Normally, baseball news doesn’t break at 1 AM local time. However, there are a few times where you have to make an exception. This time is one of them, as one of the most anticipated prospect arrivals for an organization that was/is loaded with top prospects is going to happen later today.
According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, the Braves have brought Austin Riley to Atlanta and he could be called up in time for Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals.
After Ender Inciarte left Tuesday’s game with a back ailment, the rumor mill once again began to spin in relation to Austin Riley’s imminent call-up. The pragmatic wing of the fan base was thinking that if Inciarte had to sit out for a while, then the Braves would call up Adam Duvall and give him another shot in a Braves uniform.
However, it is extremely difficult to ignore what Austin Riley has been doing at the Triple-A level this season. He currently has an OPS of 1.057 with 15 home runs through 37 games. Most of those home runs have been mammoth blows that have shown off the light-tower power that he has become infamous for.
Have watched 40 times.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 1, 2019
A 492-foot homer!?#Braves prospect Austin Riley absolutely murdered this ball.
Things to watch:
Did the ball clear the scoreboard?
The catcher's reaction
The umpire's reaction
The fans' reaction pic.twitter.com/v6iH8yNSlj
Simply put, Austin Riley has very little to prove at the Triple-A level and it was only a matter of time before a spot opened up for him to fill in the bigs. The Braves also had him playing in the outfield for Gwinnett (similar to how they gave him a look in the outfield during spring training), so they were clearly grooming him for something important. It appears that the time has come and it’s time for him to put his power on display for the big-league Braves.
Austin Riley is at it again! The #Braves' No. 4 prospect hit his 13th homer for @GoStripers and has gone yard three times over the past three games.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 10, 2019
Here's how @Braves prospects are performing tonight: https://t.co/H9gDAitkxV pic.twitter.com/l2kqVo6f9M
Now, David O’Brien made an important caveat in that he never explicitly said that Riley was getting called up. Instead, the Braves have brought him to Atlanta and this all hinges on the state of Ender Inciarte’s back. If he’s in bad shape and has to do a stint on the IL, then we know who’s going to be replacing him. If not, then there will be some questions as to how and if the Braves will incorporate Austin Riley into the major league roster. (UPDATE: This tweet from Grant McAuley explains it.)
Shortly after this was initially posted, DOB and Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution both confirmed that the Braves have brought him to Atlanta to put him on the roster, so we will see him in a Braves uniform tomorrow. The Braves clearly feel that Austin Riley is ready for The Show and that his time has come.