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Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Mississippi Braves outfielder Michael Harris II prepares to bat during Wednesday's Double-A Southern League game against the host Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field. Harris, from Stockbridge, Ga., is the top prospect in the Atlanta Braves' system and is off to a good start this season.

Thirty games into his first season above Class A, one aspect of Michael Harris II's game — and personality — has become quite obvious.

It's easier to keep Harris, recently anointed the Atlanta Braves' No. 1 prospect, off the bases than it is to get him to talk about himself.

Keep in mind that entering Saturday's fifth contest of a six-game series against the Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field, the Stockbridge, Georgia, native had reached base in every Mississippi Braves game.

The 6-foot, 195-pound former third-round draft pick can hit for average (.304) and power (four home runs, 10 doubles and a .512 slugging percentage). He has shown patience with nine walks and displayed elite baserunning with 10 steals. He's a polished outfielder whose throws have been clocked at over 90 mph.

Seemingly the only thing the 21-year-old can't do is brag about himself.

Ask Harris to describe the key to his quick rise, and the answer has nothing to do with his elite athletic ability or high baseball IQ.

"Finding a way to consistently do it is the key for me," he said, shrugging a bit, prior to Thursday's game. "You can't really look at it (being the team's top prospect) too much, just go out there and do what you can do — whatever got you there — and try to improve every day."

Harris may not be focused on his status in the Braves' system, but others are. Atlanta general manager Alex Antholopoulos, in fact, was in the stands at a couple of games in Chattanooga to get an in-person look at the organization's only top 100 prospect (68th entering the season), according to MILB.com.

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Atlanta Braves prospect Michael Harris II

Recent promotions to the big league club, trades and the infamous 2017 international signing scandal under former GM John Coppolella combined to take a farm system that had consistently been ranked in the top five to its current status of 27th. It's a big reason why so much is riding on Harris' development.

One would expect such high expectations for a homegrown product could begin to weigh heavily. If it has, though, Harris wears it well with an attitude that suggests outside noise doesn't get in the way of the reason he has played the sport since he could first pick up a bat.

"I really have no control over it, so I just go out there and do what I can do every day and help my teammates," he said when asked if he has a timeline on reaching the majors. "I really don't think about it.

"It's been a good season, really fun. I get to play the sport I love every day, and I try to have fun doing it."

Fun seems to be the key word for Harris. He may not exude a happy-go-lucky personality à la hopeful future Atlanta teammates Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies, but he insists the joy he gets out of playing a game wrought with failure is a goal he sets every day.

"I just try to stay positive," he said. "You know you're going to fail in this game, but when you succeed, you have to enjoy it. If you can have fun every day, it will make the game better for you. You only get to play this game for so long, so you better have fun while you can."

That attitude — along with the eye-popping skills — caught the eyes of the Atlanta brass in spring training, when Harris was one of the camp's standouts. Mississippi Braves manager Bruce Crabbe, who joined the organization after 17 seasons coaching in the Boston Red Sox system, was asked about Harris after learning he would be managing him this season in Double-A.

"Oh, he's got it all," Crabbe said in an interview with Mike Christensen of MississippiScoreboard.com. "In my opinion he'll move quickly (in the system). He'll get to the big leagues sooner rather than later."

Whether that happens this year or next or even later, Harris said it won't dictate how he measures this or any season.

"If it happens, it happens," he said of moving up. "A good season to me would mean winning a championship, avoiding injuries and being a good teammate and person."

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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