Austin Riley is Peaking at the Perfect Time for the Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have been the best offense in baseball for the majority of the 2023 season. However, some of their key players have gone through some rough patches. Austin Riley is no exception to that but he is in the midst of a massive offensive outburst.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Comparing Austin Riley's First and Second Half So Far

Austin Riley
Los Angeles Angels v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

He isn't just getting singles here and there but instead, he's hitting the ball well and driving it to all parts of the field. The home runs have now begun to come in bunches and he just seems locked in.

Through the first 89 games of the season, Austin slashed .266/.327/.448 with a .775 OPS. He had 94 hits including 16 doubles, 16 homers, and 44 RBI with 31 walks and 91 strikeouts. His wRC+ was at 105 through the first half.

He was hitting a lot more ground balls during the first half as his groundball percentage sat at 42.2% and when he was hitting fly balls, his home run to fly ball ratio (HR/FB) was at 15.8% with a 37.7 hard hit percentage.

That has drastically changed in the second half as he is hitting the ball in the air more often and at a high exit velocity. His ground ball percentage has dropped to 37.0% and his hard hit percentage is up to 50.7% through 25 games in the second half so far. As far as HR/FB ratio, it sits at 29.4% which is a drastic improvement from the first half. Basically, if he hits the ball in the air right now, there is a pretty decent chance it's going over the wall.

Now, that HR/FB ratio in the first half is considered above average so it's not like he was doing terribly. That's just a testament to how incredible he has been in the second half. 20% is considered an excellent HR/FB ratio and he is almost 10 points higher than that rate at the moment.

His stats are just as impressive and drastic improvements from the first half as well. With a slash line of .333/.381/.735 and an OPS of 1.116, Riley is putting up MVP-type numbers right now. Austin has 34 hits including 6 doubles, 1 triple, 11 homers, 28 RBI, 8 walks, and 26 strikeouts as well in the second half. His wRC+ increased drastically to 178 and a wOBA of .439 is 100 points higher than it was in the first half (.331).

If there's any knock it's that his strikeout percentage is still pretty much the same 23.1% before the break and 24.1% after the break. So, that could certainly be improved and would make Riley even more dangerous of a batter.