The Braves get in Thursday with a 98.7% opportunity to make the playoffs, according to FanGraphs. They have a 6 1/2-video game lead over the first string out in the Wild Card race, holding the leading area.
But it hasn’t been all smooth cruising to get to this point for Atlanta. Exactly 2 months earlier, the outlook was rather various.
Entering May 28, the Braves were 22-24, 3 video games behind in the Wild Card race. Their .478 win portion ranked 15th in the Majors.
That’s when Michael Harris II debuted for the club. Harris was the Braves’ No. 1 possibility and MLB’s No. 59 total possibility at the time, according to MLB Pipeline. The Braves lost that day, however Harris’ effect started early – he got his very first profession hit because video game. There was far more to come.
Less than a week later on, on June 1, the Braves won the very first of what would be 14 in a row. Since Harris’ launching, the club is 37-17, a .685 win portion that is finest in MLB because period.
He’s an enjoyable gamer to see, and his development has actually accompanied Dansby Swanson rebounding from a slower start, plus the always-reliable contributions of Austin Riley and Matt Olson. And this group likewise has Ronald Acuña Jr. It’s a gifted group, and his effect has actually been noteworthy.
Here’s how the arrival of 21-year-old “Money Mike” (per his Twitter account) has actually triggered the Braves.
The Braves are striking .261 because Harris’ arrival, 5th in MLB, with a .794 OPS that ranks 3rd. Their 5.2 runs per video game because period are third-most. Prior to May 28, they were 23rd and 14th, respectively, in average and OPS, and connected for 18th in runs per video game. But if we zero in on the outfield, the effect is clearer.
Through May 27, Braves outfielders had a 66 wRC+ this season, where 100 is league average. That was the worst of any group’s outfielders at the plate. Since, they’re at a 107 wRC+, connected for ninth amongst outfields.
Harris is striking .286 with an .812 OPS and 9 homers in his major league profession. Both his 45.5% hard-hit rate and 35.7% sweet area rate are above the MLB averages for those metrics – showing that he makes great, efficient contact. His 10.5% barrel rate is likewise well above the MLB average.
There’s no concern that the most appealing thing Harris does is play his position in center field. His aesthetically magnificent play is measurable, too. He’s in the 94th percentile in Outs Above Average, and the 93rd percentile in Outfielder Jump – which is feet covered in the right instructions in the very first 3 seconds of a play.
To that point, at 29.0 ft/sec, he’s the fastest Braves gamer by sprint speed this season. That mark is 2 ft/sec much better than the MLB average of 27 ft/sec, and not far from the elite limit of 30 ft/sec.
His speed makes an effect both on the basepaths and in the field. And the club required the protective turn-around in the outfield.
Here are the Braves’ outfield OAA marks and MLB ranks by month this season:
In other words, a bottom-tier protective outfield has actually been updated to at or above league average. In June alone, Harris had 4 OAA, connected for second-most amongst outfielders in the month. He has 6 overall – 2nd amongst NL outfielders behind Daulton Varsho’s 7 OAA.
A young, vibrant outfielder in a Braves uniform? It’s difficult not to think about 2 others in current memory, specifically Acuña and Andruw Jones, who made their marks on the club from a young age while patrolling the outfield lawn. Acuña won 2018 NL Rookie of the Year as a 20-year-old, and Jones won the very first of 10 profession Gold Gloves in 1998, his 2nd complete season.
Harris was available in 2nd in the NL in our most current Rookie of the Year survey, and he and colleague Spencer Strider appear to have actually separated themselves as the leading 2 prospects.
What about Gold Glove capacity? Harris will be 21 years and 212 days old on the last day of the season. If he were to win a Gold Glove, he’d be the third-youngest outfielder to do so, older than just 1990 Ken Griffey Jr (twenty years, 316 days) and 1998 Jones (21 years, 158 days), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That’s right, he’d be simply a bit older than Jones was when he won his previously mentioned very first.
The awards will all play out, however in the meantime, Harris will continue to assist the Braves with his bat, defense and speed, as the group presses towards and into October.