Baseball is often referred to as a game of failure, especially at the plate. The sport’s greatest athletes consistently have games where they fail to record a positive offensive statistic.
And so with this in mind, the kind of season Michael Harris II is having for the Mississippi Braves is absolutely remarkable.
Against the local Chattanooga Lookouts, Harris II has extended his on-base streak to 30 games at the AA level. To do it game after game after game, Harris says having a routine is essential.
“I think it’s about finding a good routine and following it every day,” Harris says. “One that works for you, and not copying someone else. Then following it every day and feeling good about it.”
Success has been routine for Harris II so far this year. He’s batting .304 with a .353 OBP, and has smacked four home runs, and as mentioned before, has reached base safely in each of Mississippi’s games. His consistent excellence has now been enjoyed by Chattanooga’s crowd, which is filled with Braves supporters hoping to catch a glimpse of the franchise’s future.
“I think I’ve seen more Braves fans than Lookouts fans, and it’s great,” Harris says, while adding that his parents are among those fans in the stands. “They’ll be up here this weekend. It’s nice. It’s good being close to home.”
Harris II got a taste of what should be his MLB home during spring training when he got to play with the big league ballclub. For Harris II, having an opportunity to play for the Braves is a dream come true. A native of Stockbridge, a town just south of Atlanta, Harris II grew up rooting for the team that later picked him in the 2019 draft.
After tearing up A-ball in Rome, he was promoted to AA and has continued to dominate. It was only a few short weeks, but Harris II said playing with guys like Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson in March was an eye-opening experience.
“It was huge. Growing up watching the Braves and being around the players I watched as a kid, it gave me a lot of motivation,” Harris II says. “It opened my eyes to what my future could really be.”
If everything goes according to plan, the on-base machine will be a starting outfielder for the defending world champions within the next year. But in the present day, all Harris II can do is focus on maintaining that consistency he spoke about earlier.
“Now that the streak’s number is so high, it’s just more motivation to get on base,” Harris II says. “But I’m just trying to do what I can do to help the team win, whether that’s hitting, walking or baserunning. I’m just trying to do that every day.”
Harris II has progressed rapidly since being drafted, and credits some of his success to being able to find positives in every day’s experiences. If his career pans out as expected, Braves fans will also have plenty to be happy about whenever Harris II is promoted to Atlanta.
“You’re going to fail in this game, so when you do succeed, you’re going to be happier about it,” Harris II says. “Having fun every day is going to make the game better for you.”
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