This sucks. I suck for sucking this sucks so bad. I didn’t want to write about how Michael Harris II is overrated. He’s fun. Capital F. Going to the Capital Grill and ordering “Fun,” that’s Michael Harris II! Instead, I’m taking that F and teaming it with me for the ol’ patented “F me,” and that’s not me abbreviating Fame. RIP Irene Cara. Talk about real life events ruining a song. “Ooh, pump up the volume!” Singing along, “Fame! I want to live forever…Crap.” I now change “want to” to “ain’t gonna” when that song comes on the radio. From a rousing anthem for me to do calisthenics into a sob-fest. Any hoo! It wasn’t just I didn’t want to be a spoil-sport with Michael Harris II. It’s not just because I hadn’t seen the first Michael Harris, so I can’t appreciate this one. It’s all those pesky underlying numbers that scream at me every time I look at him. If he were going around Jake McCarthy’s spot in drafts, I likely would’ve wrote a sleeper post for Michael Harris II. Since he’s going as high as 12th overall in some leagues, I’m writing that he’s overrated. It sucks, and I be sucking. So, what can we expect from Michael Harris II and what makes him overrated?
Michael Harris II had a chase rate of 41.7%. That’s notta-so-good as my Italian ancestors would’ve said. I made a bet with myself that less than a handful of players have hit as high as MHII did last year (.297) with a chase rate that high. It’s common sense. So, I went and filtered from 2000 to last year, and there are so many names you’d expect to see. Vlad Sr. was actually the king of it. If you remember him, and, of course, you do because the average age of a fantasy baseballer is 61, he swung at everything. The guys who are higher for chase rate and average are: Hanser Alberto (2019); Pablo Sandoval (2011); Corey Dickerson (2018); Tim Anderson (2019); Vlad Sr. (2010, 2008); Harold Ramirez (2022); Juan Uribe (2014); and Gio Urshela (2019). A real list of “Oh, yeah, I remember he hit for a good average that one year” and Vlad Sr. Vlad, the Impaler, did it year after year. I have nothing bad to say about him. Here’s the other thing about those guys: 9.1%, 13.5%, 15%, 21%, 16.6%, 12.8%, 19.1% and 18.3%. Any guesses what those percentages are? Wrong! They’re not the percentage the stadium was filled for day games. What a bizarre guess. Those are strikeout rates for all of them. Last year, Michael Harris II’s strikeout rate was 24.3%. He was truly a unicorn for chase rate and batting average. The only one over 20% was Tim Anderson, and that was the year he had a .399 BABIP. I’d laugh if this didn’t make me so sad for MHII. You don’t chase and also come away with a good average.
Don’t pay much attention to expected stats. xBA is particularly bad for reasons I’ve mentioned many times before. With that said (here’s where Grey does pay attention to expected stats), Michael Harris II had the 19th biggest difference between his expected batting average and actual at .029. Nearly thirty points difference between his expected batting average and reality is an emoji making a cringe face while it wafts away a fart. He also had the 15th biggest difference between his wOBA and xwOBA. That’s an emoji walking past the farting emoji and having to breathe it in. He had the 23rd biggest difference between his SLG and xSLG. That’s a emoji going into a store to buy one of those handheld fans and walking out to use it on the farting emoji only to realize it didn’t buy batteries so the stupid fan doesn’t work. Against lefties last year, he hit .238 with a .337 BABIP. The end of the shift might help, but against the shift he had a .417 wOBA and without a shift, he had a .361. If he hits .200 vs. lefties, how long does he stay in the lineup against them? How long does he stay in the two-hole? This might seem like it’s splitting more hairs than Rapzunel’s hairdresser, but he’s being drafted in the top 20 in a lot of leagues! You know how perfect you need to be to return that value?
Finally, Michael Harris II’s high through 101 games in High-A for power was seven homers. High-A isn’t quite the majors, but ya know, we’ll say it means he has some light power. His high in Double-A was five homers, but in only 43 games. Last year, he hit 19 homers with a 4.5 Launch Angle. From 2015 until now (it’s only as far as I could go back in my search), the guys who hit 20 homers with a 4.5 Launch Angle or lower: Ian Desmond (22), Eric Hosmer (22, 25, 25), Christian Yelich (21),and Vlad Jr. (32). The Vlads are the unicorns of baseball, and so would Michael Harris II. Once again, to believe he has a particular skill, we have to ignore all available data. It’s common sense, as well. If a guy beats the ball into the ground, he will not hit a lot of homers (unless it bounces into a squirrel’s hands, and he runs around with it while MHII runs around the bases). You notice I haven’t mentioned his speed, because I don’t have much to say on that. Seems pretty legit. Random Prediction Alert! Michael Harris II is a platoon player by July and disappoints everyone. Stamp him a schmohawk and move on.