A little more than a year after the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 32nd round, Trey Harris is showing the club the value got in the selection.
The former McEachern High School standout was named the Braves' overall minor leaguer of the Year for the 2019 season, as well as player of the year for the Florida Fire Frogs, the Braves advanced Class A affiliate.
Harris hit a combined .323 across three levels in his first full season in the Braves' organization, after being drafted out of Missouri in June 2018. He totaled 14 home runs, 26 doubles and 73 RBIs while playing for Class A Rome, high-A Florida and Double-A Mississippi.
“It’s a big deal. it’s exciting to see how far I’ve come,” Harris said. “In my opinion, it’s just a stepping stone. This award doesn’t matter unless I make it to the show. It’s cool along the way. A lot of people don’t get this opportunity, but I’d rather be enjoying my moment in the show rather than enjoying minor league awards.”
Harris spent the most time of his 2019 season in Rome, batting .366 with eight home runs and being named a South Atlantic League All-Star. On June 4, he was promoted to Florida, and a little over a month later, was sent to Mississippi to finish out the season.
In the Braves' talent rich farm system, Harris did not rank among the team's top prospects heading into the season. That was despite hitting better than .300 last year.
Harris, though, surpassed all outside expectations while flying through the organization. And while he is now the Braves' 18th-rated prospect according to MLB.com, there were some of his own lofty goals that Harris felt he fell short on.
“My goal was to hit .340 with 15 (home runs), so, in my opinion, I didn’t reach my goals,” he said. “I’m not surprised, but I am happy that it happened. Everyone has goals. They don’t always reach them, but to be able to play at a high level is a blessing. I’m just excited and blessed to be able to play the game the right way and be rewarded.”
While the talent the Braves have in the minors might keep Harris from a higher rating, it does provide another more important opportunity. The opportunity to observe and learn from some of the best young talents in the game, including their top two outfield prospects, Cristian Pache and Woodstock native Drew Waters.
“It’s a blessing,” Harris said. “I get to see first-hand what future big leaguers look like, and I try to take and learn everything from their game and try to incorporate it into mine.”
After graduating from McEachern, Harris went on to Missouri and was a career .267 hitter with 28 home in four years with the Tigers.
Harris also already had a special connection to the Braves even before joining the organization. While at Missouri, he accounted for the first home run in a competitive game at Suntrust Park, connecting against Georgia on April 8, 2017.
“At the time, it was amazing, because I never thought that I’d get to play in that stadium,” Harris said. “To be back with the Braves and to have an opportunity to maybe hit two or three more out of that stadium is just an awesome opportunity, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Harris' performance this season earned him a spot on the Braves' Arizona Fall League team -- the Scottsdale Scorpions -- and he will compete with some of the top prospects from around the minor leagues starting Wednesday.
Harris is ready to go, with an eye already on the 2020 season.
“It’s always nice to be somewhat liked by the people you work for,” Harris said. “I’m just excited for this opportunity. It’s just another chance to show my abilities to some more people and catch some more eyes and, hopefully, set myself up for next year.”