After a rather uneventful stint in Rome where he only picked up two singles in ten at-bats, Riley has looked much more comfortable since moving to AAA Gwinnett. He recorded two more hits today, pushing him to 6-14 in his three games with the Stripers.
The Braves have a day off before a three-game set with the White Sox at home and will stay at home to face the Blue Jays again on Monday for two games. By that time, it will be September 2nd, meaning the roster will have expanded, and we should see Austin Riley back in Atlanta, providing there are no setbacks this weekend.
Atlanta could opt to keep Riley in Gwinnett to build some confidence after his rough stretch before going down with an injury. But the fact of the matter is Riley needs to learn how to hit major league pitching, and the Braves need to figure out what they have before they make decisions regarding the playoff roster. If Riley can find his groove again, like he did when he first came up, this lineup can match anybody in the NL – even the Dodgers. The Braves are going to need the rookie in order to make a serious push at the World Series.
Riley is hitting .242 with 17 home runs and a .798 OPS on the season. The fact that his OPS remains that high despite his .160 batting average over his last 24 games is somewhat astounding, showing just how much power he brings to the lineup when he is going. However, Riley’s last multi-hit game came on June 29th. He has some work to do to give the Braves a reason to keep him on the roster when they go back to a 25-man in October.