8 Atlanta Braves named to ESPN’s List of Baseball’s Top 100 Players
By Fred Owens
Michael Harris II – 41
When the Atlanta Braves called Harris up from double-A, they told him to play defense and not worry about the rest. Turns out, he didn’t have to worry about any of it.
"Nobody expected this: (Harris) emerging as one of the best players in the league (finishing with) .297/.339/.514 with 19 home runs, 20 stolen bases, excellent defense and a nice Rookie of the Year trophy . . . Harris can flat hit. Imagine what will happen if he improves his plate discipline . . . Let's go with a 30-30 season, a trip to the All-Star Game and a Gold Glove. "- Schoenfield
Schoenfield concentrated on Harris’ K-rate, but I believe he should focus on reducing his 55% ground ball rate, which would increase his OBP, and provide more opportunities to wreak havoc on opposing pitchers.
Ozzie Albies – 74
If you’re tired of hearing me say and write that Ozzie is the heartbeat of the team, stop . . . oops, I guess you’ve already seen me write it again, sorry about that. . . or not. Ozzie’s not perfect, but the Braves missed his presence in the lineup and on the field when he was injured.
". . . At his best, he generates surprising power from his small frame, hitting 30 home runs and ranking fifth in the majors in extra-base hits in 2021. . .he has a knack for pounding out those extra-base hits. I'll go .250 with 25 home runs and 35 doubles . . ."- Schoenfield
Schoenfield expressed concerns about Ozzie’s plate discipline and his ability to stay healthy. Ozzie’s injuries were random, so I’m not as concerned as Schoenfield there, but I agree that his strike-zone management needs improvement.
If he wants the 30 steals he set as a goal, he needs to get his OBP back to the .350 mark of 2019.