Atlanta Braves Lock-up 3B Austin Riley With 10-year Deal:

Yesterday afternoon, Braves All-Star third baseman, Austin Riley, signed a 10-year, $212 million dollar deal with a $20 million option for the 2033 season.

This deal is huge! Not only is Austin Riley very deserving of this deal, but it means that the Braves will have him for a significant amount, if not all, of this young slugger’s career.

Austin Riley has certainly proved himself over the past two seasons with the Braves. When he debuted in 2019, he came up with some serious spark and lots of power, but then he cooled off and slumped for most of the remainder of that season. In 2020, he was very streaky and inconsistent at the plate. However, in 2021, we saw a drastic change in Riley. His defense was impeccable, and he was hitting consistently at the plate day in and day out. The same is true of him in 2022 – except better! Austin Riley has come through big for Atlanta in stressful, demanding circumstances. He has done this both offensively and defensively.

Overall, Austin Riley is a key player on this Atlanta Braves team and it will be very comforting and exciting to watch him play third base for the Braves in these next 10 years.

While this is a very big and exciting deal that I do believe needed to get done, it has left me with some looming thoughts regarding the offseason to come.

Among others, Dansby Swanson and Max Fried will both be free agents after the 2022 season is complete. These two are both key components of this Braves team. Both were All-Stars this year alongside Austin Riley!

Fried could easily be called Mr. Consistent in the starting rotation, and Dansby has shown out defensively this year and has been a very consistent second place hitter for the Braves. It is safe to say the Atlanta Braves would not be the same without Max Fried and Dansby Swanson.

Why I bring them up concerning Austin Riley’s deal is because $212 million is a lot of money. You have to keep in mind that money can’t just appear in organizations over night to pay players. And with the Braves signing Riley to this large deal, it leaves me wondering how the Braves are going to pay players like Dansby Swanson and Max Fried who both want to be Braves for the long run.

I’m sure that Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves general manager, could give Swanson and Fried good deals for maybe three or four years, but I’m not sure if he could sign them to a long-term deal this off season. It will ultimately depend on how much money these players want and the amount of money the Braves front staff will be willing to pay.

But as of right now, I know I don’t want to worry about what could happen too much. The Braves are on a great run right now and are coming into a HUGE series with the New York Mets this weekend. And it is also comforting to know that we don’t have to worry about where Austin Riley would end up after the end of this season, because he is going to be Atlanta Braves’ third baseman for a long time.


Braves vs. Pirates Series Wrap

What a series! The Braves may not have swept the Pirates, but they definitely broke out offensively and were able to score multiple runs an inning, all through the lineup. Starting pitching also continued to go well for the Braves, and in the last three games of the series, the bullpen was much better than we’ve seen.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Wil Crowe, Braves lost 6-4

Drew Smyly’s start for the Braves started out looking like it was going to be a rough one, but he turned that around and pitched a good quality six innings for the Braves. He allowed six hits, three runs, only one walk, and he had seven strikeouts. Although the three runs he gave up were all via home run, it was nice to see Smyly be able to hold the score for the Pirates at 3 and give his team a chance to come back.

The Braves tried hard for the comeback! In the bottom of the second inning, William Contreras hit a three run homer to left field, giving the Braves the lead at 3-2. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, (after the Pitsburg Pirates scored their third run) Dansby Swanson hit a two run bomb to left field, making it 4-3 Braves.

Sean Newcomb started the seventh inning for the Braves. He got two outs in his appearance, but he also surrendered the lead and made it a tied ballgame. The game remained tied and went into extra innings.

Jacob Webb came on to pitch the top of the tenth inning. This was his first appearance on the mound for the Atlanta Braves since he hit Mets’ player Kevin Pillar in the face on May 17. You could tell that Webb was still uncomfortable on the mound, and he did not pitch inside to the Pirates players at all. He left everything over the plate and the Pirates didn’t miss a pitch. Webb gave up a lead off single and then an RBI single to Kevin Newman to make it 5-4 Pirates on top. He then got a forceout that advanced Newman to third, and then Grant Dayton came on in relief of Webb. He gave up a sac fly to make it 6-4 Pirates.

