It’s a stunning out-of-the-ordinary development that will sustain the franchise column for the long term. The agreement eliminates the 25-year-old’s last three seasons of refereeing eligibility and extends the club’s window of control by up to eight years. He locked it in Atlanta for nearly his entire presidency, with Riley not hitting free agency until after campaigning at the age of 35 at the earliest.
A former supplement pick in the first round, Riley quickly blossomed into one of the best prospects in the organization. He reached the majors not long after his 22nd birthday in 2019. Riley had his ups and downs in the first two seasons of his big football career, particularly when he came out in more than 36% of his appearances at the top. Atlanta stuck with him despite that early inconsistency, however, and they’ve both been rewarded since Riley broke out last year.
Riley appeared in 160 games last season, executing 33 times at home with a .303/.367/.531 streak. This marks his longest run so far, but this sign won’t remain his personal best for much longer. He’s already connected on 29 Homers in 436 board appearances this season, and he’s made .301/.360/.604 total. Riley’s pure streak didn’t change much from 2021 to ’22, but his slight improvement in bottom line scores comes at a time when attacking has waned at the league level this year. Measuring WRC+, Riley’s offensive output jumped from an already excellent 35 points above average to 63 points above average.
Among the qualified hitters, only Jordan AlvarezAnd the Aaron JudgeAnd the Paul GoldschmidtAnd the Raphael Devers And the Mike Trout You have the best WRC+ of the season from Riley. This is enhanced by the ball hit metrics rather than by placing Riley among the game’s elite bats. His average exit speed of 93.7 mph is more than five mph higher than the league average. His hard touch rate of 55.9% is also among the best in the league, as is his average of 17.6% per barrel. Simply put, few hitters hit the ball as hard as Riley often hits.
Of course, Riley’s strength was never in doubt. His problem earlier in his career was with frequent contact, but the Mississippi native has made incredible strides in this regard. After making contact in only 63% of his swings as a starter, Riley has had the ball about 73% of the time in each of the last three seasons. This is not great, but it is more than enough for the player to produce his strength. Riley still has an aggressive approach and gets out of the strike zone reasonably well, but his excellent volleyball results make up for what may always be a little below average walking rate.
Back in early 2021, Riley has a 302/.364/.560 slash in just under 1,100 panel appearances. He looks like a well-meaning footballer, and the Braves would surely be happy to lock him up in the middle of the squad for the next decade. Riley was a Silver Slugger and finished seventh in last year’s NL MVP vote, taking home the first All-Star awards the club has envisioned this season.
The brave have now committed 75% of their land for the long term. Atlanta occurred Matt Olson to an eight-year deal worth $168 million within days of getting him from athletics in spring training. They had before Ozzy Albis Signed at a reasonable cost until 2025 (with club options for 2026 and 27). to leave Dansby Swanson As the only member of the Atlanta Stadium who is not under contract for the foreseeable future, the short suspension is set to hit free agency at the end of this year.
More is coming.