Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver and Austin Riley have a hidden talent

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Sometimes, baseball players aren’t given their due respect as athletes. But in reality, several of these players could have played high level college ball, if not professional, in other arenas. Prior to the Braves most recent home stand, Austin Riley hosted a charity golf tournament, which brought some interesting conversations regarding who the best golfer on the team is. However, I’m not concerned with which one of these guys might be a scratch; I want to know who is out there hitting bombs.

The two guys that seem to stand out are AJ Smith-Shawver and Austin Riley. In a conversation with David O’Brien of The Athletic, Braves reliever A.J. Minter said Smith-Shawver is capable of hitting it 340 yards, and could even win a long drive competition if that were his primary focus. At just 20-years-old, that’s pretty incredible. I wonder if that has anything to do with the faith the Braves have decided to place in him at such a young age. Smith-Shawver is set to make his first major-league start this weekend against the Nationals.

Riley appeared on 680 The Fan to talk about his golf game and said he recorded a ball speed of 204 MPH. To put that in perspective, Bryson DeChambeau’s stock yardage and ball speed on his driver is 342 yards and 202 MPH. Riley is out there hitting absolute taters around the golf course, but is that such a surprise given his power on the diamond?

Both of these guys might have a backup career once they decide to hang it up, but thankfully, that shouldn’t be for a long time.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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