Braves: Michael Harris has a chance to do something not even Ronald Acuna did as a rookie

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Michael Harris II has been the primary catalyst for the team’s turnaround since the beginning of June. He’s leading all qualified MLB rookies with a .306 batting average and .882  OPS, all while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field. And now, Harris has a chance to do something not even Ronald Acuna Jr. did as a rookie — recording 20 steals and 20 home runs.

Harris currently has 19 long balls and 20 swiped bags, which is a near 30-30 pace over 162 games. He’s also doing all of this as the youngest player in the majors. What makes this even crazier is Harris had 14 homers in 828 plate appearances over 197 minor league games; even he recognizes how unreal this performance has been.

“I mean, having a chance to get 20-20 is crazy,” Harris said. “I never had more than seven home runs in a season (in the minors), so coming up here and having 19 is kind of crazy. It’d be great to have it, but as long as we’re winning I don’t really care too much about that.”

On the season, the Atlanta native is slashing .306/.346/.536 with 19 home runs and 64 RBIs — good for a 142 OPS+ (100 is league average). If it weren’t for his teammate Spencer Strider, Harris would be the runaway favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year. However, what Strider has been doing is equally, if not more impressive. The Braves Huckleberry became the fastest pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in a season in MLB history, breaking Randy Johnson‘s record.

Strider landed on the 15-day IL last week with a strained oblique, so there is a slight chance Michael Harris can steal the award away from his teammate if he reaches 20 home runs and 20 stolen bags. I’d even argue Harris’ impact has been more important to the Braves winning than Strider. Either way, Harris doing something RAJ, who was widely regarded as one of the best players in baseball before his injury, didn’t even accomplish in his debut season is incredibly impressive.

Photographer: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

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