Money Mike came out of the All-Star break swinging at the dish.
Running up his hit streak to 12 games, the longest current streak in baseball, Money Mike helped the Atlanta Braves complete a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.
The Braves, sitting atop the MLB standings (67-36), have continued to stay dangerous at the plate; scoring 29 runs during their home series against the Brew Crew.
They now have a +151 run differential this season, tops in MLB.
Atlanta leads the league in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. They’re also ranked second in batting average, third in RBI & runs scored, and fifth in hits.
Numbers suggest there are no holes in this ATL lineup. Who do you pitch to? Whomever you choose, it may be wise to pitch around Mike right now.
In the 14 games since the break, Harris has gotten comfortable and started to resemble his rookie form, batting .378/.410 OBP/.541 slugging percentage. He’s had four multi hit games, and has collected six extra base hits (five doubles, one triple) during this stretch, raising his average 20 points from .255 before the break.
MLBbro is now hitting a very solid .275 with nine homers, 28 RBIs and 13 stolen bases, with 59 games left in the 2023 season.
Money Mike Shakes Off The Slow Start
During the 2022 offseason, Braves management rewarded Harris’ electric rookie performance with an eight-year/$72 million dollar contract Harris struggled early to live up to the lofty expectations, batting a feeble .173 entering the month of the June.
Many called for him to be sent to the minors. He was dropped in the order. Mike shrugged off the naysayers and showed his resolve. He’s proving he’s no one-hit wonder.
It’s hard to believe a player of Harris’ caliber, is hitting ninth on any ball club, as he’d surely be atop the order for most teams in the league.
However, having this kind of production from him at the bottom of the order is one of the several reasons the Braves are the betting favorites to win the World Series.
Harris’ longest hit streak of his young career came last season,between August 22nd and September 9th, when he hit safely in 15 straight games. We’ll see if he can take it further this time around. Fellow MLBbro Marcus Semien’s 25 game hit streak still currently stands as the longest in baseball this season.
MLB.com recently released a list of nine MLB players with the best chance to have a 40-40 season. The list of players with the rare combination of speed and power qualified to make this list is very exclusive. There are only four players in the history of MLB who have posted 40-40 seasons: Jose Canseco in 1988, Barry Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
This is a category for the most dynamic and gifted players. Barry Bonds is the only player in history with 500 career homers and 500 steals. That’s all you need to know about how hard it is for players to consistently combine elite power and speed on a nightly basis over 162 games. The way the game has changed with the influx of metrics-based team construction and game strategy, it’s not shocking that it’s been 17 years since a player was able to execute those two lethal skills sets at such a high level.
Of the nine players that MLB.com reporter Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) deemed capable of going 40-40 in 2023, three of them were MLBbros.
Michael Harris II
Money Mike Harris is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year and for good reason. The crown jewel of MLB’s developmental programs fell one homer shy of a 20-20 season in just 114 games. The Atlanta Braves star hit 19 homers and stole 20 bases.
His sprint speed ranks in the 95th percentile. 30-30 is probably a more reasonable projection for Harris, whose power is still developing, but with the effects of MLB’s various rule changes on the game still unproven, it’s not farfetched to project that with a full season under his belt, Harris could approach the 40-40 mark.
With the dynamic Marlins infielder being moved to centerfield, he will have less responsibility and more time to focus on his potentially explosive offensive game. The Bahamian Blur has some of the quickest hands in the game and stands in some exclusive company for taking a Jacob DeGrom 100 mph fastball into orbit.
And you already know the poetic mayhem he causes with his legs on the basepaths. He’s truly a special player who has only scratched the surface of his potential. Chisholm was a dynamic and versatile infielder who can play both middle positions. As an outfielder he is sure to make some dynamic plays that will make the MLB Network highlights on a regular basic.
Chisholm has only played 205 career games in three seasons. In his official rookie season in 2021, Jazz had 18 homers and 23 steals in 124 games. He was an All-Star before being injured last season and still had 14 bombs in in 60 games. If he can play 150 games he would definitely be in contention for a 30-30 season. If he has a peak season, then 40-40 isn’t a pipe dream.
Mullins already reached the elite 30-30 mark in 2021. His production dipped a bit last season, but the talented centerfielder primed for a huge comeback year surrounded by the most talent he’s ever played with. If you’ve already gone 30-30 when nobody thought you’d even stick around the league, then who’s to say “CM Storm” couldn’t elevate to a 40-40 season in 2023.
Baseball is implementing three key new rules this season: pitch clock, shift bans and larger bases.
Larger Bases Leads To More Steals, Doubles, Triples?
A three-inch increase in base size from 15 to 18 inches could be significant. According to MLB, “players’ feet are much bigger now than when the bases were designed and this could possibly increase the action on the basepaths (making it easier to steal bases or take the extra base on hits) and to possibly make it easier for players to stay on second and third in close plays instead of having long replays to see if a player barely came off the bag for a split second.”
“In addition to increasing the entertainment value of the game, the increased base size in the minors has coincided with a decrease in base-related injuries by 13.5 percent.”
We are entering another era of baseball, with some tweaks that don’t change the integrity of the game, but definitely re-infuses those key elements of the game that make MLB exciting and have been lost in recent years, thus diminishing the product.
Shouts to MLBbro stolen base kings like Lou Brock and Maury Wills, who we lost during the past few years.