The Atlanta Braves have been A-Town stomping through the National League, sitting atop of the heap with a record of 48-27. The ball club has performed well during this stretch of the season posting a 15-3 record over the past 18 games and are on pace for 22 wins this month, which would set a franchise record for wins in a month.
The team also averaged over seven runs per game while batting over .300 with an OPS of .910. The boys in the ATL have been lifting off as much as Delta Airlines this season, leading the majors with 138 home runs — sixteen more than the next team in that category.
One of the main catalysts behind this Braves powerhouse has been the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II.
“Money” Michael Harris has been one of baseball’s finest hitters during the Braves hot stretch. The young center fielder has a batting average of .391 with 27 hits, four home runs, 13 RBIs and 12 runs during Atlanta’s dominant month. Harris is getting back to the money at the right time as he was just batting a mere .167 in May; but, earlier this week he was named NL Player of the Week. It’s safe to say that Harris is back to being a big stepper in the league. “That’s how quick this thing can turn around,” manager Brian Snitker said to the media of Harris’ achievement. “Just last week you guys were asking about his struggles and here he is.”
Snitker’s management style could also be a huge reason that Harris is back on track
“I think [players] feel like he trusts them,” Braves’ bench coach Walt Weiss told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He doesn’t yank them out of their spot in the lineup or out of their role in the bullpen as soon as they struggle. And it’s easy to respond with knee-jerk reactions when you’re in that position because there’s a billion voices telling you what you should do. And everyone wants you to fix everything overnight.
“As soon as a guy has a bad outing, [people say], ‘Oh, he’s done. Don’t play him anymore, don’t pitch him anymore.’ But Snit has a good feel for when to step in in those situations. He’ll give guys a lot of rope to fail. And again, the player feels like he trusts them, and eventually they come out of it. He’s just got a good feel for that kind of stuff.”
Harris II getting out of his slump adds another dimension for the Braves lineup: they are now terrifyingly harder to pitch to. Now that his bat is alive, he provides even more credibility at the bottom of the Braves batting order — a lineup that features MVP candidate Ronald Acuña, NL home run leader Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies. Those three alone have combined for 58 home runs so when Money Mike cashes in, the rich only get richer.
With Harris seemingly slipping out of the sophomore slump, the Braves have the best offense in Major League Baseball and if this continues, Atlanta could be screaming out “Money ain’t a thang” in October.