3B - Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: .384/.473/.571 (176 OPS+), 8 HR, 33 RBI, 3.9 WAR
Here's an incredibly tight race that casts aside the reigning NL MVP, Kris Bryant, like he's the fourth wheel of a tricycle (which is to say, still pretty darn useful). Though a three-week absence due to a hamstring injury has left him eight plate appearance short of the 261 (3.1 per team game played) needed to qualify for the batting title, Turner leads the league in both average on on-base percentage via the phantom rule, which means that even if an 0-for-8 is tacked on, he outdistances the second-ranked Murphy (.341 AVG) and Goldschmidt (.433 OBP). He leads all third baseman in both flavors of WAR (3.9 in FanGraphs' version, too), edging Anthony Rendon (3.7 in each) and Nolan Arenado (3.5 bWAR, 2.7 fWAR ). Using FanGraphs' handy Past Calendar Year split, his 7.2 fWAR and 159 wRC+* both rank fourth in the majors since July 5, 2016, with Mike Trout and Votto ahead of him in both categories, Mookie Betts in WAR and Freeman in wRC+. On Thursday, Turner was announced as the winner of the NL Final Vote. In choosing the Heavy Metal Amish Leprechaun, the fans made the right call.
* I prefer not to mix-and-match OPS+ and wRC+ within the same piece, but in general they’re nearly identical; FanGraphs’ use of them in calculating splits such as the one above is why I’ve cited the stat here here.