Somehow, Trea Turner is still underrated. Despite leading the National League in average, total hits, and stolen bases, Turner’s name does not get discussed in the same conversation as Bryce Harper and Juan Soto in the MVP race. But Turner should be receiving the respect that he deserves.
Turner 2021 Season Recap
Despite being traded midseason from the lowly Nationals to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Turner never lost focus and continued to compete at an elite level throughout the campaign. But even in that trade, many reports stated that Max Sherzer was the main piece in the deal and Turner was simply a bonus. However, Turner got even better as a member of the Dodgers.
Turner won the batting title with a .328 batting average. However, with all of the pressure that comes with playing with the Dodgers, he still hit .338 through 52 games in LA. On the season, Turner displayed some power as well by finishing with 28 home runs and a .950 OPS.
When you combine his impressive offense performance with his strong defense and blazing speed, Turner is one of the most valuable players in the game.
Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, and Fernando Tatis JR all stand in Turner’s way in regards to the NL MVP race.
Turner’s former teammate Soto bounced back from a rough start to the season to hit .313 with a ridiculous .465 OBP. He added 29 homers and 111 runs scored.
Harper almost led the Phillies to the postseason by hitting .309 with 35 home runs and a league leading .615 slugging percentage. However, Philadelphia fell just short of a playoff berth.
Tatis JR led the NL in home runs with 42 while adding a respectable .282/.365/.611 slash line.
WAR (wins above replacement) has become an important statistic when discussing a player’s true value to a team. However, this does not help to solve anything in this scenario since the four players all had extremely similar WAR values. According to FanGraphs, Soto had a 6.5 WAR, Harper had a 6.6 WAR, Tatis JR had a 6.3 WAR, and Turner finished with 6.8 WAR.
These players all added their own blend of skills. Turner got it done with average and speed with a bit of sneaky pop. Soto had his share of hits and was an on-base machine, Harper added power and on-base ability, while Tatis led in the power department.
Will Turner Win the 2021 MVP?
In the end, this is going to be an extremely tight race. Nobody sticks out as a clear favorite. Turner is the only player in the postseason which could help his case.
The majority of people believe that Harper or Soto will win the award, but Turner should get his share of votes based on his ability to do all things well on the diamond. At the very least, Turner will be a top 3 finisher, but I believe that Trea Turner should be your 2021 National League Most Valuable Player.