Atlanta Braves 2024 season preview: Can Michael Harris II take the next step?

Is this the season Money Mike becomes one of the best players in Major League Baseball?
Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Atlanta Braves Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Coming off his 2022 Rookie of the Year season, expectations were high for the Braves CF in 2023. However, Michael Harris II got off to a slow sophomore season. After missing three weeks in April, Harris struggled through the end of May and had a .174/.260/.266 slashline, which came out to a paltry 45 wRC+.

Did Harris and the Braves panic after this slow start? Of course not, the 22-year-old went on a torrid stretch the rest of the season and still managed to finish the season with a 115 wRC+, 4 fWAR season. He hit 18 homers and stole 20 bases.

Money Mike told that he was thankful for the lessons he learned his 2023 slump. Will his 2024 be the season he takes things to the next level?

What Braves fans should expect from Michael Harris II in 2024

ZiPS projections for the young CF are actually fairly conservative. Despite having a 137 wRC+ in 2022 and a 115 wRC+ in 2023, the projections have Harris II slashing .279/.322/.463 with a 107 wRC+. Harris's projections might be running into the same issue Spencer Strider ran into last year, however, where a large sample size at higher levels doesn't exist.

Harris's own goals for next season are lofty, but they might not be lofty enough. He hopes to make his first All-Star appearance, win a Silver Slugger, a Gold Glove, and the World Series.

Many in the Braves community, including the contributors here at the House That Hank Built, believe that Harris is on the verge of a breakout, and might even be the second-best position player on a very loaded squad.

Last season, Harris II was in the 96th percentile in Baseball's Savant Baserunning Run Value and in the 89th percentile in Fielding Run Value. His xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, and Hard-Hit% were all in the 82nd percentile or higher.

After his April and May slump, the Braves CF slashed .326/.352/.535 with a 136 wRC+ from June 1 onward. This was 23rd best in MLB, tied Austin Riley and Nolan Jones. His 4.1 was 11th-best in MLB, right behind former teammate William Contreras.

If Harris II is able to mirror this production across a full season, it would not be outlandish to predict a top-10 MVP finish considering 25 homer, 25 SB, Gold Glove talent.

If he is able to improve on his Chase%, which ranked in the 6th percentile, and his BB%, which ranked in the 4th percentile, the sky's the limit for the potential superstar. He's had a great Spring Training thus far, let's hope that carries over into regular season action.

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