The Philadelphia Phillies made an unlikely run to the World Series in 2022. They came up short against the Houston Astros. Philly didn’t wait long to make a blockbuster signing in free agency as they brought in former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner on an 11-year, $300 million deal. Turner can do it all at shortstop and is consistently in the MVP conversation.
Turner is heading into his ninth major league season. After spending six full seasons with the Washington Nationals, he was a trade deadline move to the Dodgers in 2021. Last season, he played in 160 games and hit .298 with 39 doubles, 21 home runs and 100 RBI. The biggest knock against Turner would just be that while his average, on-base percentage (.343), stolen bases (27) and RBI numbers look great, he lacks the power to hang with the MVP frontrunners.
Turner joined Team USA to play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. He was typically slotted into the bottom of an All-Star Game-esque lineup and flew under the radar. He hit .391 in six games of the tournament and led all players with five home runs and 11 RBI. Turner came alive against Venezuela in the quarterfinals. He only had one hit, but it was a grand slam in the top of the 8th inning to take the lead. Turner went 3-4 with two more home runs and four RBI in the semi-final game against Cuba. He then hit his fourth home run in three games with a deep fly in the second inning of the WBC Championship against Japan.
U-S-TREA! U-S-TREA!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 21, 2023
He has done it again!! USA leads 1-0! pic.twitter.com/VRW8zq8Dba
The regular season is set to start in eight days at the time of this writing. He shot up the National League MVP odds at DraftKings Sportsbook with his WBC performance. Following the championship on Tuesday, Turner now has +900 odds of winning the award. San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto has the best odds of winning at +550. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mookie Betts follow him, both installed at +850.
Last year’s National League MVP was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt. He played in 151 games and had 41 doubles, 35 home runs and 115 RBI. His batting average, RBI and OPS (.981) all ranked in the top five of major league hitters. Part of the advantage that Goldy has, apart from just being really good, is that usually bats third or fourth in the talented Cardinals lineup. He is protected in the lineup, surrounded by Lars Nootbar and Nolan Arenado.
Turner had a stacked lineup around him in Los Angeles, but he was often overshadowed. Teammates Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts finished fourth and fifth in MVP voting, respectively. Turner clocked in at 11th. He now joins a Phillies lineup with Bryce Harper (when healthy), Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and JT Realmuto, among others. If Turner is able to keep some of that power displayed in the WBC, he could be in line for a career year. One other thing to note is that he is a prolific base stealer. The bases are bigger this season to try and encourage steals. If Turner swipes a career-high in bags and increases his offensive numbers, his MVP odds at +900 look like a, pun intended, steal.