The Braves had no luck in the bottom of the ninth inning to make a comeback.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Tyler Anderson, Braves won 20-1

Hehe. This was certainly a super fun game to watch. I mean, it’s not every day the Braves score 20 runs in a game, right?! The Braves scored early in this game, and didn’t stop scoring until it was over.

Ian Anderson did a fantastic job pitching for the Braves in this game. He went six innings, allowed six hits, gave up zero runs, and ZERO walks. Not to mention he also had six strikeouts. It was nice to see Anderson be able to have command over his ball-to-strike ratio and not give up any walks. That is a huge component to have from your starting pitcher. Free baserunners pretty much always come around and score, and those hurt your team the worst. But Anderson didn’t not pitch himself into any trouble and had a great outing.

In the bottom of the first inning, Ozzie Albies had an RBI double, his thirteenth of the season, which scored Ronald Acuña Jr. and gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. After my man Ozzie got the scoring started, the Braves they were on fire offensively!

In the bottom of the second inning, Dansby Swanson led off with a double, followed by a walk to Kevan Smith, who was making his Atlanta Braves’ debut as catcher. That walk was followed by a single to Guillermo Heredia to load the bases. After Ian Anderson struck out, Ronald Acuña Jr was in the batter’s box for the Braves. After working a full count, Acuña got a pitch off the plate and drove it into the seats of the Chop House for a grand slam. The Braves extended their lead to 5-0. Acuña once again added onto the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sac fly that scored Guillermo Heredia making it 6-0, all Braves.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ozuna led off with a four pitch walk. Ozzie Albies was up to bat, and after working a 2-1 count, Ozzie hit a home run to left center field making it 8-0 Braves. Yay! After Ozzie had gotten his Panda hug in the dugout, Austin Riley sent a bomb out of the ballpark for a solo home run making it 9-0. That was just the second time the Atlanta Braves had gone back-to-back with home runs all season.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves hit yet another home run. This one was by Marcell Ozuna. He hit it to left field and extended the lead to 10-0, all Braves. The very next inning, the Braves once again added on. Austin Riley hit another home run and then following his homer, Dansby Swanson hit one out of the park. That made it 12-0 Braves and the third time the Braves had hit back-to-back homers this season… the second of that night!

As if the Braves hadn’t scored enough… they added on big time to their already huge lead in the bottom of the eighth. Freddie Freeman led the inning off with a walk. Ozuna followed his walk with a double, and then Ozzie had a walk. The bases were loaded with no one out. Riley had a sac fly to score Freeman and make it 13-0. Swanson came up to bat and he had a walk. Then the Braves catcher Kevan Smith, had an RBI single that score Ozuna, making it 14-0. The Braves still had the bases loaded. Heredia was up to bat next and he had another RBI single making it 15-0 Braves. The Braves played their other baserunner station to station, so they still had the bases loaded with one out.

Ehire Adrianza came on to pinch-hit for Josh Tomlin, who pitched two scoreless innings for the Braves in relief of Anderson. On the FIRST PITCH he saw Adrianza hit a GRAND SLAM into the Chop House making it 19-0 Braves. Following the grand slam, Acuña struck out then Freeman had a double and Ozuna scored him with another double making it 20-0 Braves. Wow!

It would’ve been amazing for the Braves to have shut out the Pirates 20-0. Jacob Webb pitched the ninth inning for the Braves. He was still looking for a bounce-back start after hitting Kevin Pillar of the Mets in the face on May 17. He got the first guy out with no problem, but then Webb allowed a walk to Erik Gonzalez. It was the only walk a Braves pitcher gave to the Pirates in the entire game. It would’ve been so great to see the Braves pitching staff go an entire game without giving up a walk, but that wasn’t meant to be. After the walk, Webb gave up a single to Ben Gamel. Gonzalez advanced to third base on a throwing error by Webb. He then got a strikeout of Cole Tucker, and then gave up a RBI single to Will Craig making the score 20-1. Webb got the final out of the inning without giving up anymore runs. The one run that the Pirates score was the walk that Jacob Webb gave up… walks always come back to haunt a pitcher.

