After causing a boatload of knee jerk reactions and being labeled a bust by some after a miserable end to 2019, Kyle Wright and Austin Riley had a lot of doubters to prove wrong. Two of the five best prospects in Atlanta’s system last season had some numbers that were tough to look at, but context is essential when examining these.
Wright: 0-3, 8.96 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 13 Walks
Riley: .226/.279/.471/.750 18 HR in 274 ABs
Wright only pitched a microscopic 19.2 innings, and Riley played through some injuries and had a learning curve after the scouting report got around on him. Even though a lot of folks were quick to give up hope on these guys, they’ve both had a very encouraging spring. Wright has only given up 2 ER in 8.1 innings of work while striking out 12 and only walking 2. His 0.84 WHIP is promising. Riley is slashing .333/.379/.630/1.009 and has clubbed two monster home runs while drawing two walks — showing his patience is improving.
Spring Training isn’t always the most reliable indicator of future performance, but I expect these guys to bounce back and make a substantial impact this year. Riley has a prime opportunity to seize the 3rd base job, and with Cole Hamels ailing, Wright’s time is now. It’s up to them to carry it over to the regular season and prove they’re the guys Atlanta thought they would be going into 2019.