To say Austin Riley is off to a nice start with the Atlanta Braves would be an understatement. Riley is continuing to rake and giving the Braves reason to keep him in the lineup.
The Atlanta Braves have a great problem on their hands, with more talent than they have starting spots in their rotation. This is in part due to the torrid start Austin Riley has gotten off to with Atlanta.
He has already hit 5-homers and is hitting close to .400 constantly coming up with clutch hits during his first two weeks with Atlanta.
For now the Braves won’t have to make any tough decisions with Ender Inciarte on the injured list. Once Inciarte is back, however, the decision the Braves have to make is obvious. Inciarte is showing himself to be inconsistent and doesn’t have the abilities at the plate that Austin Riley brings to the team.
Keeping Inciarte as a platoon player and a defensive sub is the Braves best move considering how well Riley has been hitting. While there is nowhere for Riley’s trajectory to go but down he will continue to bring power to the lineup and is a better pure hitter than Ender.
Inciarte will join Matt Joyce and Johan Camargo on the Braves bench to give the team a much better and more talented unit than last season. Inciarte still has a lot of value for Atlanta but unless he starts hitting more consistently it is time to start Riley in left field long term and give him everyday starts.
Next season will provide a spot for both players with Josh Donaldson likely leaving the club. The Braves will begin their next series tonight at 8:15 EST against the St. Louis Cardinals. A key series for a team who is starting to put real pressure on the first place Phillies.