He later doubled to finish 2-for-4. Trent Grisham (No. 19) hit his first Fall League homer and finished 1-for-4. Miguel Sanchez gave up three runs on six hits in three innings. Jon Olczak finished the game with a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Keston Hiura continues to rake in the @MLBazFallLeague. The #Brewers No. 1 prospect hit his fifth home run, which is tied for third in the AFL. Gameday: https://t.co/tTRyx6FBJa pic.twitter.com/qQugNgwjBY

Cardinals (Surprise)
Tommy Edman went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Andy Young started at designated hitter and went 0-for-5 with an RBI. Evan Kruczynski started for the Saguaros and took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 5 prospect Trent Giambrone went 1-for-5 with a single in the first inning. D.J. Wilson (No. 16) went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a run scored and two stolen bases.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) went 1-for-4 with a single, a walk and a run scored.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell boosted his average to .298 with a three-hit performance. Trammell tripled, drew a walk and scored a trio of runs. Shed Long (No. 8) finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and Mark Kolozsvary went 1-for-2.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 9 prospect Drew Ellis hit his fourth double of the fall before he was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eighth. Daulton Varsho (No. 5) was intentionally walked as a pinch-hitter following the double and swiped second as part of a double steal. No. 4 prospect Pavin Smith went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored, while catcher Dominic Miroglio (No. 30) went 0-for-3. Kevin Ginkel allowed a run, but picked up his first save of the fall, while Tyler Mark pitched an inning and allowed an unearned run.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Nolan Long struck out a pair in a scoreless sixth, while Dodgers No. 26 prospect Jordan Sheffield took his first loss of the fall after giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 28 prospect C.J. Hinojosa went 1-for-4.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 25 prospect Austin Allen went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Buddy Reed (No. 13) went 0-for-2 and Hudson Potts (No. 23) went 0-for-4.

Rockies (Salt River)
Rockies No. 10 prospect Ryan Castellani struck out seven, tying his most in AFL play, as he pitched five innings and held Glendale to one run on two hits. No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin hit a game-tying, pinch-hit RBI single, and Mitch Horacek struck out the side in the sixth.