Bad news for the rest of the National League: The reigning Rookie Player of the Year isn’t satisfied with his debut season.
Atlanta’s Michael Harris II — whose breakout season led the Braves to 101 wins and the division title — said Saturday he “had a good season, I think” and responded more modestly to the question of how he feels about his 2022 .
“I had to work on a few things, but it was decent. I will try to be better,” Harris warned. “I have a higher standard for myself.”
There’s no telling how good the 21-year-old center fielder can become. Harris hit .297 with 19 home runs, 64 RBIs and 20 stolen bases after jumping from Double-A to the majors. Atlanta was under .500 before Harris made his debut on May 28. Soon after, the Braves had 14 wins.
His Atlanta teammate Spencer Strider finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.
“It means a lot. I know you can only win it once,” Harris said. “I think that makes it worth more.”
Harris’ eight-year, $72 million dollar deal begins in 2023 and could be worth $102 million over 10 seasons. This means the Georgia native could play in Atlanta for a long time.
“Being a Braves fan since I was a kid and being able to put on this jersey and play in Atlanta, I think it gave me another boost,” he acknowledged.
Boston right-hander Brayan Bello is out until Monday with a sore right arm.
“After his last bullpen, he felt a pain,” manager Alex Cora said. “It is important for the organization. He will pitch again on Monday.”
The 23-year-old Dominican is a candidate for the club’s starting rotation during spring training.
“It was last week, I was pitching. I didn’t feel pain, but I felt a tension and I didn’t want to force it,” he said through a translator on Saturday. “I feel better. I’ve been working hard to be ready.”
He was recalled from Triple-A last year and pitched in 13 games, making 11 starts to go 2-8 with a 4.71 ERA.