The Braves have selected the contract of top outfield prospect Michael Harris II, Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Harris will be taking the place of outfielder Travis Demeritte, who was optioned to Triple-A after last night’s game.
It’s an aggressive and somewhat surprising promotion on the Braves’ part, as the 21-year-old Harris has yet to play even in Triple-A ball. However, Harris could be seen as a center field upgrade immediately, as Adam Duvall has hit only .191/.263/.274 over 175 plate appearances. At the very least, the switch-hitting Harris will be sharing time with the right-handed hitting Duvall, though it seems likely that the Braves wouldn’t have called Harris up if they weren’t planning on playing the youngster every day.
Atlanta’s outfield has largely struggled all season, with the notable exception of Ronald Acuna Jr. since his return from the injured list. However, Acuna has missed time with a quad strain over the last few days, and while Acuna was able to pinch-hit last night, the Braves figure to be cautious with their superstar until he is closer to 100 percent.
This provides an opportunity for Harris to give the outfield mix a shot in the arm, and it represents the latest step in what has been a rather quick rise to prominence. A local product born in DeKalb, Georgia, Harris was a third-round pick for the Braves in the 2019 draft, and he had only an okay rookie season before sitting out in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season.
Upon returning to the field, Harris suddenly blossomed, hitting .294/.362/.436 over 420 PA for the Braves’ High-A affiliate, and also hitting seven homers and stealing 27 bases out of 31 chances. This breakout put him on the radar of prospect evaluators, with Baseball America listing Harris as the 46th-best prospect in baseball in their preseason rankings (Baseball Prospectus ranked him 58th, The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked him 61st, and MLB Pipeline ranked him 65st).
Defensively, Harris has played mostly as a center fielder, and received plus grades for his glovework and his throwing arm. (The latter is no surprise, as Harris was also a highly-touted pitcher in high school.) As per Pipeline’s scouting report, Harris was voted the best defensive outfielder in the High-A East league by rival managers.
At the plate, Harris hit exclusively as a left-handed batter in 2021 before returning to switch-hitting this season in Double-A. Harris has been prone to chasing pitches, but improved on that problem as the 2021 season went on, cutting back on his strikeouts while improving his on-base numbers. While Harris has posted big BABIP numbers over the last two seasons, those totals speak to both some good fortune and his plus speed, which allows him to beat out grounders.
Harris hit .305/.372/.506 with five homers and 11 steals (in 14 chances) over 196 PA at the Double-A level, leaving no doubt that his 2021 performance was for real. It was enough to convince Atlanta that Harris is ready for The Show, and yet as always with prospects, it shouldn’t be assumed that Harris will immediately play well in his first taste of the majors.
It could be that the Braves might eventually send Harris down to Triple-A if he struggles, which would halt his MLB service clock. If Harris does stay up, he likely won’t bank enough service time to make him a Super Two candidate (and thus earn a fourth year of arbitration eligibility). Players like Seiya Suzuki and MacKenzie Gore have an early lead in the race to be NL Rookie Of The Year, though there’s plenty of time for Harris to make a late charge, which would benefit both Harris and the Braves via the new Prospect Promotion Incentive plan.
Woah… he’s killing it and I think he’s legit, but lord… seems a bit early. Drew Waters makes a little more since.. he’s already on the 40 man and he’s doing ok in the minors. In all honesty, both Harris and Waters should be called up… duvall has been brutal and Demeritte has been also, although Demeritte had a good hit last night.
My understanding is that Waters has been struggling lately, and Harris is having a great year in AA. Why not see what he can do, I guess. He looks like he’ll be up here eventually, why not now?
Why not now? If he’s not ready, you don’t want to retard his growth.
I’m not taking a position as I don’t know anything about Harris beyond his stat line. Just giving one potential answer to the question.
No, you have a valid point there.
If they give Harris a try, and he’s not quite ready, then AA knows he might need to explore a trade. If Harris can maintain good offensive production, play good defense, then the Braves may not need to trade for an OF’er at all.
Waters strikes out like 38% of the time against AAA pitching and doesn’t walk. MLB pitchers would eat him alive lol
Waters has very little power and strikes out a ton. He looks like a future fourth outfielder unfortunately.
