Michael Austin Riley was born on April 2, 1997, in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a third baseman and outfielder in the MLB.
Riley was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round, with the 41st overall selection, in the 2015 MLB draft out of DeSoto Central High School in Southaven, Mississippi. Though he was committed to the Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team, Riley chose to sign with the Braves for $1.6 million. Riley made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Braves that season. After 30 games, he was promoted to the Danville Braves in the Appalachian League. Overall in 60 games, he batted .304/.389/.544 with 12 home runs over 217 at-bats.
Prior to starting the 2017 season with the Florida Fire Frogs, Riley spent some time in spring training with the Atlanta Braves. He was promoted to the Mississippi Braves in July. In 129 games between Florida and Mississippi, Riley hit .275/.339/.446 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs and was assigned to the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League at the end of the minor league regular season. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Riley received an invitation to spring training. He was ranked among the top prospects in the minor leagues prior to the season. He began 2018 with Mississippi, and after batting .333 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 27 games, and was promoted to the Gwinnett Stripers in May. In 75 games with Gwinnett, he hit .282/.346/.464/.810 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI. He opened the 2019 season with Gwinnett.
On May 15, 2019, Austin Riley was called up to the Atlanta Braves prior to their game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Riley was promoted after Ender Inciarte was placed on the injured list. He made his major league debut that night and, in his second at bat, hit a home run off Michael Wacha. On May 29, 2019, Riley, despite a 14-4 blowout loss to the Nationals, hit his first career grand slam, marking his seventh home run in fourteen career games and bringing his RBI total to twenty. The seven home runs in fourteen games is the second most to begin a career, trailing only Trevor Story. On June 1, he hit his eighth home run in sixteen games, becoming the fourth player in major league baseball history to achieve this feat. He was also the fastest player in Braves franchise history to do so. Riley earned the NL Rookie of the Month Award for May 2019, despite only playing in 15 games.
After beginning the 2021 season in a hitting slump that saw him go 8-for-44 with no extra-base hits, Riley made a significant change to the mental aspect of his at bats, working with minor league hitting coach Mike Brumley to recognize where an off-speed pitch would land, and avoid swinging at the sliders that pitchers had used against him in prior years. After batting in the back half of the lineup through late May, Riley was promoted to cleanup hitter, where he helped push the Braves back to the top of the NL East. He finished the season hitting .303 with 33 home runs, 107 RBIs, and a .898 OPS, joining Eddie Mathews and Chipper Jones as the only Atlanta third basemen to hit .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in a season at the age of 24 or younger. Ozzie Albies put up similar numbers, and the pair became the fifth set of teammates to individually construct 30-home run, 100-RBI seasons at the age of 24 or younger.
On October 16, 2021, Riley recorded his first career walk-off hit in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing Ozzie Albies to score and the Braves to win 3–2. In Game 6, Riley had 2 hits and 1 RBI to help the Braves close out the series. The Braves would eventually go on to win the 2021 World Series, earning Riley his first World Series ring. After the season ended, Riley and three teammates (Freddie Freeman, Max Fried, and Ozzie Albies) won the Silver Slugger Awards for their respective positions.
On July 11, 2022, it was announced that Riley had earned Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. On July 16, Riley was added to the MLB All Star Team as an injury replacement for Nolan Arenado. Riley set a franchise record by recording 26 extra base hits in July. He later won the NL Player of the Month award for July 2022, the first such award in his career. On August 1, the Braves announced that Riley had been signed to a ten-year contract extension, worth $212 million. The contract is the largest in team history, exceeding the length and total value of an extension signed by teammate Matt Olson before the 2022 season began.
In his free time, Austin Riley is an avid outdoorsman.