Atlanta Braves News: Austin Riley MVP Candidate

Brandon Brosch
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 21: Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run in the fifth inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 21: Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run in the fifth inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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It’s a message that just isn’t going away:  almost every contending team has an MVP candidate and the Atlanta Braves are no different.

Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves is having an exceptional season, currently batting .306 with 28 bombs and 83 RBI’S. With the season he is having, Braves fans might remember Chipper Jones‘ 1999 season, which ended with Jones winning the NL MVP.

Make no mistake about it, Braves fans, Austin Riley has been on fire and is even being talked about as the NL MVP this year. Since his debut in 2019, many fans have been concerned with his batting average as well as his strikeouts, often fans have wondered not only why Riley has been starting, but also why he has not been traded.

When Chipper Jones retired after the 2012 season, it went without saying that whoever the next Atlanta Braves third baseman would be, they were going to have some big shoes to fill.

The Braves have been through several candidates since then, and while no one is saying that Riley has finally filled those shoes, fans can not argue with the success that he is having this season.

While the strikeouts are still concerning, Riley is still performing well. While it is hard to judge a player’s stats from the shortened 2020 season due to Covid, Riley did not perform well a year ago, finishing the year with a .239 average, as well as eight home runs.

Austin Riley has drastically improved from seasons prior and from his numbers, is insanely locked in at the plate and his defense seems to have improved as well. However Riley is still striking out quite a bit this season — currently he has 131 (a 23.8% K-rate).

Austin Riley is currently 24 years old, and he seems to finally be tapping into his full potential. And with a stacked Atlanta Braces roster the sky is the limit.  Given that age, Riley still has a ton of room to grow and has improved.

Next. How Much Has Riley Improved?. dark

While this big season from Riley has Braves fans excited, the real question is can Riley sustain this kind of production, and success for more than one season?

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