Atlanta Braves Sensation Beats Teammate To Win NL Rookie Of The Year

The Atlanta Braves were 22-25 on May 28th, and they were already 8.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. Then something extraordinary happened. They called up a minor league sensation named Michael Harris II from Double-A.  And they never looked back.  

Today, Harris was named the National League Rookie of the Year, beating out his teammate, starting pitcher Spencer Strider.

Harris got 22 of the 30 first place votes, Strider got the other eight. 

Braves bench coach Walt Weiss told MLB Network Radio today that the Braves season really turned around that day when Harris was called up. He slotted into center field, solidifying the defense, and on the offensive side... well, he was nothing short of a star. In just 414 at-bats, he finished with 19 HR, 20 SB, a .297 average and .853 OPS.

"Harris coming up, that alone made us a better ballclub... We took off."

The Braves went an astounding 79-35 with Harris in the lineup, and as Weiss said, "it was not a coincidence that our season turned around when Michael Harris got to us." 

Not to throw shade at Strider. The rookie hurler merely set an all-time major league record by reaching the 200 strikeout mark quicker than anybody in history—130 innings. He edged out the legendary Randy Johnson, who had held the record for over 20 years at 130.2 innings. 

Strider finished with a phenomenal 2.67 ERA and 0.99 WHIP and 202 strikeouts, a sizzling 13.8 K/9. All Cy Young-worthy numbers for any pitcher, let alone a 23-year-old rookie. 

Brendon Donovan, the other finalist, had a nice year for the St. Louis Cardinals with his versatility, playing every position on the field except catcher and center field, while hitting .281 with a .773 OPS. He even won the Gold Glove for utilitymen.