Harris is A Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
or trade bait
Have you seen the Braves outfield? They need all the help they can get. Personally was pulling for them to sign Castellanos in the offseason. Really don’t know how they did nothing to address it. Getting Ozuna back isn’t really addressing it. It was held together with patchwork at the end of last year, even if Rosario and Soler did have a huge impact you knew it would eventually unravel.
Also Olson looks like an 8 year mistake. Where are all the people trying to argue Olson would be better than Freeman? Olson not even holding up well for 1 season in his prime, let alone for long term. Yikes!
Not like players have slumps or anything. I remember Freeman having some brutal stretches as well. Olson will be absolutely fine
Here come the denials right on cue.
Maybe just say “yeah it hasn’t looked good so far I hope he turns it around”. Rather than act like this is automatically just a slump and not a mistake
Right now all you can say is it looks like a mistake. You can’t say it was just a slump until he actually comes out of it.
But… but… but… he’ll be fine!!!! All I know is you clowns were SURE of yourselves that Olson was an upgrade. 2 months in and not going so well for you. Don’t be mad about it just accept it. You’ve been wrong for 2 months. Maybe it turns around maybe it doesn’t. But for now, you’ve been wrong. Say it with me instead of pulling out more excuses like it’s just a slump. Only digging your hole deeper.
Why some of you can’t admit being wrong blows my mind. Must be a low self esteem thing thinking you have to always be right about everything you’ve said. On an Internet forum to strangers no less. Pathetic lol
Also want to point out I said it “looks like a mistake”
Never said it was a mistake just yet. You guys want to write off the bad times and ignore them like clowns as if they don’t matter at all. It’s on track to be a mistake, plain and simple. You can hope and pray all you want, but the reality is it’s heading down the wrong track very fast. It’s not an early take. It’s 2 months in already. Don’t point to Freeman struggling for 2 months last year. That wasn’t good either. We were fortunate he turned it around. It’s not an example to point to saying everything is fine with Olson. That’s a joke.
2 months in and he’s been dropped to 6th in the lineup. That’s the situation we’re in.
Sorry to shove the truth down so forcefully but some of you have to hear it this way or you don’t hear it at all with your head buried in the sand.
I wasn’t a fan of moving on from Freeman but AA simply had to do something since either Freddie’s agent overplayed their hand or Freddie never planned on returning (I’m still not sold either way). AA did the next best thing and acquired Olson whom all the contenders coveted. Olson had a nice spring training with the Braves with a OPS over 1.000. I think this is probably just a rough stretch for Olson and 1/4 of the way thru his first season as a Brave I’m not ready to say this is the Olson for the next 8 years since his track record proves otherwise.
Don’t forget olson leading the majors in doubles so he is being productive even in a semi slump
You Can Put It In The Books
Olson is a bust. FF is killing it in LA. He’s happy to be home, probably didn’t want to live in Atlanta any longer.
To be fair, Freddie is doing well in LA, but if Olson had that offense around him instead of 12-15 Ks a game, he’d look better too.. As the Braves’ hitting picks up, Olson will be right there.. The Harris move has to help reduce the K-rate.
A ” bust ” , new league , new pitchers to face , 45 or so games so far. Olson is a proven power hitter , give him some time to settle in. Yes , FF is raking as usual , he will have a huge year in LA , but that was where his heart took him and his family.
It’s literally that just two months in calm down it ain’t that serious
Sid Bream Speed Demon
If you want to a prime example of a post indicating low self-esteem and a refusal to admit being wrong, you should read some of the wacky nonsense MJ posts. Dude clearly has issues, like a little dog trying to bark loud or something.
Nothing like making stupid takes in May.
And after its been a full year this post will undoubtedly change to “Nothing like stupid takes in the first year of an eight year contract”
Face it, you’re incapable of dealing with facts. That’s all your post says to me.
Olson had a great April but according to you he’s been bad for 2 months? Keep seething if it helps you sleep at night. Freddie struggled around the same time last year, yet all the internal stats say he was going to be fine. Guess how that ended. The same thing is happening with Olson. The internal stats say he going to be fine. So in a years time this take will undoubtedly be a stupid may take
@MJ Perhaps a switch to decaf, sir? You seem to be having a heated argument with yourself.
Fact blue is better than red.
DEAL WITH IT!
