Braves most indispensable under-the-radar player according to The Athletic

9532205280918 mia at atl

The Braves have one of the most star-studded rosters in baseball. Max Fried might be the best lefty in the game, Austin Riley is an MVP candidate, Ronald Acuna Jr. is once again playing like one of the best players in the NL, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It takes all 26 men on the roster to win a championship, and Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently pointed out the Braves’ most indispensable under-the-radar player:

Atlanta Braves: Michael Harris II, CF

Harris – who signed an eight-year, $72 million extension on Tuesday – is the clear front-runner for National League Rookie of the Year. The 21-year-old has been a huge difference maker for the Braves on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he’s played Gold Glove-caliber center field as demonstrated by the fact he’s in the 91st percentile in both outs above average and outfield jumps to go along with the 93rd percentile in sprint speed. At the plate, he’s shown a great combination of both power and speed, belting 12 home runs while stealing 13 bases in 13 attempts. He’s made the pitching staff better due to run prevention, taking away singles and doubles on a regular basis and he’s extended the Braves lineup by adding more speed, power, and on-base skills.

Special mention:  Travis D’Arnaud, C – I felt like I had to keep sounding the horn for Harris because he’s such a difference maker but also wanted to mention when I talked to team president Alex Anthopoulos, one of the first names he offered me was catcher Travis D’Arnaud. “He caught every postseason inning for us and is the glue to our team,” Anthopoulos said. “Connects with every player and staff member in the organization.”

The Braves rookie phenom just signed a massive eight-year extension, and I agree with Bowden. Harris is certainly indispensable. Before he was called up, the Braves struggled mightily. Once Harris arrived in Atlanta, the club immediately went on a tear, including a 14-game win streak. He solidified a shaky outfield, providing Gold Glove defense in center field while giving the bottom of the lineup some much-needed juice. Harris will be a staple in Atlanta for years to come, but I’m not sure how “under-the-radar” he is.

Anybody who has paid attention to the Braves this season knows how special Harris is. Had he begun the year with the major-league club, he easily would have made the National League All-Star team. Hell, Harris has already earned himself an eight-year extension. This young man is as indispensable as they come — a superstar in the making. If he’s “under-the-radar” now, he won’t be a in a couple of months.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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