Austin Riley's on-field performance parallels with an Atlanta Braves legend

Atlanta's third baseman is having a great start to his career and it strongly parallels that of a Braves legend.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Austin Riley has been on an absolute tear since the day he touched a Major League diamond. In his first five seasons, he has two all-star appearances, a World Series title, and two Silver Slugger Awards. Riley is expected to be the Atlanta Braves' third baseman through 2032 after inking a 10-year/$212 million extension in 2022.

Since Riley is set to be the Braves franchise player at the hot corner, we wanted to look back at the last player in Atlanta who held down that position for an extended period: Chipper Jones. As good as Riley has been, it is only natural to wonder how his first five seasons compare to Chipper’s first five seasons. The results will remind you why Chipper Jones is in the Hall of Fame. 

The only two major categories in which Riley has the edge on Jones are home runs and slugging percentage. Riley will have another shot in 2024 to be one of the top home run hitters on the team. Every other statistic that you can think of, Chipper has the advantage by a landslide through his first five seasons. 

The difference in batting average, stolen bases, and RBI is astonishing. We all know that Riley isn’t exactly a speed demon but we also forget that Chipper racked up 58 stolen bases through his first five years in the MLB. Riley only has five but that's okay because stolen bases aren't part of his M.O.

Riley is part of one of the most explosive offensive teams the game of baseball has ever seen. With Ronald Acuna Jr. in the leadoff spot and hitting in the three-hole just like Chipper did, you would most likely imagine Riley had more RBI. The opposite is true with Chipper driving in 414 from 1993-1998 and Riley bringing home 373. 

The most impressive stat in this comparison is the batting average. Austin Riley so far is a career .275 hitter which is more than respectable for a middle-of-the-order power bat. However, the switch-hitting legend Jones posted a .297 batting average through his first five seasons. 

A lot of that can be attributed to the struggles Riley had with adjusting to the breaking ball. That's often something most young hitters go through. Luckily, Austin worked through those struggles and is now one of the best third basemen in all of baseball. He even gets MVP consideration and has the potential to bring one home in the next few years.

Of course, he will have to compete with the likes of Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr, and Michael Harris II for that honor.

The fact that he can even be mentioned in the same breath as Chipper Jones through the first five seasons of his career, is extremely impressive. He's been able to do that because he's got a good head on his shoulders and great coaching around him.

Hopefully, Austin will build a resume by the end of his career that makes people question who had the better career. However, this comparison shows that even as good as Riley has been so far, he is not Chipper. But that's okay. He doesn't need to be Chipper Jones, he just needs to be himself and things will work out how they're supposed to.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built