Another month, another in-season award for a Braves rookie:
For those of you keeping score at home, that is now three months in a row that an Atlanta Braves rookie has notched this particular honor. Michael Harris II won the award in June and has received it again in August; Spencer Strider grabbed it in July. The two are really the only frontrunners for the NL’s end-of-season Rookie of the Year award as well.
Harris finished 10th in MLB (not just among rookies, nor just the NL!) in fWAR in August, with 1.6. He hit .337/.400/.589, a 173 wRC+, with four homers, and continued to provide a bunch of defensive value in center field. His 1.46 WPA for the month was tied for third in MLB. On the season, the 21-year-old, youngest player in MLB, has 3.7 fWAR in 323 PAs, combining nearly best-in-class center field defense with a batting line that is well above average, even on an inputs basis. He’s been the Braves’ third-most productive position player this season despite not being called up until late May, and fifth-most productive player overall.
Amusingly, the last time an NL team won the Rookie of the Month award thrice in a row, it was also the Braves. Back in 2011, Craig Kimbrel won it in June and August, while Freddie Freeman was the guy in July. (Yordan Alvarez won it three times in a row for the Astros in 2019, as did Aaron Judge for the Yankees in 2017. Mike Trout won it four months in a row in 2012.)
Harris wasn’t really just the NL Rookie of the Month — he was also pretty much the team’s MVP for the month, as I covered in the August recap. Will one of him and Strider win it in September, too? Stay tuned.