Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Austin Riley the Latest Braves Prospect To Make Instant Impact

Braves rookie Austin Riley is the most recent of the Uber-Prospects to make their way to Atlanta this season and he's already off to a fast start.

Riley joins Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson to form a young core of players to fill out the Braves lineup, along with franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman. Pairing this lineup with a young pitching rotation featuring Mike Soroka, Max Fried and 2018 all-star Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves present and future have fans optimistic of a run similar to their heyday through the ‘90s.

Should fantasy owners be equally optimistic? Let's take a deep dive into the latest rookie phenom to hit the big stage.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


A Rising Star

Riley entered 2019 as the 38th-ranked prospect overall and fourth in the Atlanta system according to MLB Pipeline. After being drafted 41st overall in 2015 out of high school, the Mississippi native has seen his star rise each year as he has answered questions about his skill set along the way. Riley was drafted as a third baseman by the Braves, though many teams saw more potential in him as a pitcher. Atlanta committed to him as a position player due to his prodigious raw power, graded a 70 by Baseball America on the 20-80 scale, and arm strength at third base. The power was shown immediately as Riley hit 20 home runs in each of his first two years of full-season minor league baseball and followed that up with 19 last season in an injury-shortened season at Triple-A.

Riley has always shown a lot of swing-and-miss in his profile, striking out in just over 25% of his plate appearances across four-plus seasons in the minor leagues. This fits the profile of the modern-day power hitter that pairs high strikeout rates with big home run totals. A flaw in Riley’s offensive ability has been his lack of elite-level bat speed that has limited his capability to handle high-velocity fastballs. The Braves have worked with their farmhand to alter his hand position and change how he loads his swing in order to start his bat a little quicker and allow him to get to high-speed pitches.

As his career continues, it will be of particular interest to see how Riley adjusts to Major League pitching, especially first-class fastballs as he will face off with pitchers such as Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom early and often as he makes his way through the NL East. As Riley just turned 22 on April 2 of this year, he’s been younger than his competition at every level and has shown the ability to adjust at each stop. I would not bet against his chances of doing the same now that he has reached the big leagues.


Getting The Call

Riley’s promotion has had Braves fans and fantasy owners chomping at the bit since the beginning of the season and the calls only got louder as Riley clubbed 13 home runs in 18 games leading up to his big league debut. Riley has slotted right in the middle of the Braves productive lineup, hitting either fifth or sixth in each of his five starts.

The power we saw in the minor leagues has continued in Atlanta. In five starts, 19 plate appearances, Riley has three extra-base hits, two home runs and one double. In the small sample, Riley’s average exit velocity has been 93.3 mph which would rank him in the top-10 among all big leaguers if he had enough batted balls to qualify. To expound on this, Riley has put 13 balls into play and has barreled three of those, according to Statcast. When you consider the praise for raw power that has followed him since he was drafted in 2015, you can expect Riley to continue to barrel the baseball and post big power numbers the rest of the year.


2019 Outlook

Riley’s outlook for the remainder of 2019 is currently a bit unclear, as his call-up came due to an injury to everyday center fielder Ender Inciarte. Inciarte is not expected to miss extended time which will lead the Braves to have to make a decision upon his return. Riley can force their hand by continuing to produce at the plate while given the opportunity.

It is clear the Braves are a better offensive team with Riley in the lineup as they have scored 32 runs in the five games since his emergence in Atlanta. The natural third baseman played only four games in left field in Triple-A before being called up and playing there in four of his first five games with the Braves. This diversity should allow Riley to stay in the lineup every day as long as his bat justifies doing so.

For the remainder of the season, you can expect some regression from his current hot streak, but Riley will continue to be a productive fantasy player as long as the playing time is there. A 20-home run season is not out of the question and RBI opportunities will be aplenty for anyone hitting in the middle of the Atlanta order. If he’s still available in your league, he should be added no matter the format. For those lucky enough to have grabbed him, he should be held, as the return at this point would likely not give you equal value this early in his debut season.


Dynasty Value

A long-term outlook for Riley will be as a player that posts a batting average in the .250s with 25-30 HR power and a ceiling of even more. On a recent television broadcast, Atlanta legend Chipper Jones laid a Troy Glaus comparison on the young prospect and that seems to be a fair projection. Defensively, third base seems to be the future home for Riley as Josh Donaldson is only on a one-year contract with the club. Dynasty league owners can pencil Riley in as their third baseman for the next handful of years as well, with outfield eligibility an added bonus.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

More Recent Articles


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs is in the books, and hopefully you're still writing another chapter in it. Week 14 was absolutely brutal from an injury perspective, with several big name players getting carted off the field and burying multitudes of fantasy teams in the process. Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley, Devante Parker, Alshon... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 15 Le'Veon Bell (flu) is back at practice and should return for TNF. Bilal Powell (ankle, flu) is likely... Read More

Week 14 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 14, the quarterback position was littered with surprises. Drew Brees dropped over 40 fantasy points on a 49ers Defense that's given up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and Jameis Winston hung 456 yards and 5 touchdowns on a Colts Defense that's been solid against the pass all year. Mitch... Read More

The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 15)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More

Week 15-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Still doing things a little differently this week--for those of you who are still alive. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Week 15 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 15 is here and for those of you that won the first week of your fantasy playoffs, congratulations. If you had a bye week, good luck to you this week. Kicker lives still matter, and three different kickers had 15 or more points last week. Three different kickers outscored Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick... Read More

FAAB Bidding - Week 15 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More

Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

You have to love fantasy football. You have to, otherwise you would have given up by now. In a week that most likely represented the first matchup of the fantasy playoffs or a must-win in some form for the vast majority of players, we were treated to the following: Alvin Kamara netting three fantasy points,... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

It is almost inconceivable that we are progressing into the second week of fantasy postseason matchups. Congratulations to those of you whose teams are still competing in the playoffs. Your meticulous planning during the draft process and the regular season has been rewarded with an opportunity to win your leagues' championships. This critical week provides the opportunity to... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

Week 15 is upon us, which means that even the holdovers who play in leagues with four team playoffs and no byes are now in fantasy playoff mode. This is it: the home stretch. Are there any wide receivers left on the waiver wire who can help you in the playoffs? Let's look at some... Read More

Week 15 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

If your fantasy football season is over, either because you did not make your league’s playoffs or because you have had enough of failing in DFS contests, then this column is not for you. Congratulations if you HAVE qualified for your fantasy league’s playoffs! To reach the postseason you must have received some decent play... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs in almost in the books, and if you're fortunate enough to have advanced then it's already time to start thinking about Week 15 lineups, especially for those who stream quarterbacks. Luckily, there are plenty of viable options available as eliminated owners have stopped making moves, and if you... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 15 Lightning Round

An injury-laden Week 14 decided many matchups, with several big names going down in a Red Wedding-esque affair. Not only was Josh Jacobs was a late inactive, but Jared Cook, Devante Parker, Albert Wilson all left with concussions, Mike Evans pulled up with a hamstring injury, Calvin Ridley and Ryan Griffin hurt their ankles, Derrius... Read More

Monday Night Fantasy Football Starts/Sits - Week 14

Finally, we had a good fantasy matchup last week. And now, as punishment, we get this. The Eagles against the Giants is a good rivalry game. But for fantasy? Not so much. Even key players Saquon Barkley and Carson Wentz have been severely disappointing in 2019. The game is not going to be something to... Read More

Week 14 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 14... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More