Austin Riley wins National League Player of Month after historic July

Braves third baseman Austin Riley was named National League Player of the Month for July after producing one of the greatest months in Braves – and MLB – history. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)

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Braves third baseman Austin Riley was named National League Player of the Month for July after producing one of the greatest months in Braves – and MLB – history. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)

Braves third baseman Austin Riley was named National League Player of the Month for July after producing one of the greatest months in Braves – and MLB – history, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

Riley hit .423/.459/.885 (44-for-104) with 11 homers, 25 RBIs and 21 runs scored across 26 games. He had two walk-off hits in the month, including a double Sunday that propelled the Braves to a 1-0 win that completed a three-game sweep of Arizona.

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Riley doubled twice Sunday, setting the record for most extra-base hits in one month in Braves history. The 26 extra-base hits bested Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s previous record of 25, set in July 1961. Aaron had 12 doubles, 12 homers and a triple in 32 games. Riley had 15 doubles and 11 homers in 26 games.

“That’s pretty special,” Riley said Sunday of passing Aaron. “The type of player he was, on and off the field, I’ll hold that (close) to me for a long time.”

Riley signed a 10-year contract with the Braves on Monday.

Riley is the Braves’ first player of the month since outfielder Ronald Acuña earned the honor in April 2021. He’s the fourth Braves player to be named such in the past decade following Acuña, Freddie Freeman (September 2020, September 2016) and Justin Upton (April 2013). Riley also is the first Braves third baseman to win player of the month since Bob Horner in July 1980.

Most important to Riley, the Braves went 18-8 in July, continuing the winning surge they started with a 21-6 June that included a 14-game win streak. Riley has been an essential part of that success. He’s hit .343/.390/.701 with 20 doubles, 17 homers and 43 RBIs over the past two months (52 games).

Riley is among the leading contenders for NL MVP with two months remaining. Asked Sunday whether he belonged in that conversation, the perpetually humble slugger responded, “I guess,” adding he was focused solely on team success. Riley is second in betting odds for MVP (+550) behind the Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt (-150) at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Monday morning.

“It’s been incredible, fun to watch,” manager Brian Snitker said Sunday of Riley. “How he plays the game, the consistency with which he does everything, it’s incredible. How professional he is, how he carries himself, how he respects the game. He checks all the boxes of being that guy. He’s a guy you want on the buses and vans, all that stuff, representing your organization.”

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge won the award in the American League.

Also on Tuesday, Braves pitcher Spencer Strider was named the NL Rookie of the Month.