Following that bullpen appearance, Jacob Webb was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett. I think that was a smart move for the Braves to make, and I personally thing that the Atlanta Braves coaching staff should have made that move a long time ago.

Game Three: Bryse Wilson vs. Mitch Keller, Braves won 6-1

Most of the time after a team has a blow out game, they don’t always score a lot of runs or win the next game. The Braves however took the momentum of the night before and carried it into this game.

Bryse Wilson pitched very well for the Braves. He went 6.2 innings allowing only five hits, one run, two walks, and he struck out four Pittsburgh batters. Wilson never really struggled in this outing. He had a few baserunners scattered here and there and gave up a solo home run to Michael Perez in the top of the third, but that was it.

The Braves started the scoring early. In the Bottom of the first inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. led the game off with a first pitch solo home run giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. It’s impressive to see Acuña be able to hit a homer on the first pitch, especially with how far he can hit them! The Braves added onto their lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Austin Riley that scored Freddie Freeman and made it 2-0 Braves. In the bottom of the third inning, Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ender Inciarte, making it 3-0 Braves still on top.

Braves were up 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freeman led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Marcell Ozuna followed him with a flyout, and that brought Ozzie Albies up to the plate. (He was hitting from the left side.) On the first pitch he saw, he hit a BOMB into the seats in right center field for a two-run homer making it 5-1 Braves. And then, as if one home run wasn’t enough, Ozzie hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning from the right side of the plate, making it 6-1 Braves.

Ozzie may be little, but he has gigantic power! He really showed that with those two home runs. He definitely powered the Braves, along with good pitching, into another Braves win against the Pirates.

Game Four: Max Fried vs. JT Brubaker, Braves won 7-1

Max Fried got off to a shaky start for the Braves but settled down and pitched a great game. He went seven innings allowing only four hits, one run, three walks, and had two strikeouts.

The one run that Fried gave up was on an RBI double by Bryan Reynolds. That gave them a 1-0 lead, but Max was able to stop the Pirates there and give his Braves a chance to score.

The Atlanta Braves offense did just that. Acuña grounded out, and Freeman struck out to start off the inning. The Braves now had two outs, Ozuna had a single to keep the Braves alive in the inning. Ozzie followed Ozuna with an in-field single. Austin Riley came up to bat and he turned the game around for Atlanta with a three run home run. Whew! This kid’s got some home run power.

Austin Riley added onto the Braves lead in the bottom of the third with another home run! This one was a two-run shot, making it 5-1 Braves. The Braves scored one more time in the bottom of the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Dansby Swanson, making it 7-1 Braves. That was the final score of the game.

One fun fact about all three home runs in game four of the series was that Ozzie was on base for all of them! He had a single in the first, was hit by a pitch in the third, and had another single in the bottom of the sixth. Albies really started to come to life in this series, and I’m sure it has made him and the coaching staff happy. It’s made me happy for sure!

My Top Ten Braves Games of 2019

With the start of the regular baseball season postponed due to COVID-19 and there are currently no games being played, I thought that I would share my top ten games of 2019.

10. July 27th- Braves vs Phillies

Let’s face it, this games was fun to watch! Not only was it was a wild offensive win for the Braves, it was also a special return to the big leagues for Adam Duvall. With a final score of 15-7, the Braves bats were not shy of anything. They hit a total of four home runs by Ronald Acuña Jr., Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall, and Ozzie Albies who hit a gran slam in the third. Max Fried was pitching for the Braves, and he went a total of 5.1 innings, giving up 5 runs and three walks.

