This season, there’s no question that Michael Harris II will be an impact player for the Atlanta Braves.
The five-tool phenom showed his multitude of abilities by going 1-for-4 with two runs scored in a 7-2 Braves win on Opening Day of the 2023 MLB season.
The reigning National League Rookie of the Year has the potential to become an all-star very soon. If you had the opportunity to see him play last season, you know that he’s a baller and leaves it all out on the field.
The question is, will Harris be able to continue the success he had as a rookie in year two? Well one former Atlanta Braves player, now starting for the LA Dodgers, thinks Harris will continue to play at a high level and make an impact.
Let’s take it back to 2010 when a former Braves player named Jason Heyward made his MLB debut and took the league by storm as a rookie. Heyward was named an all-star as a rookie and was poised to be a star in Atlanta. In fact, Hank Aaron himself, anointed the J-Hey Kid as the next great Black superstar for the Atlanta Braves.
Heyward was only named an all-star once during his five-year tenure in Atlanta and while he put up decent numbers, the Braves decided to move on from him after the 2014 season. While his career is widely respected, especially his defense and clubhouse pedigree, Heyward’s peak was never superstar level. Harris has the opportunity to have a long career playing for the team he grew up watching as a kid.
Michael Harris II Can Show Rookie Season Was No Fluke
Going into his second season, Harris will have the knowledge and experience he gained from his rookie season and that will work out in his favor. He finished his rookie season hitting .297 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. And he’s already got a taste of the postseason as well.
Marvin Freeman, a former MLB pitcher, spent time with the Braves and was a part of two teams that went to the World Series. Freeman and Harris have a strong bond, as Harris played for Freeman when he was a young teenager. And Freeman knew then that Harris was a talented ball player.
“Everything he did on the field stood out to me,” Freeman said of Harris, who he thought was going to be drafted out of high school as a pitcher.
Freeman believes Harris will continue to show why he’s one of the best young talents in the game.
“I see no problem with him having another good season and maintaining those numbers,” Freeman said. “He doesn’t let success change who he is.”
Getting those games under his belt as a rookie, will certainly pay off for Harris going into his second season.
MLBbro Money Mike Harris Is Next Up
When you think of MLBbros who have dominated during their career, names like Mookie Betts, Tim Anderson, and Marcus Semien come to mind.
Don’t be surprised to hear Michael Harris II come up in that conversation in a few years. The sky’s the limit for this brother and the Atlanta Braves made the right choice in selecting him in the 2019 draft. The path to the big show is a difficult one, and many who reach it to the big leagues don’t have much success, but Harris is on a trajectory for an All-Star studded career that will be remembered for years to come. He is also very marketable and is already leaving a deep impression on aspiring MLBbros and fans of all over the world.
MLBbro.com’s Mark Gray set off the baseball season with a quick conversation with Deion Sanders AKA Coach Prime, who was preparing for an historic season as head coach of the Jackson State Football Team. Jackson State went 11-1 and won the school’s first SWAC title since 2007. Sanders also led them to the Celebration Bowl for the first time in school history, where the Tigers will meet MEAC Champ South Carolina State on Dec. 18, 2021.
In his prime, Deion was one of the greatest two-way athletes in sports history, simultaneously starring for the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons at one point. Mark Gray asked the NFL Hall of Famer some Black baseball questions.
While the Nationals try to weather this COVID storm, veteran pitcher Joe Ross came through in the clutch and definitely made a strong case for a permanent spot in the rotation.
To everyone’s disappointment, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison are in COVID protocols and are yet to take the field this season. Price didn’t pitch and Mookie is day-to-day with back stiffness, so the soul of Friday’s game would have been nonexistent if not for Ross, who hasn’t pitched since losing Game 5 of the 2019 World Series.
The layoff served him well as the 27-year-old righty baffled Dodgers hitters for five innings allowing no runs, two hits and striking out four batters in a 1-0 Nats loss against the offensive juggernaut from the West Coast. Ross had a “shut yo mouth and pass the collard greens” performance, proving that he was the man for the mound.
Joe Ross through 5 innings against the 2020 World Series Champs LA Dodgers
In fact, as soon as Ross exited the game, Justin Turner smashed a homer to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth. That was all they would need. It wouldn’t be hyperbole, however, to suggest that Ross threw a kink in the best-laid plans of Dodgers fans, who surely anticipated an obliteration on such a momentous occasion.
It was World Series “Ring Day” at Dodger Stadium and the fans came back to watch live pro baseball in LA on Friday. It was 548 days since fans walked through the gates of the historic ballpark.
In many ways, Ring Day was more than 30 years in the making as a 60-game COVID season, a ton of uncertainty and the proper dose of competitive spirit helped Dave Roberts, Mookie Betts and Magic Johnson’s ownership group win the franchise’s first World Series since 1988.
It was a huge win for Black baseball. There was a collective sigh released by LA baseball fans, who had suffered through two World Series losses in the past three seasons.
The Dodgers’ 2021 home opener seemed to be the perfect storm. As the fans returned to the ballpark, they got to truly share in an accomplishment and celebration that they were only allowed to witness on TV in 2020. Ring Day was like their World Series. The first time they could reach out and touch the moment (with a distance of six feet of course).
Mookie got his ring and a resounding ovation.
Mookie Betts gets his first standing ovation at Dodger Stadium while getting his championship ring ?
There was some uncertainty surrounding whether or not the Dodgers would award veteran Black Ace David Price a ring because he opted out of 2020, but his positive standing in the clubhouse and the championship leader he’s been since he arrived made it an easy decision for Dodgers brass.
Classy move by the Dodgers. In an even classier move, Price donated his ring to the Players Alliance.
So with 2020 in the rearview and baseball, as we know it pretty much back to normal, it’s time to focus on the task at hand. The matchup between the Dodgers and Washington Nationals on Friday featured baseball’s last two World Series Champions in what could very well be a preview of the 2021 Autumn Classic.
Before the season started, fans of Black baseball definitely had this home opener marked on the calendar as both teams feature elite MLB Bros. The Nationals acquired power-hitting first baseman Josh Bell during the offseason and when he does take the field, to his right will be veteran second baseman Harrison. The Dodgers, of course, have Betts and Price.
On Friday, Ross made sure that nobody forgets that he’s also an MLB Bro capable of delivering All-Star performances.