We’ve had a rash of prospect callups recently. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Keston Hiura, Nick Senzel, Michael Chavis, Carter Kieboom, Corbin Martin, Griffin Canning, Nicky Lopez. Others. Add another one to the pile: late last night the Braves announced that the were calling up third baseman/outfielder Austin Riley.
The “outfielder” part is relatively new — Riley is a third baseman — but with Josh Donaldson in Atlanta for a year, the Braves have had him working in the outfield so he might have a path to the bigs this year. Ender Inciarte‘s massive struggles at the plate this year — he’s hitting just .218/.300/.323 — were in the process of creating that path, and his leaving last night’s game against the Cardinals with back tightness finished the job. In all likelihood Inciarte will hit the injured list, Ronald Acuña Jr. will slide over to center to replace him, and Riley will play in left.
Riley, 22, is hitting .299 and has 15 homers and 17 walks in 37 Triple-A games this year. He has massive power potential and, while he strikes out a good deal, he has lowered his K-rate in the early going so far this year. If he hits, the Braves will find a place for him even if Inciarte makes his way back relatively soon.