Kevin Pillar has bold prediction for Braves young star

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The 2024 MLB season kicked off yesterday for the Braves with a shellacking of the Philadelphia Phillies, as the Braves offense and bullpen flexed their muscles after a dominant six innings of work from Zack Wheeler. If the entire season is anything like that, it’s going to be another fun six months for the Braves, who are aiming for their seventh straight division title.

For the most part, this is the same Braves team that won 104 games a year ago and had the NL East wrapped up by mid-September. However, there are a few significant changes. The entire pitching staff has been bolstered, as Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez, and Aaron Bummer add a lot of juice to what was already a potent group of arms.

The lineup remains entirely the same except for one change in left field. Jarred Kelenic and Adam Duvall have replaced Eddie Rosario and Kevin Pillar. The latter of which is the subject of this post.

Even though Kevin Pillar was nothing special for the Braves, he immediately gained respect from the fan base for his relentless effort. There was never a ball that he didn’t think he could catch, even if it meant running into a foul pole to make it happen. Effort is often enough to earn praise in any arena, but even though Pillar is no longer with the Braves, he’s still finding ways into the good graces of the Braves faithful.

Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, Kevin Pillar’s bold prediction for the 2024 season is that Michael Harris II will take home the NL MVP award.

Harris has been an All-Star caliber talent ever since he stepped on the field for the first time with the Braves. He plays Gold Glove defense in centerfield, hits for average and possesses plenty of pop.

Last year, a couple of early season injuries caused him to start dreadfully. Harris didn’t eclipse the Mendoza line until June 12th, but from that point on, he hit .333 with 15 homers and a .906 OPS over his final 95 games, finishing the season with nearly 5 WAR.

Just by being fully healthy for the entire year, it’s reasonable to expect Harris could accrue 6-7 WAR in 2024. However, most believe there’s still plenty of room for improvement in his game. Harris is only 23-years-old and is just now starting to fully grow into his frame. He put on a lot of muscle this offseason and already had plenty of power. Eventually, he’s going to take the next step into superstardom, and if that happens this year, this prediction by Kevin Pillar may not be so far-fetched.

Photographer: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

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