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Braves’ Michael Harris II beats out teammate Spencer Strider for NL ROY

Braves’ Michael Harris II beats out teammate Spencer Strider for NL ROY

The Atlanta Braves faith Michael Harris II At least he had the ability to hold his own in the majors after impressing the front office and coaching staff in spring training in both 2021 and ’22.

At the very least, they knew he was the best defensive center fielder in the organization, and with Braves center fielders hitting a combined .186 and under .500 since May 27, they decided to roll the dice.

The Braves called the 21-year-old up from Double-A even though he played just 43 games above Class A. Harris rewarded the Braves’ faith with one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history, hitting .297/.339/.515 with 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense.

“I think the whole season has been surreal,” Harris said. But now that the season is over, I guess I can actually look back and think about how crazy a year it was and how fast it went.”

Harris defeated his teammate Spencer Strider Strider collected 22 first-place votes and 134 points Monday to win National League Rookie of the Year honors with eight first-place votes and 103 points. St. Louis Cardinals Utility player Brendan Donovan It came third in the polls.

Harris and Strider are the fourth pair of teammates to finish 1-2 in the poll since ranked balloting began in 1980. Craig Kimbrel And Freddie Freeman In 2011, the Cubs’ Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith in 1989, and the Mariners’ Alvin Davis and Mark Langston in 1984.

Harris is the ninth player in Braves franchise history to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Harris was hitting .305 for Double-A Mississippi when the Braves called him up. Two days later, Strider made his first start after pitching out of the bullpen to start the season. The Braves immediately took off, winning 15 straight from June 1 to June 15, with Harris hitting .370 in that stretch. The Braves eventually won their fifth NL East title, falling behind the Mets by 10.5 games at the end of the season.

“He’s very calm, and he’s very consistent,” manager Brian Snitker said of Harris in early September. “That’s the whole thing. He can defeat you in many ways. With his gloves, with his arms, with his legs, with his bat. That’s a pretty good quality in a player that can do a lot to impact the game. “

Harris’ all-around tools — his Statcast metrics included a 92nd percentile ranking in strikeouts above average on defense, a 95th percentile ranking in sprint speed, and a 95th percentile ranking in arm strength — helped him to a 5.3-WAR season, making him the starting pitcher in 1969. 34th rookie position player with 5.0 WAR since.

He did it in just 114 games, the fewest of any player on the list. The only rookie of the year since 2010 was with a higher WAR Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, Aaron is the judge And Pete Alonso.

In mid-August, the Braves awarded Harris an eight-year contract extension worth $72 million that runs through 2030, with two club option seasons that could make it $102 million over 10 years. Not bad for a kid growing up a Braves fan in Stockbridge, Georgia, 35 miles south of Truist Park.

“Yeah, I definitely didn’t think about 2030,” Harris said when he signed the deal. “It’s a long way. I’m glad I’ve been in Atlanta this long.”

The Braves selected the hometown kid in the third round of the 2018 draft — when many teams saw Harris as a pitcher. Braves scout Dana Brown, now director of scouting, saw an outfielder with power and speed. As Buster Olney wrote earlier this year, the Braves invited Harris to hit at Truist Park before the draft, and he filled the outfield seats with home runs in batting practice.

Harris told the Braves: “I’m a hitter.”

Harris, however, hasn’t hit for much power in the minors, hitting seven home runs in Class A Rome in 2021 and just five in those 43 games in Double-A. After joining the Braves, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer Harris to make an adjustment, his hand down. Harris immediately took the change and his powers stopped.

Harris spent his first three months hitting at the bottom of Atlanta’s strong lineup, but hit third in the final week of the season as the Braves swept the Mets in a crucial series to clinch the division title.

“As he matures and he becomes the player we all know he is, he’ll probably be in that No. 2 or 3 spot for a long time,” Snitker said late in the season.

Strider also had a standout season, going 11-5 with a 2.67 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 131.2 innings. Strider became just the 10th rookie since 1969 with 200 strikeouts and the first since then. U Dervish In 2012. His 13.81 strikeouts per nine innings was the second-highest for a pitcher with at least 100 innings, behind Gerrit Cole’s 13.82 in 2019.

“Everybody tries to identify certain checkpoints that they’re trying to achieve,” Strider said of reaching that 200-strikeout milestone. “I don’t think I was trying to strike out 200 in a season. That wasn’t my goal. It was just winning games, keeping us in the game, things I could control and control.”

Voting could be close if Strider doesn’t miss the final two-plus weeks with an oblique strain. Strider also received his own financial reward when he signed a six-year, $75 million extension in early October that includes a $22 million club option for 2029.

Harris and Strider will also receive an additional bonus through the pre-arbitration bonus pool agreed to in the new labor agreement: $750,000 for Harris and $500,000 for Strider.


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