I don’t like Trea Turner. In 86 games against my beloved New York Mets, he’s hit .290 and mashed 13 home runs. He’s even stolen a nauseating 27 bags against the feeble catchers I have had the misfortune of rooting for. After a brief stint out west with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he found himself back on the Eastern Seaboard, now as a cornerstone of the Philadelphia Phillies. The damn guy won’t leave me alone.
Even worse, he very well could win himself an MVP.
Trea Turner’s case for NL MVP
To set things straight, Turner didn’t just sign an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Phillies just to beat up on their better looking, kinder, more entertaining counterparts in New York. He’s a hell of a shortstop.
Amongst qualified shortstops last season, Turner ranked second in batting (.298), third in slugging (.466), and fourth in stolen bases (27). Only Francisco Lindor and Dansby Swanson posted more fWAR than Turner’s 6.3, and only seven hit more home runs than his 21.
Any way you cut it, he’s an elite bat for the position. Likely leading off, he has the ability to jolt Philadelphia ahead with his bat or his legs. Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins will have themselves a field day driving him in to open up games. Less shifts and larger bases may add to his production, too.
Turner may never be the face of the Phillies, but he is penciled in as a difference maker and a key cog in the red-pinstriped machine.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projection has Turner posting the highest WAR in the National League (6.6). Other projection systems such as ATC, THE BAT X, and Steamer all have him finishing in the top five in batting average; none have him posting less than 4.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Whether it be from media members, the analytics, or fans, few are consistently touted as highly as Turner.
Yet, PointsBet is offering +1500 odds on the shortstop to win the National League’s Most Valuable Player award. With those odds, a $100 wager would win $1,500 in profit. You can also use PointsBet’s promotion for Bet Basics readers: UP TO $250 BET CREDITS.
More than just a statistical accomplishment
Topping the National League leaderboards will be important in cementing Turner’s place as a finalist, but that’s not all there is to it.
Across the American sports landscape, the MVP is a narrative award as much as it is a statistical one. What makes a good player on a playoff team more valuable than a better player on a worse team? Why does Mike Trout not have eight MVPs to his name?
Voter fatigue, markets, team performance, and a good story matter. Here, Turner circles the bases.
Playing in Philadelphia means Turner will be center stage, plastered on nationally televised games, newspapers, and social media accounts alike. Leading off and playing short doesn’t hurt, either.
Additionally, the Phillies are coming off of a magical run to the World Series. Yes, they lost, but this team is poised to stay competitive in the coming years. Most public projection systems have them making another playoff run, or at least keeping it close. DraftKings’ over/under on their wins is set at 88.5, with odds of winning the division at +370.
These expectations are tempered, especially in the wake of such a deep run. But it is a very manageable bar to clear. The Phillies still boast a talented rotation and a potent top of the order, even with Bryce Harper missing significant time.
The two-time MVP is out until the All-Star break (approximately) after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Joining his former teammate and saving the offense while he rehabs? Yeah, that’ll do for a storyline.
Turner’s statistical production is infallible, and there’s every reason to believe he’ll continue dominating. It’s everything else, though, that makes him such a good bet to win MVP.
This article features futures bets, which are wagers on distant events such as statistical leaders, making the playoffs, and winning awards. Timing is key here, as odds can change drastically as new information is revealed and candidates play themselves out of contention. Beware of overconfidence and small sample sizes, but consider pulling the trigger on a friendly line.