Porcello an AL Cy Young finalist; Betts up for MVP

Porcello an AL Cy Young finalist; Betts up for MVP

BOSTON -- The Red Sox could have a celebratory couple of days next week, as right-hander Rick Porcello and right fielder Mookie Betts have been named finalists by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for the American League's Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards.

The Cy Young Award winner will be announced Nov. 16, with the MVP announcement coming the following day.

Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET with the MLB Awards. Categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie and Manager, and recognize overall MLB winners with no league distinction.

Betts, who excelled in every way this season at the age of 23, is joined by Astros hit machine Jose Altuve and Angels superstar Mike Trout (the 2014 MVP) as finalists.

The electrifying Betts would be Boston's first MVP since Dustin Pedroia in 2008.

• Betts up for multiple Esurance MLB Awards

Righties Justin Verlander (Tigers) and Corey Kluber (Indians) are the other AL finalists for the Cy Young.

Behind Betts and Porcello, the Red Sox rolled to a 93-win season and their first postseason appearance since 2013.

Porcello is aiming to become the first Cy Young Award winner for Boston since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez won it for the second straight year in 2000.

Porcello a finalist for Cy Young

In fact, Porcello's level of performance is perhaps most evident when you consider that he is mentioned in some other sentences with Martinez. Porcello's 22 wins led the Majors and represented the best total by a Boston pitcher since Martinez's 23-4 masterpiece in 1999. Porcello's 1.01 WHIP was the lowest since 2002, when Martinez posted a 0.92 in that category and Derek Lowe was at 0.97.

Few would have projected Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA, 223 innings, 189 K's) as a Cy Young candidate prior to the 2016 season. In '15, his first year with the Red Sox, Porcello went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.

But the 27-year-old had pinpoint location and a big spike of confidence that led to a career season in '16.

Porcello was Mr. Automatic at Fenway Park, going 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 16 starts. The sinkerballer led the Majors with a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio and his ratio of 1.29 walks per nine innings was second among all MLB starters.

While Porcello had a coming-of-age season that was several years in the making, Betts skyrocketed among the game's elite players in just his second full year.

With his bat (.318, 214 hits, 42 doubles, five triples, 31 homers, 113 RBIs, .897 OPS), legs (26 stolen bases), glove (.997 fielding percentage, 32 runs saved) and arm (14 assists, four double plays), Betts was a nightly highlight reel.

He became the seventh player in history to compile 200 hits, 40 doubles, 30 homers and 20 steals in a season, and only the second aside from Nomar Garciaparra (1997) to do it at age 23.

Betts is also a finalist for the AL Gold Glove Award in right field, which will be announced Tuesday.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.