Less than a day after leaving a game against the San Diego Padres due to back discomfort, the Atlanta Braves put centre fielder Michael Harris II on the disabled list. The Braves responded by promoting seasoned utility man Eli White from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Harris, 22, had a sluggish start to this season. He has played seven games thus far, hitting.217,.280, and.261, with no home runs and two stolen bases. (on two tries). Harris, of course, took home the National League Rookie of the Year Award last year after compiling a 135 OPS+ and accruing 5.3 Wins Above Replacement over the course of 114 games owing to his excellent defence.
The Braves signed Harris to an eight-year contract for $72 million guaranteed as compensation for his rise to success.
Over the last three seasons, White, 28, has participated in 130 games with the Texas Rangers. Over those at-bats, he hit.185/.260/.296 with nine home runs, 17 stolen bases (on 22 attempts), and 22 steals. White, who just joined the Braves organization, followed up a solid spring training performance with three home runs in four games with Gwinnett.
Slugging has seldom been a feature of White’s game in the past, so it remains to be seen whether his increased power stroke is real or just a small-sample illusion. His minor league slugging percentage for his whole career is only.419.
White and Sam Hilliard, a Colorado Rockies offseason signing who will split centre field with Harris while he is out, are expected to be used by the Braves.
The second game of a four-game series against the Padres will be played on Friday night as the Braves resume their season. It will be Jared Shuster’s second start of his career. His opponent will be Nick Martinez.