9. June 14th- Braves vs Phillies

This game was suspenseful. With the Phillies taking advantage of Max Fried, they jumped out on the Braves with a 5-1 lead in five innings, hitting two home runs (by Bryce Harper and Scott Kingery). It didn’t look good for the Braves, but the players never gave up. With their late inning magic, the Braves managed to score two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Then in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Braves still down 8-6, Dansby Swanson leads off with a single, followed by a walk to Markakis, then a RBI double out of Riley. It was the up to Brian McCann. After two quick swinging strikes from McCann, he got one in the bottom-of-the-zone and didn’t miss it. Gapping the ball between the Phillies outfielders, McCann led the Braves to a 9-8 victory with a two run single. This game just shows how much perseverance the Braves have — no matter the situation, they never give up!

8. August 7-Braves vs Twins

With the Braves coming off of a big offensive win the night before against the Twins, they carried their momentum to this game. Winning 12-7, the Braves showed major offensive talent hitting a total of four home runs, two of which were hit by Ozzie Albies (my favorite player)! Max Fried once again showed dominance on the mound, striking out ten Twins hitters — seven of which came against the first nine batters he faced keeping the Twins hitless through five innings. The Braves bats really came alive in this game! Ozzie Albies and Charlie Culberson had four hits in five tries, and Freddie Freeman had three hits in five tries. This game shows how much power the Braves have.

7. April 7th -Braves vs Marlins

Wrapping us the Braves opening home stand of 2019, to me, this was the perfect game. Sean Newcomb was the staring pitcher for the Braves and pitched well through seven innings surrendering two runs and four hits to the Marlin batters. The Braves hit two home runs, one from Freddie Freeman (his first home run of 2019) and the other from Dansby Swanson. In the ninth inning the Braves were up 3-2 but, our closer Ardoys Vizcaíno gave up a home run to Marlins left-fielder Curtis Granderson, and we were tied. Then in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded nobody out, it was up to Dansby Swanson. Dansby getting ahead in the count, 2-0 got a pitch to hit and didn’t miss it. Hitting the ball into left field, Dansby walked the Braves off 4-3 with a RBI double.

6. August 18th- Braves vs Dodgers

After the Braves came off of a big win against the Dodgers’ pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu the night before, the Braves didn’t disappoint in this game. Falling behind 3-0 on a home run by Cody Bellinger in the first inning, things did not look good for the Braves. But being the relentless team that they are, the Braves scored one in the fourth thanks to Adeiny Hechavarria’s booming double off the right field wall to score Matt Joyce. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, bases lodaded, Rafael Ortega did something magical! In a 1-2 count he got all over a pitch right down the middle. This led to a grand slam off of Dustin May giving the Braves a 5-3 lead to help them win the game and the series against the Dodgers.

5. June 12th- Braves vs Pirates

This game was a long one. With Mike Soroka on the mound for the Braves, we saw something that rarely happens to him, he gave up five runs and ten hits. After a long rain delay, the Pirates got the lead in the ninth on a solo home run by Josh Bell. That left the game in the hands of Austin Riley who smashed a solo home run to center to tie the game. Going into extra innings, in the eleventh, after Ausitn Riley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning for the Braves, Ozzie Albies hit a walk-off triple to center to give the Braves the win and sole possession of first place in the National League East! But, what might have been the very best part of that game (besides the win) was Ronald Acuña Jr. dousing Ozzie Albies twice in his interview!

4. August 2nd- Braves vs Reds

If you keep track of scores, you might be wondering why this is one of my to ten games given the fact that we lost 5-2. It was a special game for me, it was the first Atlanta Braves game that I went to. Although the Braves did loose, I got to witness two Atlanta Braves home runs. One by Austin Riley and the other by Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña, whose homer went 463 ft! This game will forever have a special place in my love of baseball, not because of the home runs, but because it was the first game I ever got to experiece.

