The Atlanta Braves are proving the naysayers wrong in the 2021 postseason.
After the team lost superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. for the season to an ACL injury, very few people expected the team to make the playoffs.
Well, not only did the Braves make the playoffs, but they’re two wins away from cracking the World Series.
Countless players have stepped up along the way, and Austin Riley has been one of the biggest.
The youngster is putting the league on notice in the 2021 playoffs.
He’s one of baseball’s brightest young stars, and it’s time for everyone to recognize that.
Riley Is Stealing The Show In The NLCS
The Braves currently have a 2-0 lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, but that probably wouldn’t be the case without Riley.
In Game 1 of the series, with Atlanta trailing, the 24-year-old clubbed a game-tying home run in the fourth inning.
Austin Riley RIPPED this home run to left field 🚀
Follow Dodgers-Braves live in Game 1 of the NLCS ➡️ https://t.co/02hYfrVNN5
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) October 17, 2021
Then, later in Game 1, Riley ended the night with a walk-off knock.
Austin Riley plays hero in Game 1. 💪
— theScore (@theScore) October 17, 2021
But that wasn’t enough for him.
In Game 2, with the Braves down to their final five outs, Riley smacked a game-tying RBI double to left-center.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 18, 2021
Atlanta, of course, went on to win the game and take a 2-0 series lead.
Riley seemingly loves big stages.
He constantly rises to the occasion in clutch moments.
Overall, the former first-round pick is slashing .364/.417/.682 in the 2021 playoffs.
He has recorded a hit in all six of Atlanta’s postseason games.
In 2021, Everything Has Come Together For Riley
Riley’s MLB career began in 2019.
Over the first two seasons of his career (2019 and 2020), he showed signs of promise, but ultimately, the results weren’t there yet.
That changed in the 2021 regular season.
Riley posted some absurd numbers, including a 6.1 WAR, which will likely result in some MVP votes.
He slashed .303/.367/.531, homered 33 times, doubled 33 times, and tripled once.
He also registered a 132 OPS+ and 135 wRC+.
Defensively, he flashed some leather, totaling a defensive WAR of 1.5.
Braves fans knew Riley was special after his outstanding regular season, but now that he’s proving to be an elite playoff performer, it’s time for all MLB fans to give this guy the respect he deserves.
What’s next for Riley?
Well, let’s just call it like it is: He and the Braves are just six wins away from winning it all.
Come on @Braves let’s win six more game!! Please!
— Doug Rice (@Riceman61) October 18, 2021
We can talk endlessly about how exciting Riley’s trajectory is, but there’s no need to focus on the future when he and the Braves are already on the verge of making history.
Atlanta hasn’t won a World Series since 1995.
Many of the organization’s younger fans weren’t even alive the last time the Braves won it all.
It’s time for that to change.
If Riley and the Braves continue to rise to the occasion, it’s going to be very hard to stop this team.
MLB fans should prepare for the possibility of Atlanta going the distance in 2021.
And if that happens, MLB fans should also brace themselves for something else: Riley becoming one of the biggest stars in the league.