Written By: Austin F
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Braves No. 2 Prospect Drew Waters | 23 Years Old
Throws: R | Bats: R | Height: 6’2” | Weight: 183 lbs | ETA: 2021
Drew Waters is an outfield prospect for the Atlanta Braves who was drafted in the 2nd round out of Etowah High School and signed for $1.5million. More of a double’s hitter now with speed, Waters has the potential to hit for above average contact despite swing and miss concerns and above average power as he adjusts. Had there been a minor league season in 2020 and a full 162 games in the Major Leagues, the Georgia native might have already made his debut in 2020.
MLB Draft and Professional Debut
The Atlanta Braves took the Georgia native in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft to make him the 41st overall pick that year. The Braves then signed him away from his commitment to the University of Georgia and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League after signing where he hit .347 (17-49) with 3 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs while walking 7 times versus 11 strikeouts. The switch-hitting outfielder was then promoted to Danville of the Appalachian League where he showed signs of struggle hitting .255 (38-149) with 11 doubles and 2 home runs. He finished his professional season debut hitting .278 (55-198) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and stole 6 bases while walking 23 times versus 70 strikeouts over 50 games.
Waters has shown a good track record at the plate in the pros hitting .278 in 2017, .293 in 2018 and .309 in 2019 between double a. Waters hits from an upright, slightly open stance with a high handset from the right side with a leg lift trigger and some loft to the ball. From the left side, he still has a leg lift trigger but not as exaggerated from the right side and shows more of a line drive swing plane. He needs to improve his eye at the plate as he showed swing and miss concerns in 2019 between AA and AAA striking out 164 times in 527 at bats.
Despite being more of a double’s hitter at the minor league levels, the stronger Waters gets, the more power he should develop from that strength and adjustments. He’s had consistent home run numbers in the Minor Leagues hitting 4 home runs in his debut in 2017 over 198 at bats, 9 home runs in 2018 over 460 at bats and 7 home runs in 2019 over 527 at bats. He may never hit 40 home runs in the MLB much less have consistent 30 home run power, but he could perennially hit 20-25 every year.
The switch hitter has struggled defensively since his professional debut in the outfield committing 8 errors in both 2018 and 2019. He has played every position on the grass and that could continue in the Major Leagues as he has enough speed to keep him in center.
Waters’ 6.69 60-yard dash at the 2016 National Showcase held by Perfect Game was impressive and he has shown his speed on the basepaths throughout his time in the Braves farm system not just with stealing bags but has also showed the ability leg out doubles and triples. He recorded 39 doubles in 2018 along with 9 triples and stole 23 bases and kept consistent numbers as he knocked 40 doubles in 2019 and 9 triples to go along with 16 stolen bases. There is 20-20 potential, but Waters will record plenty of extra base hits at the next level with his speed.
Another future plus tool for the Georgia native. The former second round pick threw 95 from the outfield at the 2016 National Showcase and recorded 9 outfield assists in 2019 after recording 5 in 2018. His arm strength should improve overall as he continues to get stronger.
Future Value: 55
Drew Waters is bound to make his Major League Debut sometime during the 2021 if the season goes back to 162 with Minor League Baseball back as well. After a successful 2019 season, he has shown the ability to be a slightly above average hitter despite his swing and miss to go along with his 20-20 potential and has the ability to play every position in the outfield.