There never was much doubt, but Major League Baseball made it official Tuesday announcing that Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley is the NL’s Player of the Month for July. Riley turned in a historic performance breaking the franchise record previously held by Hank Aaron with 26 extra-base hits for the month.
Riley hit .423/.459/.885 for the month with 15 doubles and 11 home runs. The only major league player with more homers in July was the Yankees Aaron Judge who had 13. Riley’s 1.344 OPS in July is the best mark since Chipper Jones put up a 1.470 OPS in July 1999. Chipper went on to win the MVP award and Riley has to be part of that conversation as well now.
Riley is hitting .301/.360/.604 with 29 home runs and a 163 wRC+. He enters play Monday tied for fifth in the National League with 4.6 fWAR. His 163 wRC+ mark is second trailing only St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. With his next homer, Riley will become the first Braves player to hit 30 homers in back-to-back seasons since Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones.
When Riley put together a breakout season in 2021, many questioned whether he would be able to duplicate it. He hasn’t just duplicated it, he’s been even better.
Strider gives the Braves their second straight Rookie of the Month winner following Michael Harris in June. Strider has put together a banner season and has helped solidify Atlanta’s rotation. He made five starts in July and put up a 2.70 ERA and a 2.14 FIP to go along with 41 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.