The Atlanta Braves are 62-41, 21 games over .500 and just three games out of first place in the NL East.
They are on the cusp of catching the New York Mets, and even if they don’t, they will likely make the playoffs anyway.
They are an elite team, and a firm World Series candidate.
One of the reasons they are so good is third baseman Austin Riley.
He is following up his breakout 2021 with the best season of his career in 2022.
So far, he is slashing .301/.360/.604 with 29 home runs, with two full months left to play.
He could easily score his first career 40-homer campaign.
Riley has been particularly hot in July.
Riley Just Completed An Incredible Month
As the weather gets warmer, so does Riley.
“Austin Riley in July: – 2.6 fWAR, most in MLB – 267 wRC+, highest among qualified batters – .885 SLG, highest among qualified batters – 1.344 OPS, highest among qualified batters – 26 XBH, most in MLB,” MLB.com’s Sarah Langs tweeted.
Austin Riley in July:
– 2.6 fWAR, most in MLB
– 267 wRC+, highest among qualified batters
– .885 SLG, highest among qualified batters
– 1.344 OPS, highest among qualified batters
– 26 XBH, most in MLB
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 1, 2022
For reference, wRC+ evaluates offensive performance, and uses 100 as the league average value.
That means Riley, in July, produced 167 percent more than the league average, which is crazy.
Many players would dream about earning 2.6 WAR over a season: Riley did it in a month.
He hit about one extra-base hit per game in July, an incredible pace.
He is just a really talented offensive player.
As long as the Braves have Riley hitting bombs in the middle of their lineup, they will stand a chance against any team in MLB.
He is one of the league’s top young sluggers, and will dominate MLB for years to come if health is on his side.
The Braves certainly hope that’s the case.