The Atlanta Braves finally made a splashy move this off-season bringing in Marcell Ozuna on a one-year deal. Now Atlanta still must address the lack of a starting third baseman on their roster.
Barring a surprise move from Atlanta Austin Riley will go into the season with a chance to win the starting job. Riley was impressive in his first month for the Braves before quickly fading.
The problem for Riley was a lack of discipline at the plate. He became home-run happy after a torrid first month pitchers stopped throwing him strikes to hit out of the park and he obliged by chasing pitch after pitch out of the zone.
Riley has all of the tools to be the Braves starting third baseman in 2020. He can be an solid defender and a power threat at the plate, if he can learn not to chase pitches out of the zone.
A realistic expectation for the Braves and their fans is for Riley to take a step forward this season hitting 25-homers and hitting in the .240-.250 range with above average defense at the hot corner.
While he certainly will not be Josh Donaldson, he doesn’t need to be all Riley needs to do this season is prove he learned from his struggles. Take the adjustments needed at the plate and provide power numbers from the 6th or 7th spot in the Braves lineup.
If he can do that he will have a shot to lock down the starting job and allow Johan Camargo to stay in the utility role he served in last season. It will certainly be a position to watch with Spring Training closing in for Atlanta.