Braves: Alex Anthopoulos talks about the decision to call up Michael Harris

Braves record

Nobody said being a general manager was easy. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult jobs in all of sports, especially MLB GMs, who are dealing with so many spinning plates at the same time. Over the years, Alex Anthopoulos has been forced to make a plethora of gut-wrenching decisions, many of which involve emotion — both good and bad.

The decision to call up Michael Harris was a happy moment for everyone involved, but it wasn’t necessarily an easy choice for the man in charge. Harris only had a couple of months of AA baseball under his belt and was asked to skip AAA entirely. So far, it’s been a critical part of why things seem to be shifting in the right direction for Atlanta, but you never know how a rookie — especially a 21-year-old — will handle the pressure. Thankfully, Harris seems to be up to the task; Anthopoulos talked about the decision to make the call Monday morning on 680 The Fan.

“It was tough. I went to see him a bunch. I went to Biloxi. I drove down there to see him. I obviously went to Chattanooga as well,” Anthopoulos said. “We knew what he would bring with the glove from a defensive standpoint, solidifying the outfield defense, allowing Adam Duvall to slide over. Also, a left-handed bat that can make contact. Look, in an ideal world, you let these guys stay down there as long as you can. In an ideal world, Strider wouldn’t have been up at the end of last year, but we thought we were thin in the bullpen from the right side, and we wanted some power. Soroka, when we called him up in 2018, we called him up after four starts. In an ideal world, we would have given him more time. If we were a non-contending club, we were rebuilding, we probably would have just continued to give him at-bats and give him reps, but if we think you have a chance to help the team win, we will make the move. I think in the long run, you’ll still end up being the player you’re supposed to be.”

That last part is what stands out the most to me. Because of the mental side of the game, people are often worried that a young player’s entire career will be ruined if they are rushed to the majors and struggle. There are cases of it in every organization. However, I tend to believe most players that can’t overcome that initial failure were probably unlikely to ever succeed at the top level anyway. Handling failure is a key piece of the game, and Harris doesn’t strike me as the type of player that will be deterred once he inevitably hits a bump in the road.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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