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.
Yesterday’s news about the arrest of Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was pretty disturbing. Today’s update from Jeff Passan of ESPN is even worse.
Vázquez has been charged with solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors, and yesterday’s report said that he texted a 15-year-old girl that he would meet up with her after the season for sex. According to police, however, Vázquez had already met with a minor in an attempt to have sex. When she was 13:
Yesterday Vázquez’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, issued a statement saying “We are in the process of reviewing both the Pennsylvania and Florida charging documents, as well as the underlying facts of the matter. At this time, any comment would be premature.”
The Pennsylvania charges referenced involve an alleged statutory sexual assault of a victim who is at least 16 years old by a person who is at least 11 years older than the victim; unlawful contact with a minor; corruption of a minor by a defendant who is 18 years old or older; and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last night that the offenses allegedly occurred on Aug. 1, 2018.
Vázquez is still in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested, and is awaiting extradition to Florida. He was denied bail and was characterized by the arraigning judge as a flight risk. Likely because he is a native and citizen of a foreign country with substantial financial resources.
UPDATE: I had missed this previously, but the Pirates issued a statement about all of this yesterday afternoon: