Tomahawk Take Awards: The Braves X-Factor is Money Michael Harris

Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II (23) reacts after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II (23) reacts after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

We over at Tomahawk Take have put together a list of awards from the Atlanta Braves 2022 season. We voted on:

Next up, our Braves X-Factor. Who/what was the X-Factor to the Braves success during the 2022 season? We were allowed (encouraged) to think outside the box with some of our votes in this series. If we wanted to go purely on statistical performance, we could. If we wanted to vote based on intangibles, we could.

Hope you enjoy and feel free to give us your votes/opinions in the comments.

The Votes

Official Totals:

The Atlanta Braves X-Factor was Money

Michael Harris wins the Tomahawk Take vote and was the Braves X-Factor in 2022. Fun to note, that the six that did not vote for Michael Harris as Braves MVP, voted for him as the X-Factor. It was apparent that Money Mike played a major role in the Braves success last season.

Harris hit .297/.339/.514 19 HR, 75 R, 64 RBI, 20 SB with .367 wOBA & 136 wRC+. He also added in gold glove caliber defense and elite base running. In his rookie season, Harris was worth 5.3 bWAR and 4.8 fWAR.

From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, he changed the energy. He changed the culture. He was the spark the team needed at the time. His arrival is often viewed as the moment the Braves turned their season around and helped them run down the Mets to win another NL East crown.

It is fitting he is viewed as the Braves X-Factor by our staff.

The Braves Had Plenty of Candidates

There were several worthy candidates outside of Harris that can be viewed as the Braves X-Factor.

Ben viewed Dylan Lee as the X-Factor for the Braves. Lee was struggling to find his way in his professional career before coming over to Atlanta. He found a home in 2021 and took a big step in 2022. He appeared in 50.2 innings with a 2.13 ERA, 2.57 xERA, 2.66 FIP, 3.10 xFIP, and 2.64 SIERA. He struck out 29.4% of batters while only walking 5.0%. A 1.1 fWAR out of the bullpen is a legit season, showing how valuable Lee was to the Braves. He gave Brian Snitker another weapon to deploy in the later innings.

Spencer Strider is an obvious candidate for X-Factor and it is easy to see why Davis voted for him. He pitched 131.2 innings with a 2.67 ERA, 2.39 xERA, 1.83 FIP, 2.30 xFIP, and 2.41 SIERA. Strider struck out 38.3%, leading to him striking out over 200 batters in 2022. Once he became inserted into the starting rotation, he became must watch television.

Christian voted for another bullpen arm in Raisel Iglesias. Iglesias was the big ticket trade acquisition at the trade deadline and he outperformed what was expected. In 26.1 innings with his new team, the electric reliever had a 0.34 ERA, 1.52 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, and 2.52 SIERA. He was worth 0.9 fWAR in just his time with the Braves.

Sam went with Kyle Wright as his X-Factor. “With the regression of Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright stepped up when needed the most.” Sam makes a great point. We all believed after his World Series performance, Wright was poised for a big breakout. With Anderson’s regression, Wright stepping up the way he did was huge for the Braves in 2022. Wright pitched 180.1 innings with a 3.19 ERA, 3.89 xERA, 3.58 FIP, 3.30 xFIP, and 3.48 SIERA. An impressive season that has everyone excited for his next step in his career.

I chose to give some love to Wild Bill Contreras. I was torn on a few guys but ended up with Contreras as my pick. Contreras struggled early in his career and it led to some wondering if he would ever make it in the big leagues. After the Braves signed Manny Piña, it appeared Contreras was on the outside looking in and would be stuck in Gwinnett. However, an injury to Piña opened up a role and he delivered. Contreras would hit .278/.354/.506 20 HR, 51 R, 45 RBI, 2 SB with .370 wOBA and 138 wRC+ along with showing some improved defense. This led to an All-Star selection and him earning my vote as the X-Factor.

Up Next: Surprise of the Year

Thanks for reading about our thoughts on the Braves X-Factor. Michael Harris runs away with the vote but several others played big roles and were deserving of the honor.

Up next, we give our surprise of the year!

Next. Fried wins a close vote for our Braves' Cy Young. dark