Austin Riley Signs Contract Extension

Austin Riley
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The Atlanta Braves have given third baseman Austin Riley a 10-year, $212 million contract extension, according to David O’Brien on Twitter.

Riley, 25, is having a career year and is coming off of one of the biggest months in the history of baseball. The deal is the largest ever given to a Brave. The previous holder, Matt Olson, is currently in year one of an eight-year, $168 million deal. These two deals entrench the corners of the Braves infield for the majority of the next decade. Once more, general manager Alex Anthopolous has made a fairly significant splash around the trade deadline. Only this time, the splash was purely internal.

The Career of Austin Riley

Austin Riley was taken by the Braves with the 41st overall pick in the 2015 Draft. He quickly impressed, hitting .304 with 12 homers in his first 60 professional games. In 2016, he made the jump to Single-A Rome, where his power overtook his contact. Still, he managed a .274 average while hitting 20 homers. He had a similar year in 2017 between Single-A Advanced Florida and Double-A Mississippi (.275 avg, 20 homers). In 2018, he hit .294 with 19 homers while bouncing around the Braves minor league system. After hitting 15 homers in only 47 games in 2019, Austin Riley got the call to the big leagues.

He roared onto the scene, hitting a home run in his first game against the St. Louis Cardinals. During his first month, he slashed .356/.397/.746 with seven homers and a 1.143 OPS. Ultimately, he fell off of this torrid pace and remained cold through the rest of the season. The pandemic-shortened 2020 was no different, as his bat continued to lie dormant. Then, in 2021, he had an awakening. He finished seventh in MVP voting and hit .303 with 33 homers and 107 RBI. Currently, he is a front runner in the 2022 MVP race. He’s hitting .301 with 29 homers and leads the league in slugging (.604) and total bases (239).

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Players mentioned:

Austin Riley, Matt Olson