Braves rookie outfielder Austin Riley swung for the fences again on Saturday, boosting the club to a 6-4 lead over the Tigers with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth inning. The home run — a 427-footer that sailed over the bullpen and into the left field stands — not only marked Riley’s eighth homer of the year, but placed him in a unique subset of rookie hitters, too.
Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Riley is just the fourth MLB hitter to notch eight or more home runs through his first 16 career games. Following Saturday’s feat, he joined the likes of former rookies Carlos Delgado (eight home runs in 13 games), Trevor Story (eight homers in 13 games), and Rhys Hoskins (nine homers in 16 games).
Riley, 22, was ranked fourth in the Braves’ system (and no. 34 overall) by MLB Pipeline at the start of the 2019 season. So far, he’s lived up to his billing, slashing a comfortable .349/.388/.762 with 10 extra-base hits, 22 RBI (tied for most by any player in their first 16 career games), and a 1.150 OPS through 67 plate appearances.
Thanks to his timely home run, the Braves improved their record with a 10-5 win over the Tigers. At 22-33, they currently trail the Phillies by 2.5 games for first place in the NL East.