The Braves were 22-24 when center fielder Michael Harris II was called up on 28 May. Picked in the third round in 2019, Harris played doubles this year and singles last year. He turned 21 in March. He’s a real possibility – he played in the Future game last year and Baseball Prospectus ranked him 58th in the game in their pre-season rankings – but Harris recently saw his first action on the ball in the singles, he was expected to help Atlanta defensively, if He is able to help at all.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is an excerpt from an Associated Press article at the time: “Atlanta Braves call on top prospect Michael Harris to strengthen outfield defense”:
Asked how Harris could help the Braves, manager Brian Snyder said, “Well, that’s just the defensive part of it.”
Well, Harris has done more than just help the defensive end. The Atlanta Mets finished May 23-27, with a 10.5 game record. But the Braves have not lost this month, winning 11 in a row, and are now 34-27, 5.5 games behind from the first and at the top of the wild card race. Michael Harris hit .296 six RBIs and nine runs in that stretched over.
Although it is better than that. According to David O’Brien in The Athletic, Braves hitting coach Kevin Sitzer advised Harris to change his swing after his first four games, at which point Harris went 2-for 13. He’s been 41 for 14 since then. (The story also quotes a secondhand scouting report from Braves Rowing coach Greg Walker: “I never said that about any other player, but he reminded me of Harold Baines.” Oh, really, isn’t Harold Baines a typical scouting comparison?)
While Harris played a relatively large role in this growth, the entire Braves lineup has apparently come to life at once. Even by the 11-game-win-streak standard, things are all sunny and rainbow now. Adam Duval Braves has been red-hot in the 11-game winning streak; He hit two homers in a 5-3 win over the Pirates yesterday. And look how excited his teammates were!
“For one, he’s an incredible man,” said Kyle Wright, who improved to six innings of three runs in one day when he didn’t have the best thing. When asked about Duval, Wright was among them: “He’s a great teammate, a great friend and he has a lot of potential. Anytime he gets hot, he’s one of the best hitters in the game.
He is just an incredible man. The Braves haven’t had a great start to the season, but they certainly look like defending World Series champions now.