The Braves are only four games into spring training, and many are already talking about Michael Harris potentially being Atlanta’s next top-100 prospect. Here’s what Brian Snitker said after the 19-year-old five-tool prospect went 1-2 in his 2021 debut.
19-year-old #Braves OF prospect Michael Harris has really made a good impression on team officials last spring training and summer camp, last year at the alternate site, and so far here in camp. Snitker loves everything about the kid, his skills and confidence.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 2, 2021
A 2001 baby (wow, that makes me feel old), Harris was taken in the third round of the 2019 draft and made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League, quickly earning a promotion to Rome after slashing .349/.403/.514. He struggled in 22 games of A-ball, but that is to be expected for an 18-year-old at that level. Not to mention, it also wasn’t much of a sample size.
Missing an entire season of baseball can hinder some of the best young players’ development, but thankfully, 2020 wasn’t a total loss for Harris. The Braves elected to carry him on their 60-man taxi squad last season, and as O’Brien pointed out, he continued to impress the organization. Now, once again — a few days before his 20th birthday — Harris is showing off at Braves camp, and with a solid first half to 2021, he will rocket up prospect lists.
Prospects Worldwide recently had him among their breakout prospects for this season in the NL East.
Realistically, he could hit for about a .270-.280, while getting on-base at a high rate and hit for some power. While his plate discipline needs some work, his bat is already advanced for his age and quickly Harris has the potential to turn into one of the Braves more prominent prospects.
Defensively, Harris has plus arm strength and good speed allowing him to play all three outfield positions but center field seems like his position in the future. I do want to finish off on this note, Harris was clocked at having a 90+ MPH fastball in high school and could have pitching as a fallback option considering he was a strong pitching prospect out of High School, but his ability with the bat shouldn’t get overlooked in this system or the minors. He has all the tools to be an everyday player for the Braves.
We currently have Harris as the 8th best prospect in the Braves system. Baseball America has him 11th, and Talking Chop already has him as high as 5th. So if you’re not already well aware of who this kid is, you’re late to the party.
Depending on where you look, the Braves have 6-7 top-100 worthy prospects, with Cristian Pache, Ian Anderson, and Drew Waters being the only consensus top-100 prospects. I’ve also seen William Contreras, Shea Langeliers, Braden Shewmake, and Kyle Muller make top-100 lists. That’s a talented farm system, but by the end of 2021, I expect Michael Harris to be mentioned alongside those names, if not above them.
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