Atlanta Braves: Who are their 3 best DH options for 2020?

Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Braves. 2. 17. OF. Austin Riley. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

The first name you’d probably think of when it comes to having a designated hitter for the 2020 Braves would be outfielder and corner infielder Austin Riley. The guy has more raw power on the right side of the plate than Iggy Pop. Though he’s not El Oso Blanco, Riley isn’t nearly as much of a defensive liability as Evan Gattis was for the Braves during his heyday almost a decade ago.

If Brian Snitker wants to give the 23-year-old from Memphis an opportunity to start in the field, he can play left field or right field, as well as spell Johan Camargo a day at third. He’s also the next man up at first base should Freddie Freeman not be able to play all 60 games this season. Perhaps having Riley focus on hitting dingers and exclusively dingers wouldn’t be a bad thing?

Riley only has 80 games worth of big league experience. He did show a great deal of power at the plate with 18 home runs and 49 runs batted in. However, Riley only slashed .226/.279/.471 during his rookie season. That OBP needs to be well above .300 if Snitker wants to feel comfortable about giving him the starting designated hitter role right out of the gate for the 2020 Braves.

Not to say Riley has tremendous boom or bust potential at the MLB level, but there might be higher variance to his game than other players on the Braves’ roster. Though we should expect him to have a strong second year with the big league club, each game is too precious to have a power bat from the right side of the plate going 0-for in the box with three or more K’s on the day.