Braves would be forced to trade this top prospect for Juan Soto

If the Braves did trade for Juan Soto, they’d be forced to deal some of their top prospect capital — namely hotshot rookie Michael Harris II.

Outfielder for outfielder? How could it go wrong?

The likelihood that Soto is traded before the deadline lowers by the day, as the Nationals trade demand for the 23-year-old star is rightly high. Washington prefers a Herschel Walker-like trade package, so a rival NL East team would really have to pay up.

For Atlanta, that means several MLB-ready players, as well as the top of their farm system. There are no Braves prospects in MLB Pipeline’s top-100, which would surely play a role. However, Michael Harris II stands out as a young outfield pillar of the future.

Could Braves use Michael Harris II in a Juan Soto trade?

Harris II is as close to the Braves can get to a can’t-miss prospect, and he’s been in the majors for months. Atlanta’s run to catch up to the New York Mets has been fueled by unlikely suspects, with the 21-year-old centerstage. Brian Snitker complimented Harris at the All-Star Game early last week:

“He’s come in and we have all been really impressed with him in spring training the last two years,” Snitker said. “He can do things that I didn’t realize he could do. I didn’t realize how gifted he was defensively. … I asked him about a throw the other day in Washington and he was like ‘I don’t know, I just made a throw.’ It’s what he does.”

Harris II is slashing .288/.321/.489 and won’t turn 22 until next March. He’s a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, and would be at the center of any trade for Soto. The question remains, though, is it worth trading players like Harris II and more — thus gutting the system of young talent — for the next Ted Williams.

Baseball, unlike most sports, is far from individual.

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