Drew Waters
21-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Atlanta Braves AAA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
An athletic switch hitter who laces line drives to all fields and utilizes plus speed on the bases, Waters established himself as a top-10 prospect in his age-20 season. The ballpark at Double-A Mississippi is extremely pitcher-friendly, so while he hit just five home runs, his 35 doubles and nine triples in 108 games tell a more complete story. He was the youngest qualified Southern League hitter yet ranked third on the circuit with a 144 wRC+. It was a mixed bag after his late-season promotion to Triple-A (good: walks, line drives; bad: strikeouts, lack of power) but he was also the youngest hitter in the International League. It was impressive that he made it there at all. The Braves don't need him in Atlanta early on, so his 2020 could mirror Austin Riley's 2019. If he makes the necessary adjustments, he will get the call and has the tools (20-20 upside) to be a difference maker once he is up. Read Past Outlooks
Strikeout concerns in ST
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
April 1, 2020
Waters hit .167 with a 14:2 K:BB in 26 plate appearances in major-league camp.
He was not going to make the Opening Day roster even if he had a great spring training, but his 53.9 percent strikeout rate in this small sample made it clear that he still has work to do on the farm. Waters' plus raw power and plus speed make him a very appealing fantasy prospect, but the development of his hit tool in the coming year will be critical. Fortunately, he won't turn 22 until December, so he is ahead of schedule.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
It was known before the 2017 draft and heading into last season that Waters had the potential to be a plus runner with plus raw power, but his ability to hit for a high average was a complete unknown. That aspect of his game is still a bit of an unknown, as he has not yet faced upper-level pitching, but after hitting .293 with a manageable 21.1 K% across stops at Low-A and High-A, he looks much more likely to be a five-category contributor in time. A switch hitter, Waters was much more effective against righties last season (.883 OPS as LHB, .657 OPS as RHB), although those splits flipped in a tiny sample in 2017. He walked just 29 times in 498 PA (5.8 BB%), operating with an aggressive approach early in the count. While he can survive with his current approach, increased selectivity would up his ceiling, especially as he faces more advanced pitching. Waters can handle all three outfield spots, has 20/20 potential and could reach the majors in 2020.
A switch-hitter who should remain so as he moves up the ladder, Waters is a toolshed who is one of the top-15 prep position players from the 2017 draft class. The Braves were able to keep the Georgia product in state with a $1.5 million signing bonus after selecting him with the 41st overall pick. He does damage from both sides of the plate, thanks to plus bat speed that should allow him to eventually tap into 25-plus homer power as he grows into his 6-foot-2, 183-pound frame. Waters is a plus runner, but it remains to be seen how long he holds that speed. After dominating in a brief run in the Gulf Coast League (189 wRC+, .224 ISO), Waters received a promotion to the Appalachian League, where pitchers were able to routinely exploit him with breaking balls (35.5 percent strikeout rate). Improving his pitch recognition will be crucial in order for him to hit for a high enough average to profile as an everyday player.
More Fantasy News
Receives big-league camp invite
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
January 22, 2020
Waters was invited to the Braves' big-league camp Wednesday.
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Big debut for Gwinnett
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
August 7, 2019
Waters went 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday.
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Heads to Triple-A
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
August 5, 2019
The Braves promoted Waters from Double-A Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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Pacing Southern League in BA
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 5, 2019
Waters went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored for Double-A Mississippi on Thursday.
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Rolling for Mississippi
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
June 6, 2019
Waters went 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, a triple, a stolen base and three runs scored for Double-A Mississippi on Wednesday.
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