It was a huge week for Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley and it ended with his first-ever NL Player of the Week award.
I told our staff the other day that no one was allowed to write about Riley for fear of messing up his hot streak, which is why we’re kind of late getting this news out. But I can’t ignore it anymore when he’s winning awards like NL Player of the Week.
The third baseman hit .462 this past week with 6 home runs, scored 9 runs, and had 11 RBI with a 1.772 OPS.
And it’s not just this past week, Riley has been on a tear for a while now.
Over the last month, Riley leads the Braves with an OPS of 1.087. He has 7 home runs over that stretch and is hitting .357.
A lot of his hits early on could be chalked up to luck as he wasn’t hitting the ball very hard and was finding holes. That’s still somewhat the case with a .421 BABIP and .265 XBA.
But the power has really started to pick up in the last month and his hard-hit percentage is now at 46.2 percent, which ranks in the 76th percentile and would be the best of his career.
He’s still whiffing a lot and the K-rate of 28.2 percent is high, but at the same time, he seems to have a much better eye with a BB percentage of 11, which would also be a career-high.
We’ve seen what Riley can do when he’s on one of these hot streaks, and while you have to expect regression to come at some point, this is why the Braves aren’t going to give up on him. He has the ability to carry an offense at times as he has in May.
I’m really happy for Riley and it’s good to see him get recognition for his good work. Even if we don’t get this Riley for the rest of the year, hopefully we see a more consistent Riley.
If it doesn’t happen and he goes back to being that .230 hitter with a 30-plus K-rate you can blame me for writing this article about how hot he’s been.