Michael Harris is back in the lineup tonight, as he was given the night off on Tuesday to collect himself. Chipper Jones, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, talked about some adjustments the Braves reigning Rookie of the Year was working on during that time.
According to Mark Bowman, the Hall of Fame third baseman instructed Harris to try to hit the ball to the opposite field. He wanted Harris to “try to hit the ball through the shortstop” like Freddie Freeman used to do. The goal is to promote line drives into left-center field, and the over-exaggeration will eventually find a medium.
Harris is struggling, hitting a paltry .163 average and .486 OPS. It’s not what Braves Country has become accustomed to seeing from their star centerfielder. Here’s more about Michael Harris’ struggles from David O’Brien of the Athletic:
Harris, five days from the anniversary of his major-league debut — he was promoted from Double A to the majors last May 28 — spent his afternoon working with Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, a team consultant who works with hitters before home games.
“He’s scuffling right now,” Seitzer said. “We’re working.”
“I think it’s a combination,” Seitzer said. “I mean, he had, like, 30-some at-bats before he got hurt, about 50 since he’s been back, and he got off to a slow start. And what do hitters do? Start pressing, start trying to force it, fighting. So, Snit gave him a day (out of the lineup) today. We had some really good time to work and talk.”
“I mean, he’s clipping balls underneath, fouling balls off, popping them up when they’re fastballs,” Seitzer said. “And then he’s out front on off-speed pitches and rolling them. So, we’re trying to clean up his approach to where he’s thinking a little bit more low line drives, staying the other way, more oppo-gap, to where he’s not missing those fastballs. Because he killed fastballs last year, and he’s not this year.
This is a good strategy. The Georgia native’s best asset is his speed — not his power. He’s rolling over almost every at-bat, and it’s clear something has to change. If he can find some gaps and use his legs, he’s going to start heating up. It’s frustrating, but he has a great staff and Hall of Famers around him. I’m not concerned about his slow start, and hopefully, he can get a hit or two with this updated approach tonight against the Dodgers to avoid a series sweep.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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