Braves: Can Michael Harris take the next step to superstardom?

9532205280918 mia at atl

Michael Harris II started Braves Spring Training action off with a bang, launching a ball way over the right field fence.

For whatever reason, Michael Harris seemingly gets overlooked when talking about the best young players in the game of baseball. Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t made an All-Star Game, or maybe it’s because he’s surrounded by a team full of All-Stars, but this is a budding superstar entering his age-23 season, and 2024 just may be the year Harris puts the rest of the league on notice.

Over about a season-and-a-half worth of games, Harris has accrued nearly 9.0 fWAR before the age of 23. That’s All-Star level production, and he does it by being elite in all facets of the game. He’s nearly a .300 career hitter to go along with Gold Glove caliber defense, and he possesses a power and speed combination that makes him a legitimate 30/30 threat every season.

Coming off NL Rookie of the Year honors, Michael Harris got off to a dreadful start a year ago. Injuries forced him to miss time, and by June 6th, he was hitting just .163 with a .490 OPS. A lot of players at 22-years-old would have started to have some serious doubts about their ability. Baseball is a fickle game; there is a laundry list of guys who have come up and experienced immediate success before disappearing into the abyss following the first sign of prolonged adversity.

But that’s what makes Michael Harris so special. He responded to the injuries and the struggles with perhaps the greatest stretch of his young career. From June 7th to the end of the season, he led all major-league centerfielders in batting average (.335), OPS (.912), extra-base hits (48), and was second in WAR (4.3).

“It gives me a lot (of confidence), because I don’t think a lot of people could get out of that, and I didn’t think I could either,” Harris said, via Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “To be able to do that and get up to where my numbers were the year before, it was pretty, I guess, impressive for me. I feel like last year was a better year for me than the rookie year because I learned a lot more and dug myself out of a deep hole, and still got up to where a lot of people don’t get. It was pretty impressive. Hopefully I don’t have to start off like that again. Hopefully I can just be that second guy throughout the whole season this year.”

In a game like baseball, confidence is oftentimes more critical to sustained success than athletic ability. Combine the two, and you get a player like Michael Harris II, a soon-to-be 23-year-old phenom on the cusp of superstardom.

A year ago, we saw what Ronald Acuña Jr. could do once the game began to slow down for him. Acuña and Harris aren’t the same type of player, despite both being five-tool athletes, but don’t be surprised if something similar takes place with Harris in the near future. When that happens, the Braves might have yet another NL MVP candidate on their hands.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: