Rookie of the Year season isn’t good enough for Michael Harris II

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Spencer Strider turned in one of the most spectacular seasons for a pitcher, and he did it as a rookie. Amazingly, he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year award because what Michael Harris II did was even more impressive.

Not only did he skip Triple-A altogether, but he also completely turned his hometown team around when he arrived. Before his promotion, the Braves were barely keeping their heads above water. Then, the Michael Harris show started, and the club took off. At the time of his debut, the Braves boasted a 22-24 record; they’d go on to win 101 games. Multiple players attributed the team’s turnaround to his emergence.

It’s not a hot take to say that he was the Braves’ best player across the 2022 campaign. People often throw around the term ‘five-tool’ athlete, but it actually rings true with Michael Harris. He is a legitimate threat to win the MVP award one day, given his well-rounded skillset and likability. Across 114 games, he slashed .297/.339/.514 with 19 long balls, good for an .853 OPS, while driving in 64 runs and swiping 20 bags.

His physical talent is apparent, but what separates Hall of Fame players from the good ones is the intangibles. The desire to be great can drive a player beyond their physical limits, and Michael Harris doesn’t have many of those. The sky really is the limit for someone who isn’t satisfied with just a Rookie of the Year campaign.

“Some things I had to work on, but it was decent. I’ll try to do better,” Harris said, via The Moultrie Observer. “Kind of like to hold myself to a higher standard.”

The craziest thing about Michael Harris II is his body. Turning 22 years old soon, his body is still maturing. And by the looks of his physique from Spring Training, Harris is already filling out, looking noticeably bigger. Not only will he develop physically, but his mental capacity will also grow with experience. Playing for his hometown team is extra motivation too.

“Me being a fan of the Braves growing up, and being able to put on that jersey and play in Atlanta for a team I grew up rooting for, I guess it just gave me that extra push,” Harris said, via The Moultrie Observer. “Having my family and friends here to support me too, that also helped.”

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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