3. August 30th- Braves vs White Sox

This game is also a very special one for me, it was the second Atlanta Braves game that I got to go to! Max Fried was the pitcher for that game, and he performed fantastically. He struck out a season high eleven White Sox hitters, surrendering only four hits and a walk. While the Braves did have the lead the White Sox made a game of it. In the top of the seventh inning, Welington Castillo hit a three-run homer off of Luke Jackson making the game 6-5. But the Braves, with their late inning magic got a bigger lead and won 10-7. Ozzie Albies did fantastic in this game. He went 4-5 with two singles, two doubles, an RBI, and he scored twice.

2. September 20th- Braves vs Giants

Obviously this game is in my top ten… it’s the clinch! Not only was it the clinch, but it was a very well played game on the Braves part. Winning 6-0, the Braves hit two, two-run homers, one by Acuña and the other by Brian McCann. Not to mention Mike Foltynewicz pitched very well. This game is big for every Braves fan, because, if you remember, we were picked (despite how well we did in 2018) to finish fourth in the National Lueage East. We proved them wrong!

1. October 6th- Braves vs Cardinals

This game was epic. This game perfectly describes the Braves motto, “We are Relentless.” Not only was it a postseason game, it was an amazing come-from-behind win for the Braves. With Mike Soroka and Adam Wainwright on the mound for both teams, this game was a pitching duel. The Cardinals did take advantage of Soroka in the second, scoring one run, but that wasn’t enough to pull a win. In the top of the ninth inning the Braves had to face Cardinal closer, Carlos Martínez who barely escaped a blown save in game one. Josh Donaldson started the top of the ninth inning with a double, (he was replaced by Billy Hamilton), then after two strikeouts, the Cardinals intentionally walked Brian McCann. It was up to Dansby Swanson. And boy did he did come through! The first pitch Dansby Saw, a high heater, he slashed it into left field to score Hamilton. We were tied! But we weren’t done! It was Adam Duvall’s turn. He hit a two run double to score Ortega and Swanson. We won 3-1. This game is number one for me because it shows how relentless we are in any situation, and that we are better than everyone thinks.

I hope you enjoyed my top ten and are as excited as I am waiting for the return of baseball in 2020.

The Fight For Third Base Continues

With less than three weeks until the season starts, the decision for who will be playing third base will need to be reached soon.

Will it be Camargo or Riley?

Obviously it is a tough decision for the Braves manager Brian Snitker to make with Josh Donaldson gone. Both Camargo and Riley are worthy of the everyday roll at third base, but relistically they both can’t play third base everyday unless one of them is doing so in Triple-A (Gwinnett).

The case for Camargo:

During the Spring Training games Camargo has played in, he has gone 7-for-23 with a home run, a double, and five strikeouts in nine Grapefruit games pruducing a .304 average. These numbers include his plate appearances as the designated hitter. Camargo is much leaner than he was in 2019, and after returning from Triple-A late in the season last year he had noticably improved his swing and had strengthened his patience. But, if he’s not chosen to become the Braves everyday third basemen, Johan Camargo could be put on the bench to add depth.

The case for Riley:

Like Camargo, Austin has gone 7-for-23 in nine games with two home runs, a walk, and as also produced a .304 average. Considering that Ausitn Riley struckout in 50 of his last 109 at-bats during the regular sesaon in 2019, you can tell that Riley has more patience and is laying off the slider. With just five strikouts so far this Spring Training, his patience is paying off.

Who will it be?

Both Austin and Johan are very capable and willing to play third base. But, in the end only one will get the roll. I think that it will all start to play itself out soon. As the 2020 season starts we, as fans, will better understand why Brian Snitker will choose who our 3rd baseman will be.

As for me, I think it will be Johan Camargo. I have nothing against Austin Riley, I just think that Joahn is the better choice given that he has has more experience with the Atlanta Braves as a third basemen.

But I could be wrong. The Braves could go with Austin Riley and he could do wonderful things, produce good numbers both offensively and defensively. The season will tell!