Austin Riley

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Michael Austin Riley

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Biographical Information[edit]

Austin Riley was a supplemental first round pick in the 2015 amateur draft, being selected 41st overall by the Atlanta Braves out of a high school in Mississippi. He was listed as a 3B/P at the time, but was used strictly as a third baseman in his first four professional season, before starting to see time in the outfield in 2019, in anticipation of an imminent call-up to the majors.

He started his pro career on a good note as he hit a combined .304/.389/.544 between the GCL Braves and the Danville Braves, two Rookie-class teams, in 2015. In 2016, he spent a full season with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .271 with 39 doubles, 20 homers and 80 RBIs in 129 games. In 2017, he was both in advanced class A with the Florida Fire Frogs and in AA with the Mississippi Braves, and continued to do well, hitting .275/.339/.446 in 129 games. In 2018, he missed a few games due to injury and also made a rehabilitation assignment back in the Gulf Coast League, but otherwise he continued to demonstrate advanced hitting skills as he hit .294 with 30 doubles, 19 homers and 70 RBIs in 108 games, with most of his time coming with the AAA Gwinnett Stripers. He then got off to an incredibly hot start for Gwinett in 2019, as after 37 games, he had already banged 10 doubles and 15 homers and driven in 39 runs.

Riley was called up to Atlanta on May 15, 2019, and made his debut that day starting in left field and batting 6th. It did not take him long to his first long ball, as he connected off Michael Wacha of the St. Louis Cardinals leading off the 4th inning, helping to lead the Braves to a 4-0 win at Sun Trust Park. That was the start of a great run that saw him hit 7 homers in his first 14 games while hitting .375. He hit his first grand slam on May 29th, off Kyle McGowin of the Washington Nationals. He finished May at .356 with 7 homers and 20 RBIs, which was enough to earn him National League Rookie of the Month honors in spite of playing just 15 games. He hit his 10th homer on June 12th, a game-tying shot in the 9th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, then went out and scored the winning run in the 11th inning, diving head-first across the plate on a double by Ozzie Albies to give Atlanta an 8-7 win. He was the fastest Braves player to reach 10 homers, needing 26 games, displacing Wally Berger who had taken 29 back in 1930.

Notable Achievements[edit]

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