Michael Austin Riley...Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the Competitive Balance A round (41st overall) of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft...Signed by Don Thomas.
In his second major-league season, played in 51 games and hit .239/.301/.415 (45-for-188) with seven doubles, eight home runs, 27 RBI and 24 runs scored...Started all 51 games, 45 of which were at third base…Also made starts in left field (4) and first base (2)...Hit eight home runs, reaching the 20-homer and 25-homer milestones of his career...Hit his 20th home run on 8/4 off Toronto's Matt Shoemaker, and hit his 25th career homer in Game 2 of a doubleheader on 9/4 vs. Washington, off Will Crowe...For both milestones, was the fourth quickest player by games played in franchise history to reach that total, trailing Wally Berger, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Bob Horner...His eight home runs traveled an average of a projected 424 feet, the third farthest in the majors, trailing Marcell Ozuna (429 ft.) and Seattle's Ty France (425 ft.)...France hit just four home runs...Two of his homers went over 450 feet... One was 471 feet, off the Nationals' Will Crowe on 9/4, the third longest by a Braves player in 2020...The other, off the Mets’ Corey Oswalt on 7/26, went 458 feet and caromed off Citi's Field third deck...Only one of Riley’s homers came on a fastball... Hit .281/.328/.632 (16-for-57) off breaking pitches (sliders and curves)...In 2019, his rookie season, hit .195 against these pitches and struck out in 38 of his 86 plate appearances (41.9%)...Over half (15) of his 27 RBI came with two outs...In those situations, had a .446 slugging percentage (2 2B, 4 HR)...Struck out in just 23.8% of his plate appearances, better than the 36.4% strikeout rate he had in 2019...His 32.4% chase rate and 30.1% whiff rate were both considerably lower than the totals he had in 2019 (37.7% chase rate and 38.7% whiff rate)... Scored a single-game career-high five runs on 9/9 against the Marlins…Reached base safely four times (2 H, 2 BB)...Is one of just six Atlanta-era players (since 1966) to score that many runs in a game, joining Adam Duvall and Dansby Swanson, who also did so in that game...Chipper Jones, twice, Kenny Lofton and Lonnie Smith are the others...On 8/30 at Philadelphia, hit a double and a home run in a 10-run second inning...Became the first Braves player with multiple extra-base hits in a single inning since Jeff Blauser on 6/22/97, also at Philadelphia...His only triple of the season, and second of his career, broke a 2-2 tie and drove in three on 8/31 at Boston...It was Atlanta’s first bases-loaded triple since Mallex Smith cleared the bags on 5/30/16 vs. the Giants.
Started all 12 of Atlanta’s playoff games, and hit .178/.245/.244 (8-for-45) with one home run, four RBI and four runs scored...Started 10 games at third base and two in left field...Did not make the Braves postseason roster in 2019...His first career postseason homer broke a tie in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS, an eventual 5-1 Atlanta win...At 23 years, 193 days old, became the fourth youngest player with a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later of a postseason game, joining PHI’s Jimmie Foxx (Game 5, ‘30 WS), StL’s Tim McCarver (Game 5, ’64 WS) and ATL’s Chipper Jones (Game 1, ’95 DS)...Hitting from the No. 9 spot, became the fifth player in postseason history to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning from that spot in the batting order, joining NYM’s Lenny Dykstra (Game 3, ‘86 LCS), LAD’s Kirk Gibson (Game 1, ’88 WS), TOR’s Ed Sprague (Game 2, ’92 WS) and NYY’s Alfonso Soriano (Game 4, ’01 LCS)...It was the sixth homer in franchise history that gave the Braves a lead in the ninth inning or later of a postseason game, joining Eddie Mathews (Game 4, ’57 WS), Chipper Jones (Game 1, ’95 DS), Javy López (Game 1, ‘96 DS), Rafael Furcal (Game 2, ’04 DS) and Rick Ankiel (Game 2, ’10 DS)...2B Ozzie Albies would later hit a two-run homer to cap the four-run frame…Riley and Albies (23 years, 279 days) are the first pair of teammates age 23 or younger to hit a home run in the same inning in postseason history.
Entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in Atlanta's organization… Began the campaign with Triple-A Gwinnett… Called up to Atlanta in the middle of May and spent the rest of the season with the Braves... In his 80 games with Atlanta, slashed .262/.338/.646 (17-for-65) against lefthanders…Hit seven home runs in 74 plate appearances against them, nearly half of his season total, despite getting nearly four times the amount of plate appearances against righties…Also drew eight walks against lefties, the same amount he had versus right-handers... The Braves selected his contract on 5/15 after placing OF Ender Inciarte on the injured list with a lumbar strain…Homered in his second career plate appearance, off St. Louis' Michael Wacha, becoming the eighth player in the Atlanta era (since 1966) to homer in his MLB debut…Previous to Riley was Evan Gattis on 4/3/13 against Philadelphia, off Hall-of-Famer Roy Halladay... Named the N.L. Rookie of the Month in May, despite spending the first half of the month in the minors...Batted .356/.397/.746 (21-for-59) with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 15 games…Is the only Braves player in history to hit seven homers and drive in 20 in his first 15 career games... Became the fastest Braves player in the modern era to five career home runs, doing so in his ninth career game…At the time, only eight other major leaguers had hit at least five homers in their first nine games…COL's Trevor Story was the last with seven in 2016…The only other 22-year-old to accomplish the feat was TOR's Carlos Delgado (1993-94)... His seventh home run was a grand slam on 5/29 off Washington's Kyle McGowin, in his 14th career game…He became the second player in Atlanta franchise history to hit a grand slam in his first 14 career games, joining Marcus Giles, who accomplished the feat in 2005. Hit his 10th career home run on 6/12, the 26th game of his career...He is the quickest to doubledigit home runs, by games played, in the modern era (since 1900) of franchise history…Wally Berger held the old record, hitting his 10th home run in his 29th game in 1930... Recorded his 25th career RBI in the 18th game of his career...Since RBI became an official statistic in 1920, Riley was the second fastest player to 25 RBI, by games played, in major league history… Only the Cubs' Mandy Brooks in 1925 reached the mark quicker, recording his 25th RBI in his 17th career game... In 49 games before the All-Star break, posted an .873 OPS (.312 OBP, .561 SLG) with 16 home runs, tying Ryan Klesko (1994) for the most homers by a Braves rookie prior to the break…Also had 41 RBI in that time... After the All-Star break, had a .486 OPS (.211 OBP, .276 SLG) with two home runs in 31 games…Struck out in 39 of his 95 plate appearances (41.1 percent)... Went to the injured list on 8/5 with a right knee sprain and missed 28 games…Had rehab assignments with Single-A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett before being activated on 9/6... Upon activation, played in 14 games to finish the season and went 5-for-38 (.132) with one home run and four RBI... Opened the season in Triple-A and hit .299/.377/.681 (43-for-144) in 37 games… At the time of his selection, was leading the International League in home runs (15), RBI (39), extra-base hits (25), total bases (98) and runs (32)…He ranked second in slugging (.681) and third in OPS (1.057)…Had 13 home runs over his last 18 games, including three multi-homer efforts... Named the International League Player of the Week for the period of 5/6-12 after batting .296 (8-for-27) with four home runs, eight RBI and walking (5) as many times as he struck out (5).
