Austin Riley
21-Year-Old Third Baseman3B
Atlanta Braves AAA
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Remarkably little has changed regarding Riley’s outlook since he made his full-season debut in 2016. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound third baseman still projects as a No. 5 hitter who should provide 30-plus homer power while hitting .250 or .260. He was promoted to Triple-A in early May and missed a month in the middle of the season with a knee injury. After the calendar turned to August, Riley really heated up, hitting .289/.333/.570 with eight home runs in 129 plate appearances. However, strikeouts (31.8 K%) were still an issue during that run and he was not exhibiting much patience (4.8 BB%), so this was not a case of a player being unfairly held down for service time reasons. Riley still has significant approach issues to work on against Triple-A pitching and won’t turn 22 until April 2. With the Braves signing Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal and Johan Camargo coming off a 3.3-win (fWAR) season, there won’t be any rush to get Riley to Atlanta. Read Past Outlooks
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Could try outfield in spring
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
November 27, 2018
Riley may spend some time in the outfield in spring training, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
The Braves still view Riley as their third baseman of the future, but with Josh Donaldson in on a one-year deal, he's blocked at that position in the short term. The 21-year-old hit a solid .282/.346/.464 in 75 games with Triple-A Gwinnett last season, suggesting that he could be ready to make the leap to the big leagues. He likely won't break camp with the team, but he's not far from forcing the Braves to give him major-league at-bats, which could come either in an outfield corner or as an injury replacement.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Austin Riley
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
September 2nd
Jan Levine takes a look at Arodys Vizcaino, who's set for a rehab assignment, and what his role might be for the Braves upon his return. Who else can help fantasy players following September roster expansion?
The Z Files: Prepping For the Stretch Run, Part Four
August 31st
Todd Zola completes his look at players and strategies that can move the needle over the final weeks of the season and wonders if Josh Donaldson will find himself in a new uniform.
MLB Barometer: The Bigger Picture
August 23rd
Derek VanRIper is back with his Barometer this week, kicking off his risers section with Reds third basemen Eugenio Suarez, who's been spending time at shortstop recently.
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
August 19th
Jan Levine highlights Harrison Bader's boost in value and other quality contributors on the late-season NL wire.
Farm Futures: September Call-up Candidates
August 16th
James Anderson previews the players most likely to get added to September rosters, including a return engagement for Rockies second baseman Garrett Hampson.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
It is pretty obvious at this point in the Braves' rebuild that Riley is the third baseman of the future. He held his own (109 wRC+) as one of the second youngest position players in the Florida State League, prompting an aggressive July promotion to Double-A. That's when he really made his mark. Were it not for teammate and baseball prodigy Ronald Acuna, Riley would have easily been the youngest player to get 200 plate appearances in the Southern League, yet he still proceeded to be 62 percent better than league average while posting his best BB/K (0.40) since rookie ball. He has prototypical size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) for the hot corner and enough power to challenge for 30-homer campaigns in his peak years, especially in that park. He does not project to hit .300 in the big leagues, but he could be a .270 hitter who walks a decent amount and hits in an advantageous spot in the lineup. If he handles Triple-A the way he handled Double-A, we could see him in Atlanta this summer.
Riley celebrated his 19th birthday on April 2 and five days later got his first taste of life in the middle of a Low-A lineup. He struggled for the first couple months, as most teenagers do when they first face pitchers who can occasionally locate mid-90s cheese and spin breaking balls. However, he made the necessary adjustments and hit .289/.348/.581 with 17 home runs and a 61:22 K:BB over his final 279 plate appearances with Rome. Also notable is the fact that Riley cut his strikeout rate from 32.6 percent in the first half to 21.8 percent in the second half. In a system flush with high-upside arms yet light on impact bat-first position players, Riley boasts the most raw power on the farm. That 65-grade power makes him a top-five third base prospect in the game and will allow him to challenge for the home run crown with High-A Florida while being one of the youngest hitters in the Florida State League.
Standing 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Riley generates impressive bat speed and power from the right side of the plate, more than enough to put him on the radar in long-term dynasty and keeper leagues. A supplemental first-round pick in 2015, Riley didn't exactly hit the ground running as a professional, batting .163 with no home runs in his first 14 games with the Gulf Coast League Braves. Riley would go on to hit 12 home runs in his final 46 games between the GCL and Danville of the Appalachian League. He also showed good patience for an 18-year-old, and has the arm to stick at third base. Look for Riley to receive his first full-season assignment in 2016.
More Fantasy News
Heating up for Gwinnett
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
August 24, 2018
Riley went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a second run scored for Triple-A Gwinnett in Thursday's win over Durham.
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Slumping at Triple-A
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
August 8, 2018
Riley is hitting .216 with zero home runs over his last 10 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.
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Returns from MiLB disabled list
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 13, 2018
Riley (knee) went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, Mark Bowman of reports.
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Begins rehab assignment
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 6, 2018
Riley (knee) began a rehab assignment Thursday and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout for the rookie-level GCL Braves, David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
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Lands on DL with knee sprain
3BAtlanta Braves  AAA
June 9, 2018
Riley was placed on the minor-league disabled list due to a sprain of his posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
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