For Braves' rookie duo, splash in Majors 'a feeling unmatched'

Grissom, Harris each belt a two-run homer as Atlanta’s young core stays hot

September 3rd, 2022

ATLANTA -- When dynamic duos come to mind, many people think of: Tom and Jerry, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi. But the Braves have a young tandem on the scene ready to take over the spotlight: Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grissom

"They've handled every situation," manager Brian Snitker said. "They're really good, they're comfortable out there playing, they love to compete. You just see them both continuing to grow, and they're not a finished product."

In the Braves' 8-1 victory over the Marlins on Friday night at Truist Park, Atlanta scored all of its runs courtesy of the long ball, reaching several milestones in the process. Travis d'Arnaud delivered the sixth multi-homer game of his career, Grissom and Harris cranked a pair of two-run homers, and Austin Riley contributed his 34th homer of the season, setting a new career high.

The five homers -- three off National League Cy Young front-runner Sandy Alcantara -- pushed Atlanta past the 200-homer mark for the eighth time in franchise history. With 201 homers on the season, the Braves trail the Yankees (205) for the Major League lead and are ahead of the third-ranked Brewers by 20 jacks.

"We hit homers," Snitker said with a shrug. "This is what we do. We didn't build [the team] to be like that, it just happens that that's what we do. We hit a lot of homers, and thank God."

Sure, Atlanta fans have come to know and love "Rookie Row," the core of youngsters that have their lockers lined up in the Braves’ clubhouse. Yet, Grissom and Harris -- who was named the NL Rookie of the Month for the second time -- stand out due to how quickly they have adjusted to the Major Leagues.

"It's a feeling unmatched, honestly," Harris said about playing with Grissom. "I mean, we got drafted the same year, [and] we've been with each other since. Together in the same year with [the reigning] World Series champions, early in [our careers], it's kind of unreal, and we're just living in the moment right now."

Both were drafted in 2019. Harris was selected with the 98th overall pick, and Grissom was taken in the 11th round. They've played with each other for most of their careers before Harris was promoted from Double-A to the bigs on May 28. Grissom -- now ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Braves' No. 1 prospect -- had to wait a little longer, but he was called up shortly after on Aug. 10, making the same jump from Mississippi. And the two haven't looked back.

"I used to ask [Harris] when I was still in the Minor Leagues, and he just confirmed it for me. I'm just like, 'It's the same game, right?' He's like, 'Same game.' ... Yeah, everybody's a Major Leaguer, and they all got their stuff, but we're both here too."

Although Grissom has had a smaller sample size, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder's early showing has given the Braves plenty of reasons to keep him in the Majors. Harris, meanwhile, secured his spot in the Braves’ foreseeable future when he signed an eight-year, $72 million contract on Aug. 16.

Grissom was originally called up to play second base when Ozzie Albies and Orlando Arcia landed on the injured list. But with Albies nearing his return, Snitker will have to find a spot for Grissom in the lineup. The 21-year-old rookie is slashing .313/.360/.500 with four homers and 12 RBIs in less than a month with the Braves. 

"If they're going to hit, we're going to find somewhere for them to play," Snitker said.

Although Grissom hasn't played the outfield in his three years of professional baseball, he may soon join Harris. As a matter of fact, Grissom received his outfielder's glove in the mail prior to the series opener against Miami and got instructions from Braves first-base coach Eric Young Sr. to work on some drills.

"I'm kind of excited, honestly," Grissom said about the possible transition to the outfield. "I'm a ballplayer, so I'm not really thinking about it too much. Just catch the ball. If you catch the ball, you'll be alright. ... At the end of the day, it's just baseball. And if I'm in the outfield, I know [Harris has] got at least 80 percent of the grass out there."