Split the season between High-A Florida and Double-A Mississippi, combining to bat .275 (133-for-484) with 71 runs, 41 extra-base hits and 74 RBI over 129 games between the two clubs...Opened the year with Florida and ranked by Baseball America as Atlanta's No. 11 prospect... Transferred to Mississippi on 7/13...Ended the season ranked in the Top 10 among Atlanta farmhands in hits (2nd, 133), home runs (3rd, 20), RBI (3rd, 74), walks (T9th, 43), slugging percentage (T7th, 446) and OPS (8th, 786)...Over the last two seasons, leads Atlanta prospects in RBI (154) and homers (40)...Following his promotion to Mississippi, batted .315/.389/.511 over 48 games...Ranked second in the Southern League in hits (56), tied for fifth in homers (8), and ranked eighth in RBI (27) from 7/13 through the end of the season...Hit 17 of his 20 home runs off right-handed pitchers...Named a Florida State League Mid-Season All- Star...Earned FSL Player of the Week honors for the period of 5/1-7 after batting .462/.483/.846 with three home runs and 10 RBI over seven games...Appeared in 17 games with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League following the season, and batted .300/.364/.657 with 12 extra-base hits and 18 RBI...Was named to both the AFL Fall-Stars Game and to the Top Prospects Team following the fall season...Hit for the cycle on 10/26 with Peoria, going 4-for-6 with three runs and five RBI against Mesa...Logged the first cycle in the Arizona Fall League since 2008.
Played his first full professional season with Single-A Rome and batted .271 (134-for-495) with 68 runs, 61 extra-base hits and 80 RBI in 129 games to earn Rome's Player of the Year honors from the organization...Ended the season pacing all Atlanta farmhands in home runs (20), doubles (39) and total bases (237), while sitting in the Top 10 in RBI (2nd, 80), slugging percentage (3rd, .479), OPS (3rd, .803), runs (T3rd, 68) and hits (4th, 134)...Finished second in the South Atlantic League in home runs and doubles, and third in RBI...Opened his sophomore campaign batting just .229 (38-for-166) with a .280 OBP and .367 slugging percentage in his first 43 games before hitting .292/.346/.535 over his final 86 contests...Fourteen of his 20 homers on the season came in his final 45 games, during which he stroked 15 doubles and slugged .632 with 43 RBI...Closed his season on a 19-game hitting streak, batting .361 (26-for-72) with 13 extra-base hits and 20 RBI from 8/16-9/5...Batted .315 (23-for-73) against left-handed pitching, compared to a .263 (111-for-422) mark against righties. Drove home eight runners in seven postseason games, going 6-for-26 (.231) with four runs, two doubles, two homers and three walks as Rome won the South Atlantic League Championship...Posted 36 multi-hit games, including eight three- hit efforts...Fell a triple short of the cycle on 8/11 at Hickory, going 3-for-4 with two runs, one double, a homer and three RBI...Tabbed by Baseball America as Atlanta's No. 8 prospect entering 2016, as well as the "Best Power Hitter" in the system.
Split his first professional season between the GCL Braves and rookie-level Danville after being selected by Atlanta with the 41st overall pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft...Was named the Danville Braves Player of the Year by the organization after batting .351 (39-for-111) with five home runs and 19 RBI in 30 games with the club, and he combined to bat .304 (66-for- 217) with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 60 games between the two stops...Led the GCL Braves with seven home runs at the time of his move to Danville, where he proceeded to lead Danville with five homers in 111 at-bats...Paced all Atlanta farmhands with a .933 OPS, while 12 home runs on the season were tied for second-most in the system, despite playing in just 60 games...Also finished in the Top 10 among Braves prospects in average (T6th, .304)...Opened his professional career batting .077 (2- for-26) with 12 strikeouts in his first eight games, before hitting .335 (64-for-191) in his remaining 52 contests on the season...He was named by Baseball America as the "Best Pure Hitter," "Best Power Hitter," "Best Athlete" and as having the "Best Pro Debut" among the Braves 2015 draft class...Also named by the publication as the second-best prospect in the Appalachian League, as well as the 10th-best prospect in the Gulf Coast League at the season's conclusion.