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Betts, Yelich, voted Major League Baseball's MVPs

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Boston star Mookie Betts, named the American League MVP, waves to fans during the Red Sox's World Series victory parade

Boston star Mookie Betts, named the American League MVP, waves to fans during the Red Sox's World Series victory parade (AFP Photo/Adam Glanzman)

New York (AFP) - Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and the Milwaukee Brewers' Christian Yelich were near-unanimous choices Thursday as Major League Baseball's Most Valuable Players of 2018.

For Betts, the American League award capped a magical year that saw Boston win a franchise-record 108 regular-season games before beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series to claim a fourth title in 15 seasons.

Betts, in his fourth full season, led the major leagues with a .346 batting average, 129 runs and a .640 slugging percentage, along with 47 doubles, 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases.

He's the first Red Sox player to lead the majors in both batting average and slugging since legendary Ted Williams in 1957. He reached base at least four times in 20 games, leading the major leagues.

Defensively, the three-time Gold Glove Award winner had five outfield assists and tied for fourth among all players with 20 defensive runs saved.

Betts received 28 of 30 first-place votes in balloting of the Baseball Writers Association of America, finishing ahead of Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout -- the 2014 and 2016 AL MVP -- and Cleveland's Jose Ramirez.

Yelich, who led the Brewers to a National League-leading 96 regular season wins and a return to the NL championship series for the first time since 2011, received 29 of 30 first-place votes to beat out Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado for the award.

Yelich, whose season ended with Milwaukee's loss to the Los Angeles dodgers in the NLCS, had already won Major League Baseball's Hank Aaron Award as the top hitter in the National League.

His arrival in a trade with the Marlins fueled Milwaukee's rise to the NL Central title.

His .770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break was baseball's best in 14 years and 145 points better than the next closest hitter, National League Rookie of the Year Award winner Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves.

With his average of .326, Yelich became the first Brewers player to win a batting title, and he was just two home runs and one RBI short of winning the first NL triple crown in 81 years.

Yelich became just the fifth player to hit for the cycle twice in the same season.