Atlanta Braves: Can Austin Riley be the future at third base?

May 24, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret that the Atlanta Braves have not had a good third baseman since Chipper Jones. It has felt like a revolving door of sorts at the hot corner for the Atlanta Braves ever since his departure. There is good news on the horizon and Braves fans might not have to wait much longer.

Although the Atlanta Braves have been using Adonis Garcia as their primary third baseman this year, he is not the answer moving forward. He might not even make it past the trade deadline this year. In the minors, the Atlanta Braves have a couple of stars at third base. One of them is Rio Ruiz, who is at Gwinnett, and the other is Austin Riley, who is currently at Rome.

Austin Riley was the Atlanta Braves 41st pick in the 2015 MLB draft. Riley, from Desoto Central High School in Mississippi, is 6’3 and 230 pounds. He has a lot of power and he is an above average defensive player. So, how does he fit into the Braves plans going forward?

Power Bat

Currently in low-A Rome, Riley might have a couple of years to go until he plays in the newly built SunTrust Park. If Riley continues to improve upon his numbers in Rome, he will move up through the minors fast and be able to help the team at the major league level.

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Riley currently is hitting with a .259 average with six home runs and 37 RBI’s. Those numbers will improve as he gets more comfortable hitting. He is also the owner of a .405 slugging percentage which is one of the top ones on the team.

Defensive Skills

Having been able to see Riley play in Rome a couple of times, his presence on the defensive side of the ball is above average. He reacts well when the ball is hit to him and he makes good decisions throwing the ball.

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He has a big frame and is improving at picking the ball and making a good throw to first. Riley also has great field awareness and can make the smart throws and not compound errors. If he continues to not only mature himself, but show that his game is maturing, he will see the big leagues sooner than later


So the ultimate question is when will Atlanta Braves fans see Riley at the new ball park. If he grows and continues to develop at a fast pace, they could see him at the end of next season or the beginning of the 2018 season.

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Realistically, Riley will gradually go through the minors and be ready for the big league team around the end of the 2018 season, or the beginning of the 2019 season. Before Braves fans know it, 2019 will be right around the corner and there will be a new third baseman at the hot one in SunTrust Park.