This day in Braves history: Atlanta calls up prospect Austin Riley for MLB debut

The future star for the Atlanta Braves made his MLB debut on this in 2019.

St Louis Cardinals  v Atlanta Braves
St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

A player who would become one of the foundations of the 2021 World Series winning team, Austin Riley made his MLB debut with the Atlanta Braves on this day, May 15, in 2018, as the club officially called up the prospect for what was one of the most anticipated day in recent franchise history.

This day in Braves history: Atlanta calls up Austin Riley for MLB debut

A former first round pick by Atlanta from the 2015 MLB Draft, Riley, as mentioned previously, was one of the more well-known names across the Braves minor league system at the time of his call-up, and rightfully so.

Drafted out of the high school ranks, Riley impressed early on in his professional career, which in turn caused the former first rounder to rise up Atlanta's prospect ranks. This would come all the way up to the Braves No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline at the time of his major league debut, one that would come as mentioned previously on May 15, 2019 after an impressive start to the minor league season.

When Riley was called up however, it would not necessarily be to play third base as we know today, but rather in left field. This was because third base was already secured at the time of his call-up by Josh Donaldson, a veteran who was in the middle of one of the greatest single-season's of his 13-year MLB career, as well as his lone in Atlanta.

Once being called-up, Riley's major league debut would be a memorable one for both himself and Braves' fans, as the prospect hit a HR in only his second MLB at-bat. Riley would finish the game going one-for-three with the HR, which helped kickstart a stellar first month in the big leagues in which he slashed a combined .356/.397/.746 with seven HR and 20 RBI from May 15-31.

Throughout 2019, Riley went on to appear in 80 games with Atlanta as a rookie in 2019, slashing .226/.279/.471 with 18 HR and 49 RBI. Riley would also post other numbers such as a .750 OPS and a 0.1 bWAR, with his HR% (6.1%) and K% (36.4%) being the highest of his career so far, as well as his 5.4 BB% the lowest.

Since that debut season, Riley has gone on to become one of baseball's top third basemen, slashing a combined .273/.340/.502 across his six-year MLB career with Atlanta. Riley also owns other career statistics such as 137 HR, 391 RBI, and a 19.1 bWAR, and has won two Silver Sluggers alongside his two All-Star appearances.

As mentioned previously as well, Riley was also a key piece of the Braves 2021 World Series winning team, slashing .320/.320/.440 with three RBI during those six games. Riley also holds a combined .232/.273/.373 slash line across 36 career postseason games, as well as having hit five HR with 16 RBI.

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