Going into the 2018 season, the Atlanta Braves were considered to be entering a rebuild phase. Many of their coveted veterans had signed or been traded elsewhere, and first baseman Freddie Freeman was one of the only recognizable names on the depth chart. However, to the surprise of many, the Braves accelerated their rebuild, and actually earned a playoff spot eventually losing to the World Series runner ups, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves called up sensational rookies such as Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, along with a very young but exciting rotation featuring Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, and Max Fried.
The 2019 season brought along higher expectations, as the Braves were now considered contenders and playoff favorites. NL East foes in the Nationals and Mets made notable additions, along with the Phillies large signings of JT Realmuto and Bryce Harper.
So far, the Braves have picked up where they have left off. At the moment they are 30-24, and 1.5 behind the division leading Phillies. Their pitching staff has been consistent, and many of the rookies from last year have continued to produce at a high level.
This past week, the Braves have called up another exciting prospect in Austin Riley. Riley came up as a third baseman in the Braves system, but the organization valued his bat so much, they had him make a few starts in the outfield before calling up up to fill in for the injured Ender Inciarte.
Riley is off to a hot start to his major league career. In his limited plate appearances, he has hit .333/.373/.688, smacking five home runs with 14 RBIs.