Braves' Riley breaks out the power

No. 38 overall prospect belts first Grapefruit League homer

Austin Riley slugged 71 homers in his first four professional seasons, including 19 across three levels in 2018. (John Raoux/AP)

By MiLB.com Staff | March 20, 2019 1:39 AM

Austin Riley finally went deep.

After drilling 19-plus homers each of the past three seasons, MLB.com's No. 38 overall prospect left the yard for this first time this spring. Riley added a double and another run scored as the Braves fell, 3-2, to the Nationals in Grapefruit League action Tuesday.

Riley notched Atlanta's first hit with a two-bagger to left field with one out in the third inning. Two frames later, the Braves' No. 5 prospect ripped a solo shot to right-center. Both knocks came off veteran righty Anibal Sanchez.

Although Riley possesses 60-grade power, he had only collected one extra-base hit in his first 43 at-bats this spring. The 6-foot-3 right-hander is batting .267/.327/.378 with eight runs, two RBIs, three walks and 12 strikeouts in 18 games at big league camp. With a plus arm, Riley -- who turns 22 on April 2 -- has played most of the campaign at third, but has spent some time as first as he seeks a ticket to the Majors.

Riley shook off a knee injury last June to finish his fourth pro campaign with a .294/.360/.522 slash line with 19 homers and 70 RBIs in 108 games across Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, including a rehab stint with the Rookie-level Braves.

No. 4 overall prospect Victor Robles and No. 25 Carter Kieboom singled for the Nationals.

In other spring action:

Reds 6, White Sox 5

Cincinnati's top prospect Nick Senzel continued his stellar spring, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and scoring three times, including the game-tying run in the ninth. The No. 6 overall prospect is hitting .314/.306/.763 and is primed for a probable callup to The Show. Senzel's second double knocked Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez out of the game as the White Sox summoned No. 25 prospect Caleb Frare, who retired the only batter he faced. Box score

Cubs (ss) 6, Mariners 4

Chicago's No. 5 prospect Cole Roederer homered in the eighth in his first Cactus League at-bat. Seattle's No. 7 prospect Kyle Lewis finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The 23-year-old outfielder doubled in the fourth and ripped a solo shot off Carl Edwards Jr. in the sixth, his third home run of the spring. Cal Raleigh (No. 13) knocked a single in his only at-bat. Wyatt Mills (No. 16) allowed a run on one hit with a strikeout in the fifth. Box score

Royals 8, Cubs (ss) 6

Kansas City's No. 8 prospect Nicky Lopez singled in his lone at-bat, raising his spring average to a crisp .333. Chicago's top and MLB.com's No. 93 overall prospect Miguel Amaya got his first hit of the spring -- an RBI single in the seventh -- and later walked in the ninth. Trent Giambrone (No. 20) also got a hit for the Cubs, raising his average to .355. Box score

Offseason MiLB include

Angels 9, Rockies 7

Los Angeles' No. 28 prospect Brennon Lund tripled and scored in the fourth after the ball deflected off the glove of Colorado center fielder Ian Desmond. Two-way player Jared Walsh (No. 21) tossed 1 2/3 innings for the Halos, allowing a run on two hits and striking out one. Box score

Rangers 3, Brewers 2

Milwaukee's No. 8 prospect Lucas Erceg pinch-ran for Travis Shaw in the sixth and scored on Jesus Aguilar's double. The third baseman has crossed the plate seven times this spring. The top two Brewers prospects Keston Hiura and Corey Ray both went 0-for-1. Box score

Indians 4, Dodgers 2

Cleveland's No. 29 prospect Eric Haase hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh, then singled and scored an insurance run in the ninth. The 26-year-old is batting .389 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 18 Cactus League at-bats. Box score

Padres 4, D-backs 3

The No. 2 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. singled and scored on a single by Hunter Renfroe in the win. Box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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