I wish the Braves had Freeman. I wish AA had called Freeman before the trade. Freeman is my all time favorite Brave. I really miss Freeman. For me the team is not as much fun because of Freeman’s departure. I still hope the dodgers trade for Olsen and we somehow get Freeman and Shea back. 40 something games in and nothing “MEANS ANYTHING!”. End of the year you can probably say Freeman is better than Olson this year. Pretty much everyone knew that. Its year 3.5-8 that Olson will “probably” be better. No one will ‘know’ till then. So at the end of the year and everyone counts up numbers etc…..People can say blue or red or whatever. No matter what I would rather have Freeman for the next 7/8 years. I don’t care that Olson will probably be better over the long haul. But the facts are the math bears out that Olson will be a more productive player than Freeman over the next 8 years. The “Facts” are subjective though till 8 years are in. So in 2030 we can actually deal with facts. Actual numbers and say who did better. I will not hold my breathe because I already would rather have Freeman regardless. Cause I am emotional fan who doesn’t care about facts. Or about going after the fans that look at the Olson trade as a slam dunk win. Good for them. We all will see. Till 8 years are in Blue is better than Red is simply well premature. Like all the can’t miss prospects or the starters the Angels signed to long term deals. No one knows. But I do miss Freeman.
You Can Put It In The Books
MJ is correct. The only facts at the moment are 1) the braves stink, and 2) Olson isn’t helping. Everything else you said is just your opinion. Just like the rest of you who continue to say, “iT’s OnLy ApRiL… iT’s OnLy mAy, It’S oNlY jUnE, blah blah blah”…
Better luck in 2023… maybe Acuna can stay healthy by then.
Olson is leading the majors in doubles so it is not like he is not hitting at all. I am a California guy been to a lot of athletics games and watched Olson I will take the next 8 years of Olson over Freeman.
Is Olson isn’t helping how is he leading majors in doubles
He may not hit the home runs thought but he going hit 40 doubles this year
You Can Put It In The Books
Oooooooo Benjamin, those 40 doubles really make losing your franchise cornerstone and team legend plus prospects worth it so the team can save a few bucks.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Everyone here is going to enjoy laughing at you when the LOLMets do, what they invariably always do, which is crap the bed when the games matter most.
You Can Put It In The Books
Laugh away, it’s good for the soul. I’ve been laughing at the rest of the league since Cohen took over. The first two months this season have been gravy!
Waters has a grand total of TWO walks this season. He has great tools, and will likely one day be a good player, but his approach at the plate needs to improve or big league pitchers will dice him up and spit him out.
Braves fans need to get over Waters. He isn’t the next Acuna any longer and he might not even be Francouer at this point. Prospects don’t always work out.
You Can Put It In The Books
This comment gets it right.
He’s closer to the next Jordan Schafer.
The Braves are banking on Duvuall with the back of the baseball card numbers 38 home runs and 113 runs batted in 2021 he lead the
National league in RBI’s. So he has shown past huge numbers need stick with track record
Good for him
Waters still strikes out far too much and would be expected to contribute offensively. This is an aggressive move, but put Harris in the 9-hole and ask him to get everything hit his way. Worry about offense later.
Drew Waters Bat
This is gonna be sick. Wait, I got passed?
ATL is 2nd MLB to only ARZ in strikeouts. Harris will be an immediate upgrade in both OF defense (if in CF) over Duvall (who is better suited for COF) while providing more plate discipline. He’s had one of the longest OB streaks this season in AA, and could be a boost to that bottom-third of the lineup, while allowing Duvall to go back to what he’s used to and hopefully get back to slugging, now in a more familiar role.
Wait, we’re not #1 in Ks anymore? Woohoo. Thanks Dbacks
Why is it II and not Jr? Is there a difference?
Traditionally Jr has the same name as the father. II has the same name as a grandfather or other relative but not the father.
I don’t know the details in this specific case.
This is interesting, but here’s what I found:
Usually, the suffix Jr. is used for a baby boy who has the same name as his father, while II is used when a baby boy is named for a male relative other than the father. When three men generationally have the same name, like a grandfather, father and son, II can be used, but Jr. is usually preferred.
He probably has a different middle name than his dad.
Sr, Jr, II, III IV etc is how things work, google exists though, you could maybe do your own work for once
You call one of them ‘Junior’ and the other as ‘Duece’
In order to be a jr. you have to have the exact same name as your father including middle name. The second can be the same first and last as any other immediate male family member including a father with a different middle name.
