Atlanta Braves: Why Michael Harris II should be the NL ROY
The Atlanta Braves are yet again seeing a top prospect shine on the biggest stage
Michael Harris II came into the 2022 season as the top prospect and so far he has proved to be worthy of the ranking.
Harris has transcended the Atlanta Braves lineup, the team has posted a 26-10 record since his debut on May 28th.
So far in just 35 games, he has posted a slash line of .300/.336/.500. Harris has also been an elite outfielder, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage and preventing five runs above average.
Harris has become the Braves’ best outfielder this year. He has 71 putouts at this point in the season. He also gets five outs above average according to Statcast. Michael Harris II has been the rangy centerfielder that the Braves have been missing.
Currently, Michael Harris II is tied for the second-best odds to win rookie of the year according to BetMGM. Pirates’ shortstop Oneil Cruz currently has the best odds to win the award. However, I think Harris has been the better player so far this season.
The debate between Oneil Cruz and Michael Harris II
Just by taking a quick look at the numbers, it’s obvious that Michael Harris II has been better than Oneil Cruz this year. Early on this season, Harris has a better batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage than Oneil Cruz.
It’s worth noting that Oneil Cruz has only played 15 games this season compared to Michael Harris’ 36 games. However, Oneil Cruz already has 19 strikeouts in that short span. That’s more strikeouts than Michael Harris II has had in the same time span.
Harris had a stellar month of June, winning NL rookie of the month. However, over the past fifteen games, Harris’ stats have taken a dip. Even with that dip, his stats are still better than Cruz’s.
In the last 15 games, Harris has more hits, stolen bases, and runs than Oneil Cruz. Michael Harris II has also been a better fielder than Cruz. So far Cruz has two errors, -3 outs above average, and -2 runs above average.
Cruz hits the ball really hard, most people expect that to start to lead to more hits. However, I wouldn’t expect him to suddenly strikeout less or become the fielder that Harris has been.
All in all, I think Michael Harris II should be the favorite for the NL ROY award. He has been been a stabilizing bat at the bottom of the Braves lineup and he has been the most electric rookie to this point in the 2022 season.