Under-the-Radar Prospect: Why The Braves’ Drew Waters Belongs On Radars

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The Atlanta Braves are a system stocked with pitching, and it’s easy to get distracted by that and ultimately overlook the hitting prospects that they have.  There are actually a few intriguing outfielders who could emerge as at least solid MLB players, with the upside to be even more than that.  One such player is Drew Waters, who impressed while splitting time between Single-A and High-A last year and could force his way to the Majors in short order (think arriving potentially in 2020).  Let’s take a minute and get to know him a little bit better:

Rotoprofessor Pre-Season Ranking – Braves’ #6 Prospect

Hits – Switch-Hitter

Age – 20-years old

2018 Statistics:
Single-A – .303 (102-337), 9 HR, 36 RBI, 58 R, 20 SB
High-A – .268 (33-123), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 14 R, 3 SB

Thoughts:
Selected in the second round of the 2017 draft, Waters current carrying tool is his speed (he went 23-for-28 in stolen base attempts last season) and he should be able to steal 20+ bases annually.  While he didn’t provide much power last season, he did show room for growth as he added 39 doubles and 9 triples, giving him the look of a consistent 20/20 player (and maybe 25/25).

The question comes from his approach, which wasn’t great at Single-A and regressed a bit after his promotion (SwStr%):

  • Single-A – 11.5%
  • High-A – 15.0%

Couple that (he had a 24.8% strikeout rate at High-A) with an inability to draw a walk (5.8% overall in ’18) and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be able to carry a solid AVG or OBP.  Further complicating the issue is this report from Baseball America:

But he has a good bit of work to do to become a mature, refined hitter. Right now, he too often looks to ambush the first hittable fastball he can find, leading to too many quick at-bats.

Even with the questions a little bit of maturation should lead to a .260ish average, and it’s possible that he could become even more than that.  Even as is he profiles as a solid outfield prospect who would be garnering significantly more attention if he played in a different organization.  Maybe that works to his advantage, as he should get the opportunity to develop without the spotlight on him.  He’s the type of prospect to try and buy now, before everyone else starts to pay attention.

Current Grade – B
Upside Grade – B+

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball America, MILB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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