Are they using the same “dead” balls in the minors? If not, the adjustment could be overwhelming; not only facing much better pitching, but also the ball reacting differently when he hits it.
Good we can use him. Travis D can’t hit at all and Heredia if not for his Pink Swords should not be on a major league club. He should help cover some ground, Duvall better in CF than at the plate, not a good sign.
Duvall is a very hot and cold hitter Braves seen the back of his baseball card stats and watching for that again. Thursday night and Friday night putting together much better at bats. Had we had the old baseball from 2021 Thursday night Duvall would have had a 3 run home run yet the balls of 2022 are dieing at the track
Bout damn time. Get Duval out of CF. He needs to be in a corner mostly LF. Take the defense and the arm Harris has the rest is gravy.
ATL Braves Fan
Good for Harris. I am excited to see what he can do. And do not give up on Olson. He scored the tying run last night after a walk. Olson is hitting .247 but he has 32 walks (3rd in NL) and a .368 OBP.
Remember all the Braves fans in 2021 that wanted Riley removed after first month of the season. Even a lot of Braves fans talk about trading him for Evan Longeria.
Fans are fickled; players have slumps it just seems that all the Braves were slumping at once which is not common
It bugs me that he’s listed online as from DeKalb. DeKalb is a county, not a city. He went Stockbridge HS, same as former pitcher Kyle Davies, right down the street from Henry Co HS, home of Jason Heyward (and myself, but who tf cares.)
I like this move; Demerritte wasn’t hitting at all; Duvall not a natural center fielder; should allow Duvall to play right field, Acuna to be the designated hitter. Gives the Braves more depth.
I suspect Harris will be starting center fielder for a next few series see how he does. Makes no sense to call him up if he isn’t going play.
With Demerritte not producing and Thursday’s game with Acuna and Ozuna both not being able to start the game a move involving demerritte had to be made. Waters has been having hamstring issues.
Also gives Braves a few weeks to judge long term plans with Harris. Is he the center fielder of the future or is he summer trade bait.
Great thing about Atlanta they have a lot of money coming off the books end of season and the battery complex is making them lots of money so there will be money to invest
He is a left handed hitter, not an switch hitters according to mlb pipeline he changed before senior year of high school
If you check his splits in the minor league section of baseball reference you will see he has been switch hitting this year. His results as a right handed batter against left handed pitching however has been dismal in my opinion. Truly that shows a lack of experience with his right handed swing compared to his left handed one.
Whether he (and the braves) continue this experimentation with a right handed swing is any one’s guess at the moment.
Your team should trade for Duvall. Apparently, he is a good hitter.
1. Olson sucks and is nowhere near the level of Freeman and likely will never be.
2. Why is Duvall still on the team?!
3. Surprised they called Harris up – exciting. Homerun his first at-bat?
4. Sign DK – he stinks but so do all their young pitchers in the minors
5. I love Soroka and he needs to be back soon
6. Are the Mets cheating? Something is fishy about their offense.
While Olson has not been as productive as Freddie has been for the dodgers is a true, but to say he sucks is far from accurate. Because offense is down across the board in the big leagues his numbers are not as flashy as most of us may have envisioned, but are still very healthy compared to the average hitter. Hitting tends to be contagious, I’m looking forward to the braves starting to hit on all cylinders, because it surely hasn’t happened yet this year.
It can’t be easy to try to fill Freeman’s shoes, but I imagine that Olson will be do quite well before the dust settles.
Why demote Demerritte and keep Heredia? At least Demerritte give some flexibility to play outfield and some infield. Heredia only serves as extra cheerleader with Blooper.
The biggest problem is the manager. Can someone tell me how he uses the bullpen? One run down in the sixth or seventh and he puts in Garcia and Oday.
Your team should trade for Duvall. Apparently, he is a good hitter.
I’m not a huge Snit guy but baseball managers, in general, are overrated. The Braves problem is their offense and there is no hope for them. Even in their WS run, their offense was terrible other than the new faces + Freeman.
The Braves need to rebuild the offense and go from there.
He can hit. Reminds me of a young Denard Span. I don’t think big league pitching will be more than he can handle. He’s got a bright future!
Lol..65st? That’s a new one..