Baseball: Atlanta Braves sign Marquis Riley away from Slammers
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media October 22, 2013 7:48PM
Marquis Riley | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:37AM
After less than a full season in the Frontier League, Marquis Riley is getting a chance to take the next step.
The Joliet Slammers’ rookie second baseman has been signed by the Atlanta Braves after he hit .301 and was a starter in the All-Star game in his first pro season.
“I’ve been wanting this opportunity for a while and I finally got it,’’ the 23-year-old North Carolina native said. “All the hard work is finally starting to pay off.’’
Riley had gotten in his car after leaving his father’s house recently when he received the phone call from the Braves.
“That was one of the best phone calls I received in my lifetime,’’ he said.
Riley likely will go to spring training with the Rome (Ga.) Braves, a Class A affiliate of the Braves.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Riley was signed by the Slammers in late May out of North Carolina A&T. Riley spent most of the season batting third after he started the year in the leadoff spot.
“They like his approach,’’ Slammers general manager Chris Franklin said. “He had success in the Frontier League. He’s a contact hitter, hits for average. They like his all-around game.’’
Franklin had three players signed by the Braves when he was GM with the River City Rascals. Riley is listed as the No. 7 prospect in independent baseball by Baseball America.
“I think he’s got a bright future,’’ Franklin said. “He goes to work every day. He has the right mentality. I don’t think anything will get in his way. Either he’ll develop skills at that level or he won’t.’’
“It’s baseball,’’ Riley said. “I’ve been playing it since I was 3 years old. That’s the mind-set I have to take.’’
As for the Slammers, Franklin said he’s interviewing managerial candidates and expects to name a new skipper within the next few weeks.