Despite the All-Star campaign that finished with a sixth-place finish in the MVP voting last season, Austin Riley still hasn’t realized his full potential, says Chipper Jones.
“I still think there’s more in the tank, I really do,” Jones said. “I don’t think he’s hit his ceiling yet. The main thing that I like is the consistency. He goes to the post every single day, is out there at third base, is hitting third in the lineup, and is looked upon to knock in 100 (runs) and hit 30 (home runs) and score 100 (runs) and play good defense. He’s done that.”
The lumbering righty has turned into one of the most feared hitters in baseball after breaking out in 2021. During the Braves World Series campaign, Riley accrued 4.7 fWAR and posted a .303/.367/.531 slash line but followed it up with an even more impressive performance in 2022.
On the season, Austin Riley put up a career-best 5.5 fWAR, ranking fourth at his position in that metric and wRC+ while smashing 38 home runs, leading all third basemen. Around when he signed his 10-year extension, Riley hit an unbelievable 423/.459/.885 with a 270 wRC+ over the course of 25 games, leading to NL Player of the Month honors.
Riley isn’t satisfied, though; he’s refining his swing despite loads of success with the Braves, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When he’s hitting, he wants to keep his front elbow bent as he works through the strike zone, instead of having it extended all the way out,” Justin Toscano said about Riley. “When I’m doing that,” Riley said, “I’m at my best.”
Chipper Jones is probably right. The Mississippi good ‘ole boy isn’t the most experienced major leaguer; just imagine when his mental capabilities reach his physical ones.
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