Braves outfielder Michael Harris wins second NL Rookie of the Month award

August was quite the month for Michael Harris.

Not only did he sign an eight-year, $72 million contract extension, but he also received another honor: Major League Baseball on Friday announced that Harris was voted the National League Rookie of the Month for August. It is his second time winning the NL Rookie of the Month award, something he also did in June.

Harris’ case for National League Rookie of the Year is even stronger after Friday’s news. He might be the front-runner for the award.

“Just how he’s gone about it, and how he doesn’t get too excited about anything,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of what has impressed him most about Harris. “He’s very calm and very consistent. It’s the whole thing. He can beat you a lot of different ways – with his glove, with his arm, with with his legs, with his bat.”

Over 27 games in August, Harris hit .337 (32-for-95) with 12 doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs. He scored 22 runs and stole five bases. He posted a .990 OPS.

Harris became the first Braves rookie to tally at least 15 RBIs and 22 runs in a month since teammate Austin Riley did it in 2019.

Harris entered Friday batting .298 with an .867 OPS this season. He had hit 14 home runs while driving in 46 runs. He had stolen 16 bases without being caught.

“I just go out there and try to be me and play hard every night and have fun,” Harris said after Friday’s win.

The others who received votes for NL Rookie of the Month for August included Braves pitcher Spencer Strider, Nationals first baseman Joey Meneses, Cardinals infielder Brendan Donovan, Reds pitcher Alexis Diaz, Reds outfielder TJ Friedl, Diamondbacks outfielder Jake McCarthy and Marlins pitcher Edward Cabrera.

Among MLB’s rookies with enough at-bats to qualify for such rankings, Harris ranks first in batting average and OPS. He is fourth in home runs, fifth in RBIs and third in stolen bases.

Braves players have won the past three NL Rookie of the Month awards. Harris earned the honor for June before right-hander Spencer Strider did for July. After Harris received the nod for his August performance, it’s Strider’s move.

“You talk about these young guys that we brought up, I don’t know that you had any inkling that they would do what they’ve done and have the impact that they’ve had here,” Snitker said.

It would be a shock if Harris and Strider did not finish first and second, in either order, in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Since the Braves called up Harris in late May, the center fielder has changed the team. He has provided the club with elite defense while perhaps exceeding expectations at the plate. He is athletic and has shown an ability to make adjustments.

Friday’s news comes a couple of weeks after the Braves and Harris agreed to a lengthy contract extension that runs through at least the 2030 season. Harris grew up in metro Atlanta and was a Braves fan as a child. He dreamed of one day putting on their uniform and starring for them.

Harris, a potential five-tool star, has burst onto the scene and hasn’t stopped impressing everyone. Another NL Rookie of the Month honor is his latest accomplishment.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he wins next month’s (award),” Snitker said. “It’s good. It speaks volumes to the work that he’s doing and how he’s handled this thing.”

Strider in Cooperstown

The picture shows Strider holding his jersey and flashing a smile at Truist Park. The account that tweeted it?

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s official account.

Strider on Thursday set the Atlanta-era Braves record with 16 strikeouts in a game. The Braves sent his jersey from the game to Cooperstown, New York, to be part of the Hall of Fame’s museum.

Ozuna starts for first time in almost two weeks

Marcell Ozuna on Friday found his name in the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 21. It will be his second start since he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

“He’s a part of this club,” Snitker said. “It’s time to get him out there. And hopefully he can get going and be who he has in the past. And, you know, like I say, he’s been working hard. He’s got a great attitude. He’s been very positive. And you know, it’s just he’s part of the club.”

Ozuna is batting .213 with a .653 OPS this season. He does have 20 home runs, though. He has also driven in 46 runs.

Snitker said he doesn’t think Eddie Rosario’s hamstring is 100%, but added that did not factor into the decision to start Ozuna.

“It’s just trying to get Marcell out there,” he said. “Hopefully we can get him going.”

Ozuna went 2-for-4 on Friday.

Albies expected to play the field this weekend

Ozzie Albies was Triple-A Gwinnett’s designated hitter for the first game of his rehab assignment Thursday. He was in the lineup as the DH on Friday, too.

Snitker said he expects Albies to play in the field this weekend. But the manager heard Albies felt great Thursday.

“It’s just good to get him out there running around,” Snitker said.

Good news on Stephens

Jackson Stephens is feeling well, Snitker said. The manager said Stephens was scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Friday at Truist Park.

“I mean, no effects or anything like that,” Snitker said.

Stephens is eligible to come off the injured list Saturday. The Braves have not given a plan for his activation.

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