Braves outfielder Michael Harris is the NL rookie of the month - again

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

MIAMI – Would the Braves be where they currently are without Michael Harris?

Explore‘Life moves fast’: Michael Harris grateful to be home for a long time

“Uhhh, no,” Kyle Wright said with a smile. “Short answer, no.”

Harris, Atlanta’s rookie sensation, was named National League rookie of the month for September. This is the second consecutive month - and third of the 2022 season - that Harris has earned the honor.

ExploreHarris named NL rookie of the month for August

He might want to let someone else have a turn.

“I just go out there and do what I can do, and whatever happens is the way it happens,” Harris said on Monday afternoon in Miami. “I guess the right things are happening and I keep getting it. I’m just trying to go out there and help the team win, and we’ve been doing that at the same time.”

In September, Harris hit .324 with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and 19 RBIs. He stole four bases and scored 20 runs. He slugged .569 across 26 games.

The 21-year-old center fielder seems like the frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year.

“If I win it, I win it. If I don’t, I don’t,” Harris said. “As long as we’re in the playoffs and we’re continuing toward the World Series, then that’s what matters the most. It would be great to win it. If we’re losing and I get it, it wouldn’t really mean as much.”

One reason the Braves are winning a lot: Harris has emerged as one of baseball’s top center fielders. In mere months in the majors, he has displayed all five tools – consistently, at that – and has become a fan-favorite.

Harris entered Monday’s game batting .298 with 19 home runs, 64 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He had an .856 OPS. He is the owner of many stellar defensive plays.

“Just believing in myself and believing in what I can do,” Harris said. “I always say I don’t try to do too much, just believe in my ability and what I’ve been doing to get me here. If you get called up and you try to change yourself, that’s where you mess up right there. Just try to be yourself and improve each day.”

ExploreHarris named NL rookie of the month for June

Harris’ honor for September means Braves players have won four straight NL Rookie of the Month awards. Harris received the nod in June, August and September. Spencer Strider, another NL Rookie of the Year contender, won it in July.

The Braves became the fifth team to receive four Rookie of the Month honors in a single season, joining the 2006 Marlins, 2012 Angels and 2017 Yankees. Atlanta is the second to do so in four straight months (Mike Trout won it four months in a row for the 2012 Angels).

“Pretty good, right?” manager Brian Snitker said of his rookies.

The 2022 Braves are special for many reasons. One of them: Rookies have immensely aided a club that won a World Series last season. The Braves were already young before Harris, Strider, Vaughn Grissom and Bryce Elder joined their crew.

Multiple factors went into the Braves’ torrid run from June until now.

The biggest might be the guy roaming center field.

“His defense, what he’s done at the plate, he just does it all,” Wright said. “He’s a great guy, too. He adds a lot to the locker room. He’s just kind of a fun guy to be around.”

Braves reflect on wild crowd

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Truist Park was nuts over the weekend. Fans roared for strikeouts. The crowd shook the cameras for big scoring plays.

The place was rocking as the Braves swept the Mets.

“Man, it was wild,” Snitker said. “It was just electric in the ballpark the last three days, even more so than I anticipated quite honestly. It was something else.”

Last year, Harris, who grew up a Braves fan, attended postseason games. He was one of the screaming fans.

He had a different seat this time around.

“Being on the field this year, it’s way different,” Harris said. “You feel everybody’s emotions and how much they really want it for us. It really motivated us more to go out there and get the win.”

A postseason roster candidate

Bryce Elder has provided important depth to the Braves’ starting rotation in the second half after his first stint in the majors in April.

Is he in consideration for a postseason roster spot?

“Absolutely,” Snitker said. “He’s definitely going to be in the conversation. He’s pitched his way into it.”

Elder has a 2.76 ERA over nine games – eight of them starts – this season. In four starts in the second half prior to Monday, he had allowed two runs over 27 2/3 innings.

Still TBA

Snitker said the Braves have not yet decided on their starting pitchers for the final two games of the regular season.

The team listed “TBA” – to be announced – for both. It’s likely the Braves were simply waiting until they officially clinch the NL East crown to decide on those starting pitchers.