The Florida Fire Frogs may be a newly established minor league team, but word is getting around baseball due to their high volume lineup. While the buzz during the Braves rebuild has surrounded around the multitude to arms the team have stockpiled, the trio of Austin Riley, Alex Jackson, and Ronald Acuna, who was just promoted to AA Mississippi, have set the Florida State League on “fire”.
The good news for Braves fans is that all three of these bats play positions of which the big league club does not currently have long-term options at presently. That begins with Austin Riley over at the hot corner.
In case you forgot, Austin Riley was used with the 41st pick that was acquired in the trade that sent Melvin Upton Jr. and Craig Kimbrel to the San Diego Padres. Now, Riley projects to be Atlanta’s third baseman of the future.
After displaying his raw power shortly after being drafted, Riley worried many with a slow start to 2016. However, he caught steam around midseason and has never looked back. His hitting ways have translated over to 2017, and has hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games. Over this span he has hit .444 and added four homers to his season total of seven.
Riley easily has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order power threat in the majors, with his only real concern stemming from strikeouts and his speed. This is to be expected from a player of this kind, however. Riley also has a cannon over at third base. When he was drafted out of high school many were not sure whether it was as a pitcher or position player.
He is still just 20-years old, but Austin Riley may not be far off from multiple All-Star Game bids. This kid definitely has the chance to be the best third baseman the Braves have had since Chipper Jones, and will be a huge part of the Braves’ lineup in years to come.