Tomahawk Take’s Atlanta Braves Third-Ranked Prospect: Drew Waters

Atlanta Braves outfield prospect Drew Waters might be the key to adding a bat to the lineup. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves outfield prospect Drew Waters might be the key to adding a bat to the lineup. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tomahawk Take prospect rankings for the Atlanta Braves moves into the top section! Today, outfielder Drew Waters is our focus.

Drew Waters comes in as the Atlanta Braves’ number 3 prospect in the Tomahawk Take rankings. He was 5th, but with Cristian Pache and Shea Langeliers being moved to the Athletics, he slides into our top 3.

Waters was the Braves 2nd round selection back in the 2017 MLB draft out of Etowah HS in Woodstock, Georgia. Since then, the switch-hitting outfielder has seen plenty of highs and lows.

Waters impressed early in his minor league run and reached the height of his prospect status during the 2019 year at Mississippi.

That season, Waters hit .319/.366/.481 5 HR, 63 R, 41 RBI, 13 SB, .382 wOBA, and 144 wRC+ in 108 games. He provided excellent defense in the outfield that really gave hope that he could become that five-tool player at the major league level.

The performance earned him an end-of-season promotion to Gwinnett. It also pushed him up national rankings.

However, the 2020 season took a year of minor league development from Waters, and an injury slowed him to start the 2021 year in Gwinnett. This led to a slow start to the season that ended with mediocre numbers.

Waters would hit .240/.329/.381 11 HR, 70 R, 37 RBI, 28 SB, .321 wOBA, & 94 wRC+. He still provided solid defense, but the hit tool became a major concern. A 30.9% strikeout rate highlights those concerns.

He still showed signs of being that top prospect. The speed on the basepaths makes him exciting and 28 stolen bases are eye-popping. The power is real as well. When he connects, he can shock people with how far it travels despite his slighter frame (6’2 185).

He was more patient in 2021 with a 10.2% walk rate, and he hit a career-high in home runs. Yet, he hit fewer doubles and triples than we were accustomed to seeing.

The key with Waters is going to be fixing the contact issues that appear to be holding him back. He was projected to have a plus hit tool out of high school, and thus far that has not been the case.

He will probably start the year back in Gwinnett.

The Braves did add him to the 40-man roster this winter. While that was mainly to protect him from the Rule-5 draft, it does show they still believe in Waters.

This also makes it easier to bring him to the major leagues if he proves he is ready. With Pache now in Oakland, Waters is next in line for a call-up.

The Braves do have decent depth at outfield at the major league level. The group of Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna, Alex Dickerson, and Guillermo Heredia figure to be a part of the major league roster.

They do not have a true center fielder though.

Acuña could miss the start of the season, but even when he does return will probably need some time at DH to ease him back into playing shape. Duvall currently projects as the starting center fielder for the Braves, and while we like Duvall, if he struggles then the Braves would need to consider a change.

The Braves did say that Acuña could move back to center field in the future if it made sense, but his best position appears to be right field. With that being said, there could be an opportunity for Waters to find himself at the major league level.

Whether it be through a guy struggling or an unfortunate injury, Waters might be the first guy getting a shot. It will be up to him to make the most of the opportunity.

He should get a shot in Atlanta in 2021. He also remains one of the few valuable trade chips the Braves possess.

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He has lost some prospect value in the last year, some due to struggles and partly due to prospect fatigue. 2021 figures to be a make or break year for Waters as a prospect.